|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
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.
2) Zander H. Klawans, "Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
3. Important Internet Attribution Assistance
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
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
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,