Number of roman coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Everett Guy, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    Is it about 150 roman coins, around 130 with 19 emperess coins? I got a list I am using as a check list.
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  3. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    This link is to a member's @Suarez webpage showing their collection. Hopefully they won't mind.

    It's my understanding that completing the task of collecting an entire set of RIC coinage is an almost impossible task. According to the page, it states that a collector from the 1800s was said to have accomplished it, but it's not clear if that is an 'urban myth'. Perhaps others here could expound.

    Anyhow, this link is not only neat in that it shows a private collection from a member here(which includes a few rarities), it is also a cool resource to utilize as a base list for one looking to achieve the monumental task.
  4. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    The list of Suarez is limited on Roman Imperial Coins, and is therefore missing a lot of personalities shown only on provincial coins. IMHO there are 240 to 250 roman personalities depicted on coins.

    e.g. Poppaea


    or Julia, daughter of Augustus

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I do not focus on Roman coins after 200 CE. However, My collection somehow accreted several from the Empire. I started putting them into a Littleton Roman Empire Album for the Grandkids to look at.

    I compiled a list for myself, beyond the Album, and found that there are approx 221 or more Roman Personalities that I have found for Ancient Coins. I have approx 145, maybe 150+ of them.

    Thanks, @shanxi , I like that moniker “Roman Personalities”. I was using “Rulers”, but yours is much better.

    ...Hey! I want a Julia, daughter of Augustus!

    It gets more expensive when you get past collecting approx 100 of them. :)

    Agreed on Collecting Personalities on Provincial coins. I am collecting the HISTORY, not the fact that they are restricted to Imperial coins.

    RI Poppea-Nero BI tetradrachm of Alexandria LI yr10 63-64 CE Milne 217 RPC 5275
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  6. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    Baby steps.;)

    Throwing RPC into the mix adds a whole new can of worms.

    I would be interested to know how many 'portrait' coins of personalities exist only in RPC.

    If it were me starting out(oh, wait I am:cigar:).. I would focus primarily on the first few dynasties -- which includes the most well-known historical figures (Julio/Claudian, Flavian, Antonine, Severan, and perhaps some from the later Tetrarchy/Constantine) before I would be looking at some of the more obscure persons.

    I mean it would be cool to own a beat up version of Jotapian or Pacatian, but for my personal budget, the costs of acquiring one of those would also purchase some nice coins of rulers that a layman might actually have heard of.
  7. OutsiderSubtype

    OutsiderSubtype Well-Known Member

    That Littleton list seems pretty crappy to be honest.

    It's missing every western Emperor after Valentinian III. Yes those people mostly reigned for a short time and their coins are very rare and expensive but they do exist.

    They've also made arbitrary decisions about which usurpers to include. How do you include Domitius Domitianus, who was recognized by no one else, but not include Valerius Valens or Martinian, who were at least recognized by Licinius?

    Personally, I think trying to collect every emperor would just involve you in wild price wars for coins of short-lived usurpers. If you want to go down that road you would have to embrace the journey rather than the destination.
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  8. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    That's a list of emperors and empresses, not coin types. If you are asking for the total number of different Roman Imperial coin types, the answer will be much more overwhelming: the comprehensive database "Online Coins of the Roman Empire" (here, basically an online version of RIC, the standard catalogue for Roman Imperial coins) currently has 40786 different entries. I'm sure there are a few additional types they didn't record, and we won't even speak of Roman Republican or provincial coinage.

    In a nutshell, no collector has a complete "set" of Roman Imperial coins. The British Museum in London, the Bode Museum in Berlin, the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, and a couple of similar institutions probably come closest, but even they have significant holes in their collections.

    The Littleton list is based on the assumption that collectors will search for one coin per ruler. Many of us in fact do so, but this is far from the only way to collect Roman coins.

    Also, the rarity ratings on your list are far from reliable. You can, for example, easily get an attractive Trebonianus Gallus (rated ***) for about $30, while a comparably nice Livia (rated **) can cost you about as much as a used Toyota Prius. Also, while the list of emperors is relatively complete (at least until the very late empire), many of the less well known empresses are missing, e.g. Plotina, Orbiana, Magnia Urbica, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My experience over the decades is that most people who set out to get a complete set either give up or change their definition of 'complete' to mean the coins they want to have.

    It would not be hard to get a set of significant rulers who were around for a few years and made a significant mark on history assuming you define those categories correctly. I personally have no use for that kind of collection and feel no pressure to own a coin by rulers of no interest or to limit myself to a single coin of the rulers I want. For the price of one coin of the ten most rare rulers you could have 100 coins of each of the ten most common and significant emperors. Or you can be like some of us and have 500 of one favorite ruler and not a single coin of people or periods that bore you. The concept of a complete set is not really workable in ancients unless you redefine 'complete' to fit.

    I checked a few I wondered if they had and found at least a dozen coins that have been shown here on Coin Talk that did not make their list. I would not be at all surprised if the true number was double the quoted 40k. When we hear about a coin being 'unknown' we have to ask 'unknown to whom????'.
  10. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    Tiberius' "***" rarity rating says everything you'd need to know about the quality of this list.
  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I have the vast majority of rulers in my collection, I've added some less common coins, e.g., Macrianus and Quietus, Marius, etc. fairly recently but I agree to a certain extent with Doug that after time one runs out of candidates that are obtainable in decent condition and/or affordable. There are lots of interesting sub-collections that can be assembled such as the SAECVLARES series of Phillip, Gallienus' zoo coins, or Trajan Decius' DIVO antoniniani honoring the deified emperors that have come before (even Commodus was deified) as part of his return to traditional Roman values and the honoring of ancestors.
  12. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    I would say that a complete set of emperors is impossible on a budget anywhere south of several million dollars, and a complete set of usurpers is impossible because several are only known from 2-5 coins which are all held in museums' permanent collections.

    For those who are curious, the choke point for a complete set of bona fide emperors is Olybrius, who IIRC is known from only 12 coins, only a few of which are in private hands.

    I like the Wildwinds Chronological list - it is very complete, but it is missing a few entries who are essentially impossible to collect.

    I ran into the problem of running out of affordable Roman coins (I still haven't spent over $1,000 on any individual coin, and only own a few over $500). My solution was to challenge myself by collecting by title, specifically:

    As Caesar, or heir apparent to the living Augustus
    Marcus aurelius caesar cos des ii.jpg

    As Augustus
    Marcus Aurelius jupiter ric 381.jpg

    And posthumous, whether specifically a consecration issue, or not.
    Divus marcus aurelius eagle.jpg

    This has led to some unique challenges and has driven me to not only learn a lot about Roman history, but also to seek out some particularly rare coins that not many would appreciate. Some favorites:

    Caligula, issued as Caesar under Tiberius - Only from Carthago Nova in Spain, and only a couple hundred specimens known across 3 denominations of the same series
    Tiberius and Caligula Caesar AE As Carthago Nova.jpg

    Divus Hadrian - The entire reason that Antoninus got the honorific "Pius" (the emission was small, as Hadrian was quite unpopular when he died)
    Divus Hadrian denarius by Pius.jpg

    Gordian III as Caesar under Pupienus and Balbinus
    Gordian III Caesar sestertius priestly implements.jpg

    Divus Victorinus - particularly surprising given how and why he died!
    Divus Victorinus antoninianus.jpg

    Constantine as "Filius Augustorum" or "Son of the Emperors" - Minted by Galerius to try to give him a participation ribbon after Diocletian told him to stand down and relinquish claims to the purple
    Constantine fil avgg genio.jpg

    Maxentius as Caesar - minted only at Carthage, only for a few months for uncertain reasons, as Maxentius usurped imperial power directly without ever holding the title of Caesar!
    Maxentius caesar carthage.jpg

    A couple of years ago I had actually put together a spreadsheet to act as a checklist for this collecting approach - I need to figure out the best way to get it hosted for others to use and improve on it.
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  13. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    I think I got about as far as possible on a medium budget with my portrait collection of Roman personalities in the largest bronze denomination struck, i.e. mostly Sestertii:

  14. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    I think if I had a unlimited budget I would try to collect as much as I could, even duplicates. But since I am not in a position to, I will set out to get a good list and start crossing off names with what budget I got. I see it as a long journey for sure.
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  15. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    And as others have stated, the sky's the limit as far as RPC goes. Not only do provincial coins have coins of empresses and other imperial personalities not (or very rarely) found on imperial coinage, but there is also a plethora of Roman magistrates who appear on coinage, particularly from the time of Augustus.

    People who exist on Imperial coinage, albeit expensively:

    Julia the Elder, daughter of Augustus
    Julia the Elder and Livia Pergamum mysia.jpg

    Britannicus Caesar, son of Claudius
    Britannicus caesar Ionia Smyrna.jpg

    Agrippina II, wife of Claudius and mother of Nero
    Agrippina AE16 aezanis phrygia.jpg

    Tranquillina, wife of Gordian III
    Tranquillina AE deultum thrace artemis.jpg

    You have to go provincial if you want:

    Tiberius Gemellus, son of Drusus and grandson of Tiberius
    Tiberius gemellus AE philadelphia lydia.jpg

    Octavia, 1st wife of Nero
    Nero Octavia tet Alexandria.jpg

    Poppaea, 2nd wife of Nero
    Nero Poppaea tet Alexandria.jpg
    These people weren't even in the dynasty, but were Roman, appear on coinage, and were important to history

    Vedius Pollio, prominent aristocrat, governor of Asia briefly, and best known for attempting to have a slave eaten alive by hungry eels over a broken cup Vedius Pollio zeus tralles.jpg

    Asinius Gallus, friend of Augustus and best known as the nemesis of Tiberius, who married Livilla, mocked Tiberius as he was publicly inheriting the Principate, and ended up starving to death in a prison cell
    Asinius Gallus dionysus temnos aeolis.jpg

    And while we're on the subject, what's the point of seeking out people like Gordian I and II if you don't even have people like Mark Antony?
    Marcus Antonius Octavia tetradrachm.jpg
  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Nice collection of sestertii. It's great that you have Gordian I and II as well.
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  17. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..that's as good a place as any to start with Everett..but idk if there a finite number of ancient coins to shoot for..i guess there is but i've not found it...we have one member who collects only Flavian coins...and he's always busy. your direction may change from what you start out with, but that's ok...ya gotta start somewhere and your knowledge and collection will grow from it..:)
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  18. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    The list certainly grows with each time I think I found the master there sure is alot of them. I am finally getting to know about the different categories thou.
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  19. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    I LOVE the cutoff at 200 CE!!! Though, there are some big hitters up to Julian ii for me.
    Caracalla the reason you stop at 200?
  20. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..what he meant was he meant to :D
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  21. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Basically, the Death of the Roman Denarius. And, I really like the Roman Republic and the Empire it created. The Republic was an expanding Empire for 200 years prior to Augustus. After approx 200 CE, the Empire tapers off, no real growth, etc. Trajan was the Zenith of the Empire.

    RI AE As Trajan CE 98-117 26mm 11.0g Rome Laureate Draped - SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS Victory R wreath palm S-C RIC 675
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