Classical Numismatics Discussion
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: New to Numismatics: Where Should I Start? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: New to Numismatics: Where Should I Start?  (Read 177 times)
Aaron Y
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« on: March 23, 2020, 05:36:24 pm »

Hi everyone!

I just recently got into ancient coin collecting and am fascinated by it as a hobby so far. I've spent some time browsing the beginners guides on his forum and looking around the internet at various other guides. I recently purchased The Handbook to Imperial Roman Coins by Van Meter and think I am ready to purchase my first coin. I am a huge fan of Roman history and culture and am an intended Classics major right now so I am primarily interested in coins for their historical import rather than purely aesthetic reasons (though that is certainly a part of it as well). I'm also looking for something that is somewhat affordable (I'm a college student after all!)--maybe in the $20-$40 range? I was wondering what peoples' advice is on purchasing my first coins. What was the first coin that you purchased? What are some good resources online for browsing ancient coins? How do I know if I'm getting ripped off?

Thanks in advance!
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Dominic T
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2020, 06:08:37 pm »

First if you buy here on FORVM you'll be SURE not to by forgeries. Also they have a huge selection of coins under 50$. Here is the link for it :
DT

Coins and Antiquities Under $50

P.S. and welcome to FORVM
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JBF
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2020, 06:44:44 pm »

Wayne Sayles has a series of books, Ancient Coin Collecting I-V.  I don't know if Joe has them in stock right now.  The first volume
is about ancient coin collecting in general, the second is on Greek, I think the third is Roman Imperial, but I never got past the first two.

When new and dealing with a new dealer, you probably should ask about return policy and what guarantee the dealer makes for authenticity.
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2020, 08:09:20 pm »

Welcome to Forum and coin collecting!

Depends on what interests you.  Republic, imperatorial, 12 Caeaars, Adoptive Emperors, Empire in crisis, Tetrarchs, Constantine era, Byzantium, and everything in between.  There are plenty of coins in that price range in all of those areas.  Of course that price range gets you better condition coins the further down the list you go (in general). 

Once you know where you want to go, there are more specific and comprehensive books to fuel your interest, but I think many started with Van Meter.  I know I did.
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 09:39:11 pm »

Welcome, Aaron!  
  The recommendations above are all strong.  If you look at Forum's shop pages, you will see many reasonably priced coins.  
     On the Numismatic wiki page on this site, there are pdfs of many older books on many topics.  Most are arranged by outdated scholarship,  but, if you are a classics major, you will get a bit out of the writing style while learning a bit about the coins.  Older works often emphasize the connection with Classical civilization in ways more recent works do not.  (Often those connections were wrongly interpreted, but that's something you will debate during your program in many aspects of Classics.)
   If you don't want to feel ripped off, start slow, stick to a budget, don't get excited by "rarity" language, and read more often than you buy.   Enjoy the hobby.
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otlichnik
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2020, 07:27:36 am »

For your price range, which is where many of us started, you have to make some decisions.

For that price you will find many common coins, generally late Roman bronze coins (usually 4th century AD).  For that price you can find ones in great condition with all details and lettering legible.  You can even find ones for relatively well known figures - Constantine the Great, Julian the Apostate/Philosopher, Theodosius the Great, etc.

If you are interested in less common coins, for example earlier Roman or Greek, you will be looking at coins in poorer condition.  Likely with little lettering left and much fainter design.  Over a few years when I started I was able to get most of the first Emperors from Augustus to Commodus (minus the three short-lived guys of 68-69 AD) in that price range.  They were well worn bronze asses and dupondii and took some searching but it was possible. 

For example, right now Joe (the guy who runs the forum shop) has one each of Claudius, Vespasian and Domitian in the $30s - they are exactly like what I started my collection with.  Whereas when you look at his Constantinian Era section you get about 60 coins listed for under $40 each (many under $20), and several of them are in what is in effect perfect condition.

It all depends on your interests, both historical and for collecting....

SC
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SC
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2020, 02:09:53 pm »

Welcome!!!

There are many web based collections but Forum's members gallery is a huge library of ancient coins.  I'd look them over and decide a field of interest.  Don't buy quickly.  With a modest budget and a huge range of possible coins to purchase, you can take your time and learn about the coin before you buy.  When I first bought coins, I wasn't concerned about quality but the more examples of the same type that you see the more discerning you become.  Also check out the fake coin gallery.  There are always fraudsters for the unwary particularly on ebay and its best to educate yourself on how to recognize a fake.  It's not that hard with experience.  Dealers are a good guarantee that the coin you purchase is genuine but even dealers make mistakes.  The best ones, like Forum, guarantee the coin unreservedly.
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Bob Crutchley
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Aaron Y
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2020, 10:01:32 pm »

Thank you everyone for the very warm welcome! I'll keep this all in mind as I continue to learn more about numismatics.
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: New to Numismatics: Where Should I Start? « previous next »
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