1. Most important are the books:

a) There is a saying in numismatics that goes "Buy the book before the coin." This is because there is so (too) much to collect, it's easy to get carried away and buy ancient coins from several different era's and types, etc., before you know what your own collecting area will be. Eventually, you select a certain area of collecting, whether it's types, a certain city, emperors, family's, pets, etc, etc. The beauty is you pick your very own area of collecting, and the books just help lead the way to all the various possibilities.

b) Thanks to the Internet, i.e., Ebay, Amazon and Yahoo, the availability of all types of ancient coins is now open to everyone. In fact, one of the best ways to learn what you'd like to collect, is just to look through the auctions and get used to seeing attributions, etc. Anyway, I'm not the expert on this, just what I've read and practiced. I started collecting ancients in January of 1999, so I know there are more sources for information.

c) First on the numismatic list (These are my OPINIONS ONLY!):

1) David Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values"

This is the book most people use to attribute their coins. Usually you will see a reference such as Sear 1045. This is a specific coin that is found in Sear's book. It is used throughout the ancient numismatic realm. Cost is about $75.00, but it is out of print. Last I knew, it wasn't available via the normal bookstores, however if you do an Internet search based on the title, it usually come up on a web site. The first two of a three volume set has been released. To diferentiate between the two, it is now common to see Sear NM for his latest version. Be sure to check your local used bookstores for this and the others I'm about to mention. The third volume is scheduled to come out in 2005. He also has another excellent set of books called "Greek Coins and Their Values "(2 Volumes) as well as several other very useful tomes. http://davidrsear.com/index.html

2) Zander H. Klawans, "Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins"

This is an excellent book for beginners. Cost is around $15.00. A general overview of the creation of ancient coins, how to read and attribute them. Good overall introduction to the variety of ancient coin collecting. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/030709362X/102-8512423-5692106

3) Wayne G. Sayles, "Ancient Coin Collecting", Volumes I,  II, III & IV

These are also excellent books for beginners. Volume I covers a wide area of Greek and Roman coins and Volume II delves deeper into Greek coins. This also gives an overview of the collecting period and how to attribute and recognize certain basic coin types. Cost is about $25 each. http://ancientcoins.ac/wgs/index2.html

4) I can also personally recommend David VanMeter's "The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins"

Now in it's second printing and is available for about $25 softcover. Easy to use and easy to attribute roman coins. http://members.aol.com/LaurionPub/Booklist.html#HRIC

5) Another excellent book for about $80 is the new David Vagi, two volume, masterpiece, "Coinage and History of the Roman Empire" and is a perfect combination of, Vol. 1) History and Vol. 2) The Coins. http://www.argospress.com/BookLists/coin-collecting/book-1579583164.htm

d. There are certainly other excellent books out there. In fact there is an enormous amount of information about ancient coins, but another important volume of books you'll hear about is "Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC)". This is a comprehensive reference on roman coins, cataloging all of the gold, silver, and bronze coinage; most volumes have extensive historical and numismatic introductions as well as rarity scale. 10 Volumes can be bought separately or as a set ($1,000).

e. Another important work that is especially useful for Late Roman Bronze (LRB), is the book of the same name; Late Roman Bronze Coinage by Carson, Hill & Kent. A very affordable book that is a tremendous help in trying to identify and attribute coins of the Constantine Family. These are the coins most often found in uncleaned lots. Not an easy book to learn to use, but worth the extra effort. Try and find the list of mints that is indexed against this book and it will make it much easier to find those Fel Temp listings.

2. E-Mail Lists.

There are now several primary ancient coin collecting lists.

a) NUMISM-L is an extremely formal and focused group that deals with the scientific and technical side of ancient coin collecting.  To subscribe send a blank e-mail to LISTSERV@VM.SC.EDU, with subscribe in the subject, and follow the instructions to complete the registration process. Currently an extremely quiet list that would prefer not to hear about uncleaned coins.

b) Moneta-L is a more relaxed forum for ancient coin collectors, where it is okay to talk about buying and selling and simple to complex questions and requests for attribution.  Point your browser to: http://www.bitsofhistory.com/moneta-l.html

c) CoinsRoman - An open format for all posts relating to Ancient (pre 800 AD) Roman coins and history relating to Roman coins.  Click here for more information: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CoinsRoman/

d) The Ancient Coin Market (ACM), which is a list for selling and buying coins only. The only stipulation about posting sale notices is that you place their link on your web page and/or auction pages.  This list boasts the largest subscriber base! Point your browser to: http://www.bitsofhistory.com/moneta-l.html

e) The Uncleanedcoins list is a place for those of us who still revel in searching for and cleaning ancient uncleaned coins. This is where you'll find all the information on cleaning ancients without the ridicule of those more stuffy academic numismatics. We are one large happy cleaning family! :) Run don't walk to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Uncleanedcoins/

f) The UncleanedAncientCoin list is another list for uncleaned coin affictionatos, although not as much traffic as the original list, it is still part of the uncleaned family. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UncleanedAncientCoins

g) Still another new list, Uncleaned is a list for collectors of uncleaned ancient coins. Discussion of any aspect of the hobby is welcome, however, commercial posts for uncleaned coins are not permitted. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uncleaned

3. Important Internet Attribution Assistance Sites.

There are now several essential sites for helping you to find out about your coins.

The number one stop in your search for coins should be this following link. Maintained by Dave Surber, this site is the "mother" of all ancient search sites.


If you collect Roman provincial (and some Greek) coins, this site can help you determine which city it is from and other useful information.


Another essential site for Roman provincial coins out of the Balkans.


The following sites will also help you.




Again, I'm still a beginner myself, so check out all the other web sites (more go up each day).  Use your search engines. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask me!

Best of luck and good hunting,

Pax (Peace),

William Peters

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