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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Books and References (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Book for a beginner 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Book for a beginner  (Read 3624 times)
iamblichus
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« on: October 31, 2004, 03:55:51 pm »

I'm begining with roman coins and I want to buy a book. What is the more indicate in my case?
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vic9128
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2004, 03:57:51 pm »

A good book for beginner's is The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins by David Van Meter.
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2004, 04:32:56 pm »

i would also say you can't go wrong with the VanMeter book. A wonderful introduction to the hobby and a nice overview of some of the coins you'll run across.

Also check out some of the Wayne G Sayles books in the Ancient Coin Collecting series, Ancient Coin Collecting I is a must have.
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2004, 09:41:31 pm »

Get the books by David Sear.  More expensive but I think you will be happier in the long run.

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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2004, 10:04:22 pm »

I'm begining with roman coins and I want to buy a book. What is the more indicate in my case?

I agree with the two other posters.  Start with Van Meter.  Van Meter is a basic reference to Roman Imperial Coins and he includes many, many true size photos of the coins that you are likely to come across.  The other advantage is that VM is inexpensive and easily available, (including here at the Forum).

VM is a great first book to have, as you try to decide if you really like the hobby or not.  Should the hobby really grab you, as it has so many of us, you will want to purchase many other books of a more specializied and more acedemic nature.  Because even though VM is a good inexpensive reference, it does contain some errors, and even though something like 1000 coins are photographed and 8000 are listed, it is still only gives a very brief overview of the coins.

The Sear books are very good books also, but they are considerably more expensive, and again they only give an overview of the vast number of Roman Imperial coins.  They are a good second purchase, once you decide upon a first area to specialize in.  

After, the Sear books, there are yet other layers of references to ponder, but the price on these more acedemic books is a lot more.

Take some time and enjoy the hobby, there is plenty of time to decide what you like, and then start saving your pennies to buy the more expensive references.

Robert
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2004, 07:59:51 am »

For me, Van Meter is most helpful.  If you go with Sayles, Vol. 3.  Know that, of the 198 pages, 114 are devoted to a reign-by-reign bio of each emperor, with some coinage comments thrown in.  This may be exactly what you want, but for me, I could've done without the bios (which I could get off the Internet) and I could've read more numismatic-specific information for a $25 hardback book.  

Now before folks flame me for dissing this book, let me say I do own it and find it helpful, especially the opening discussions and the iconography selections at the end.  And for some who may be new to classical studies in general it may be exactly what they need.  But someone who has some knowledge of the classics and is generally familiar with the course of Roman history may wish for more numismatica and less biography.  I also think Van Meter can "grow" with a beginning collector a bit better than Sayles; I still dip into Van Meter regularly, while I rarely look at Sayles anymore.

In fairness, though, Sayles' book is meant for the rank amateur, and thus it performs a valuable service to the hobby.  Even though I'm somewhat critical of Vol. 3 here, knowing what I know about the books, I still recently bought Vol. 2 on Greek coinage because I knew next to nothing about Greek coinage and found all the variations mystifying.  I can recommend his book on Greek coinage more enthusiastically, but this recommendation probably stems from the fact that I was totally ignorant about Greek coinage and needed a rank beginner's intro.

Rhetor

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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2004, 08:55:10 am »

I have to agree with the overall advice given here.   If you are really a new beginner, I'd first recommend you decide on just what you want to collect.   Take a look at Roman, Greek, etc. and decide what types you want.   If you don't know this, get a copy of the Celator magazine (a subscription is a must if you want to seriously collect) and email all the advertisers in the back for free catalogs.   Check out the catalogs and see what interests you.  

I'd next decide on a them to your collecting:  coins of an emperor, coins with bears on them, coins with two busts, etc.  This will make collecting much easier and stop you from buying all kinds of coins just to sell them later.

I'd then go with the appropriate Wayne Sayles book on Ancient Coins Collecting.   They are for beginners but everyone can learn a thing or two from them.  I love them.

After that you can get into Van Meter or Sears.   Start slow and enjoy the process.   Any questions, please ask.   Happy collecting!!
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2004, 10:15:29 am »

Let me make another suggestion, which might be obvious.  When I started collecting ancients, I got a three ring binder and printed off a lot of helpful online information, such as the resource information here at FORVM, as well as Doug Smith’s helpful articles found here: http://www.ancientcoinmarket.com/ds/ds_index.html

There’s a lot of good online info for the discerning collector, and researching it has been aided by the FORVM awards for numismatic excellence.  So get a three ring binder and you can assemble a pretty darn good reference book for practically nothing—a “book” which could supplement your print resources.
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2004, 10:54:38 am »

Get the van Meter, its not expensive. It was the first Roman coin book I got, and its still in regular use as a quick reference.
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2004, 03:13:49 pm »

I guess I am prejudice.  I started with the Sear books.  Roman, Greek and Greek Imperial.  I have been very happy with them all.  Now I am collecting catalogs of the different museums and university collections in the areas that I am interested.

Howard
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bruce61813
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2006, 09:38:24 am »

I have the sets of books by Sear, and find them useful, but he does tend to skip items. One case is the Viminacium "PMS COL VIM" series. Sears does have some expamples , but this series ran for several years and covered a wide range of Emperors, Empresses and others. These are not mentioned and often the expample may be from and odd date, with no mention of the range of dates or that other denominations exist.  They are great books, but they do have their short commings.

Bruce
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2006, 10:38:10 am »

This is a copy of a reply I made to a simolar post a while ago:

"Many years ago, well about 25 actually, I started with two books that I intially got from the library. Then I acquired second hand (or used) copies and have made sure that I always have a copy of each of these in my library. Over the years I have bought and sold many copies of these books. They are still very useful and good value. They are:

Roman Coins by Harold Mattingley

Roman Coins by Richard Reece

These will give you an excellent introduction to Roman coinage. Obviously the earlier editions will be superceded in places but I still refer to them, particularly in areas where my knowledge is lacking."

Best wishes

Lee
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2006, 08:18:50 am »

I'd like to make a caveat about Wayne Sayles. The first book in his series is very very thin and you'll finish it in an afternoon. It contains no info that you won't find out by hanging around here. Look for something with more meat to digest like Kenneth Harl's wonderfully entertaining Coinage in the Roman Economy.
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2006, 09:52:42 am »

A quote from another post I made a while ago ...................


Quote from: BenB on February 12, 2006, 08:33:48 pm
Quote from: leetoone on January 28, 2006, 10:37:05 am
Everyone should read "Roman Coins and How to Collect Them" by John Fox. I first read it in 1983 when it first came out and must have read it a dozen times since.

It inspires one to collect coins and you learn something every time you read it.

Recommended AAA+++

 


Based on your recommendation I was lucky enough to find a cheap copy, and have just finished devouring it in two sittings - I learnt quite a bit from it, and enjoyed it very much! The authors wide range of knowledge and love of coins in all conditions is very refreshing!

Ben



Glad you enjoyed it Ben!
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dougsmit
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2006, 05:44:10 pm »

Let me make another suggestion, which might be obvious.  When I started collecting ancients, I got a three ring binder and printed off a lot of helpful online information, such as the resource information here at FORVM, as well as Doug Smith’s helpful articles found here: http://www.ancientcoinmarket.com/ds/ds_index.html

There’s a lot of good online info for the discerning collector, and researching it has been aided by the FORVM awards for numismatic excellence.  So get a three ring binder and you can assemble a pretty darn good reference book for practically nothing—a “book” which could supplement your print resources.


While I agree that there is a lot of good (and free) information online and I appreciate Rhetor plugging my old pages, the URL provided is dead so you might want to try:
http://dougsmith.ancients.info/

Certainly the mentioned books are worthwhile as might be a few dozen others.  I did my pages on coins starting in 1997 because I liked the idea of free information exchange.  I still do but I fear that giving away information online might have hurt the sales of beginner grade books and beginners need a lot more help than my little pages could provide (even though there were about 175 of them).  Some of my pages even reviewed a few books mentioned in this thread (just in case you want to know what I thought about them).
http://dougsmith.ancients.info/book.html

For the record, I can pick up all the ancient coins I ever bought all at once although it takes a decent size box to hold them all.  I can not, however, lift all the books and magazines I collected on the subject.  For that matter, I'd have to strain pretty hard to lift the numismatic paper I gathered in any year since I started in this hobby.  That is, in my opinion, as it should be. 

Suggestion: milk this Forum for all it is worth.  It is a goldmine just waiting for you.   Ask questions, read posts and determine what phases of collecting interest you.  Then, buy the books that cover those interests.   Buy a lot of them and not just the ones that catalog or price types.   When the day comes that you must sell your collection, you may or may not make a profit on the coins.  I would suspect that the sale of your well selected library will do as well as your coins.  At the worst they will add immensely to your enjoyment of the hobby.
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2006, 02:03:38 am »


Suggestion: milk this Forum for all it is worth.  It is a goldmine just waiting for you.   Ask questions, read posts and determine what phases of collecting interest you.  Then, buy the books that cover those interests.   Buy a lot of them and not just the ones that catalog or price types.   When the day comes that you must sell your collection, you may or may not make a profit on the coins.  I would suspect that the sale of your well selected library will do as well as your coins.  At the worst they will add immensely to your enjoyment of the hobby.

I have to agree completely with what Doug has already stated very clearly.  As I have always told my wife, my coin reference collect is most likely worth more than the coins.
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2006, 02:43:53 am »

I agree with Howard - the Mitchiners 'trilogy' alone are worth quite a bit (as well as being difficult to find).
Malcolm
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2006, 07:24:32 pm »

All good advice here. My humble 2 cents:
Get Van Meter. At 35 USD or so, you will love it. Forum, who sponsors this site, sells it. They ship very fast.
In general, follow the advice of the posters here - devote as much, if not more of your coin money in books, not coins at first!
Overall, make sure you keep spending about 35% of your fun money on books.
A famous US coin dealer was known to say "Buy the book before the coin."
Great advice indeed.
Good luck. Post your first coin buy here.
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2006, 03:23:59 am »

Quote from: Bacchus on November 05, 2006, 02:43:53 am
I agree with Howard - the Mitchiners 'trilogy' alone are worth quite a bit (as well as being difficult to find).
Malcolm

I finally got them all for under $700! The Ancient & Classical World was the hardest to get.  I also have a few other books by Mitchiner that I use.  Now I am waiting for a copy of Balog's work on Mamluk coins to arrive.  I also won't tell my wife what I spent for a my copy of Alram, which is in German (I can't even read it yet, but it looks like a good project for when I really do retire all the way.)  Yes, resource book collecting can be almost as much fun as collecting the coins!
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2007, 02:39:27 am »

I would recommend you book of D.Sear...also,auction catalogues (Lanz,Gorny&Mosch...etc)... you can see there the most interesting coins...
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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2007, 05:08:57 am »

Quote from: Vespasian70 on October 31, 2004, 04:32:56 pm
i would also say you can't go wrong with the VanMeter book. A wonderful introduction to the hobby and a nice overview of some of the coins you'll run across.

Also check out some of the Wayne G Sayles books in the Ancient Coin Collecting series, Ancient Coin Collecting I is a must have.

I agree with Vespasian70.  Sayles book outlines the basics in a very accessible way!

Jim (Cleisthenes)
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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2007, 09:05:18 pm »

A subscription to the Celator is always good too...  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2007, 03:22:51 am »

Go to the "Resources" page here at FORVM.  I've given that advice before, and perhaps someone has already made that suggestion in this thread, but I didn't notice it after a quick perusal.

Jim
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