FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board

Numismatic and History Discussions => Greek Coins => Topic started by: Mark R1 on July 06, 2019, 10:22:57 am

Title: Essential Ancient Greeks
Post by: Mark R1 on July 06, 2019, 10:22:57 am
I have been collecting mostly ancient Greek coins for a very short time (6 months) and one of the challenges is there is a massive number of Greek-speaking city-states that made coinage during the Classical period. It also makes it really fun! Personally, I like to learn about these different communities and love to check out the huge diversity in style and what they chose to put on their coins.

So, I have a question that I want to pose. If you're just beginning a collection like me, what are some essential/important coins that would make a good start to a collection? For fun let's keep it to the top 10.

Feel free to post photos!

Title: Re: Essential Ancient Greeks
Post by: djmacdo on July 07, 2019, 04:49:35 am
A difficult question!  The answer depends, I think, on your basic orientation as a collector.  Do you go for art primarily, or perhaps you are interested in a particular era such as the archaic period or perhaps the Hellenistic period.  Are you interested in one area, such as mainland Greece or Egypt?  The more I collect, the more specialized I get.  Now I am at the point where what I want would not even interest many collectors and visa versa, though I can still appreciate other coins.  So, I guess, what I am suggesting is not to try to collect the ten most classic Greek coins that appeal to the most collectors--and you will find them expensive because of that appeal--but rather just take a little more time until you find yourself attracted to some more specialized area that you find you want to go into in depth.  Of course, if you find you enjoy general collecting rather than specialization, that is perfectly good too.

Title: Re: Essential Ancient Greeks
Post by: Nathan P on July 07, 2019, 07:33:23 am
Here's a list of really popular coins to get you started (it won't be cheap!)

1. Athens classical tetradrachm (454-404 BC)
2. Alexander the Great Lifetime Tetradrachm (prior to 323 BC)
3. Philip II (Macedon) tetradrachm (there are lifetime issues here as well as many that were made in the following decades)
4. Corinth Stater (5th or 4th century BC)
5. Thebes stater (prior to the city's destruction in 335 BC)
6. Aegina turtle stater (6th - 4th century BC)
7. Tarantum dolphin stater (6th-3rd century BC)
8. Man-faced bull coinage (lots of options) from either Sicily or Campania, Italy.
9. Rhodes coinage with the rose on the reverse.
10. Persian coinage - siglos with the warrior with bow, lance, or dagger.

There's an almost limitless number of choices from here.

1. Collecting coinage of various rulers of Syracuse down the centuries, not to mention coinage from all the other Sicilian cities.
2. Greek coinage from mainland Italy (generally pre-Roman domination) - One mentioned above is the Tarantum dolphin stater as well as the man-faced bull coinage. Kroton, Sybaris, and Metapontion are also big and important issuers here.
3. You can collect Alexander the Great successor coinage - Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy are the two most popular. Ptolemy's successor coinage is also really popular all the way down to Cleopatra! There's a ton of Seleucus successor coinage as well.
4. There's lots of Celtic coinage that imitates Greek coinage (particular Philip II and Alexander the Great tetradrachms) that is really cool.
5. There's all kinds of really interesting coinage from largely Greek colonies in Asia Minor (pretty much limitless).

I also want to make clear that you can make an entire collection out of any of these avenues! For instance, you could literally just focus on Alexander the Great lifetime tetradrachms which have a huge number of variations from different mints and even within the same mint. The most important thing is that you buy what you're interested in and from a reputable dealer. I can tell you that it's worth paying up for quality, too. Good luck!

Title: Re: Essential Ancient Greeks
Post by: Mark R1 on July 07, 2019, 11:19:33 am

Here's my list. I have several of these but will add the others as I go along. I went over by 2. :)

1. Athens Owl
2. Lydia Bull and Lion
3. Aegina Turtle
4. Thebes Shield
5. Ephesos Bee
6. Corinth Pegasos
7. Rhodes Rose
8. Bruttium Tripod
9  Syracuse Arethusa
10. Metapontum Barley Ear
11. Tarantum Dolphin
12. Alexander the Great

Title: Re: Essential Ancient Greeks
Post by: Nathan P on July 07, 2019, 02:23:01 pm
This is a good list, too! I forgot to mention Carthaginian coinage (Tanit and horse).

Title: Re: Essential Ancient Greeks
Post by: Dino on July 08, 2019, 09:41:37 am
OK, sticking with coins that you can purchase at $500 or less (maybe not in great condition), and as a broad starter set.

1.   Athens tetradrachm
2.   Alexander the Great tetradrachm
3.   Corinth stater
4.   Philip Zeus/Rider tetradrachm
5.   Calabria Tarentum Athena/Hercules
6.   Rhodes hemidrachm
7.   Chalkidian League tetrobol
8.   Gela Man Faced Bull
9.   Olympia Hemidrachm
10.  Argos Wolf Hemidrachm