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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: goldenancients)  |  Topic: Why roman/greece/celtic/.... ? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Why roman/greece/celtic/.... ?  (Read 3217 times)
Steff V
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« on: January 30, 2012, 06:29:09 am »

It seems that there are far more Roman coin collectors than Greece coins collectors. Or am I seeing this wrong?

I was just wondering why this would be as it is very clear that Greek history is far more interesting Wink

So my question is: why are you collecting what you collect? Why Romans? Why Greece or Celtic? Why biblical?



To answer my own question:
I have never liked the Roman history/culture and I have no idea why. Greek culture is just so interesting! I love the gods, the poems (Odyssey) and all the other aspects of ancient Greece. (I'm collecting Macedonian coins, but that's greece too Wink )
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Minos
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 06:43:12 am »

I collect (mostly) Greek coins because I have good taste, others collect Roman coins because... they collect Roman coins I guess Grin

Of course I'm just joking, there must be something aesthetically attractive in that secondary realm (somewhere...) Grin Grin
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dafnis
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 07:07:49 am »

Chosing between Greece and Rome, that's a very subjective decision. Overall, I much rather prefer the second, but that's also related to my upbringing.
As for coins, I guess it's because Roman coins they are easier to come by (I know I am generalising!). For me Greek coins are exquisite works of art, but somewhat more stable over time in terms of types, etc. Roman coins are so much varied in that sense. I mostly collect Roman, but I do have a small side collection of Alexander the Great drachm and bronze coinage that I love!
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marcos x
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 06:02:32 am »

   I have to agree with the above posts I prefer greek coinage but I also like the lydian and persian stuff too indo greek stuff is also interesting the taxila coins are neat.
the thing about roman coins is they all have a picture of an emperor so they all look the same to me for the most part but there is some cool roman coins i did buy a detailed fallen horseman at a show the other day.and there is some other  interesting roman stuff but all in all it all looks the same too me.
 dont judge me though I have venetian ancestry on my greek side ,))
to each his own
peace .
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4to2CentBCphilia
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 08:25:18 am »

Greek = Rolex and Roman = Timex

Not everyone can afford a bunch of Rolex's.


BR

Mark
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Minos
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 08:51:11 am »

There's several "Roman Rolex" in the Gallery here Wink

Given my financial situation I'd say it take more time/patience than money to acquire decent coins at decent prices, be it Greeks, Romans,...
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benito
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 09:11:01 am »

Greek = Rolex and Roman = Timex

Not everyone can afford a bunch of Rolex's.


BR

Mark

Rolex....
The Patek Philippe of portrait in coins  . ROMAN   of course.......
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SkySoldier
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 09:17:34 am »

Greek = Rolex and Roman = Timex

Not everyone can afford a bunch of Rolex's.


BR

Mark

Timex tells time just like a Rolex.  As long as you enjoy what you collect, that's all that really matters.  (I collect Timexes/Roman  Grin)
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Randygeki(h2)
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 09:28:06 am »

For me, Roman coins have an easiness and familiarity too them I guess. I'm taking my time with Greek coins.






Here's my Timex  Grin
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cicerokid
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 09:44:44 am »

My main area of collecting must be the SWATCH watch of coin collecting.

"Reasonably" pricey, flashy but basically all the same only with some slight differences only a fanatic could appreciate, Smiley
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4to2CentBCphilia
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 10:03:49 am »

Greek = Rolex and Roman = Timex

Not everyone can afford a bunch of Rolex's.


BR

Mark

Rolex....
The Patek Philippe of portrait in coins  . ROMAN   of course.......


Yes, that is your default argument and photo. It is very nice, but it is not the norm for Roman coins.

Meanwhile it takes only moments to find a nice portrait on a Greek coin..............and they are numerous.

I am not saying Roman coins are all bland...........just that most of them don't show the skill and imagination of the Greek celators.

If I could afford it, I would have a cabinet full of Greeks...................sadly this is not the case.

BR

Mark
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curtislclay
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 10:35:45 am »

I collect and study Roman imperial coins because of their direct reflection of the activities and intentions of the emperors, and their resulting importance as a historical source.

In Jan. 2005 a similar question came up and I responded as follows, quoting from a Forvm thread that is now in Classical Numismatics:

      The recent contention that some Roman coins are "overrated" made me think of Eckhel's introductory remarks in vol. VI of his Doctrina Numorum, Vienna 1796, which may be translated/paraphrased from the original Latin as follows:

       I proceed to the explication of the coinage of the Roman Empire.  The world has not yet seen an empire more revered and famous than that of the Romans, whose very name evokes a magical admiration.  But that great merit would matter little for my present project, unless the Roman Empire overshadowed earlier empires not only in power and majesty, but in the abundance, importance, and variety of its surviving coinage.  Although an incredible quantity of Roman Republican coins have come down to us, they nevertheless leave us unsatisfied in many ways.  The earliest Republican coins were in bronze only, silver was only introduced at a later date, and gold was hardly used at all.  The types on the coins in either metal showed little variety, until the vanity of the moneyers and their desire to boast about their ancestry alleviated the boredom caused by the ancient simplicity.  Yet the result was still not what later generations might have hoped for.  Instead of ancient exploits, some of them fabulous, we would have preferred to see contemporary events depicted in the coinage, along with at least some indication of when the coins were minted.  The coins of the emperors present a different picture.  Apart from the regular use of all three metals, the types often recorded contemporary history, be it exceptional deeds accomplished at home or abroad, benefactions granted by the emperors to the people, honors voted to the emperors, and whatever else seemed worthy of record thoughout the great empire.  In this respect Roman imperial coins far surpass those of earlier empires, however famous, which with almost no aid to history tended to repeat a single type, so that if you have seen one coin of a particular king you might think you had seen them all.  Compare the coins of Philip II, Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, Lysimachus, and others.  As to dates, although we do not always know the exact year of issue, we can at least be certain that the coins were struck during the reign of the emperor whose portrait they bear.  Another fact which is bound to bring pleasure to those who are interested in the history of the past is that the series of Roman emperors extends over fully fifteen centuries from Julius Caesar to Constantine XI, and the coins show us their portraits, and offer reliable, uncorrupted testimony of an empire at one time the greatest in the world, gradually laboring under its own weight and declining, and finally lapsing into utter barbarity and losing its former artistic capabilities.
        Since this vast and extensive class of ancient coins not only brings great profits to historical studies, but delights the soul through its reflection of the past, they have been collected with an astonishing avidity from the Renaissance on, not only by noblemen but by private people too, with an affection that has remained undiminished until the present day.  It is to their enthusiasm and efforts that we owe the rich collections known from that time, and published for the benefit of the educated world.  Once collectors had done their duty by acquiring and assembling these treasures, scholars did not want to be remiss in performing theirs, whether by publishing catalogues of the collections, or explaining the coin types, or showing how to distinguish genuine coins from false ones, an ability which is among the most essential in this branch of studies.

        Eckhel then proceeds to a review of the literature on Roman coins up to his day.
 
 
 
 
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 10:40:32 am »

Hmmm, I see. In cases such as this one time/patience is of very limited use. You definitely need money !
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Reid Goldsborough
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 11:12:53 am »

Fun topic, evergreen topic.

This is a revised version of something I posted a while back.

Greek coins, in my view (emphasis on "my,", emphasis on the subjective nature of all this), are more interesting than Roman coins for the same reason that early 20th and 19th century American coins are more interesting than late 20th century coins. Age is only a small part of it.

The main reason has to do with symbolism and archetypes. The obverses of Roman and current coins typically depict people, while earlier American and Greek coins typically depict primordial universal symbols (there are exceptions here, of course). There's nothing wrong with dead presidents or live emperors, but a figure portraying Liberty or Athena or Herakles or a turtle or a bee or even a satyr dancing provocatively with a nymph touches a part of us deep inside, and makes the spirit soar, more than a figure of any mere mortal.

From emperors and presidents you get a feel for history, for where humankind had been. From archetypes, you get that and where humankind wants to go, and what makes us humankind in the first place.

Greek coins in general are also considerably more attractive, aesthetically, than Roman coins. They're higher in relief, like small sculptures, they're typically more stylishly engraved, and they're typically not debased. Greek coins represent the pinnacle in numismatic art. Except in a few instances, this art to this day hasn't been surpassed. Roman coins are lower quality, lower relief, and often debased copies of what Greece produced earlier.

What's more, ancient Greece as a whole is more interesting than ancient Rome. The foundations of our way of life, even the way we think, began not in Rome but in Greece. Our philosophy, politics, education, mathematics, science, medicine, art, theater, architecture, and sport all originated in ancient Greece from relatively inchoate antecedents. The Greeks masterfully developed the very substance of our civilization from what they inherited from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Minoa. In contrast, all Rome did was take what Greece gave it, and to a lesser extent Etruria, and impart some order to it, with relatively little original thought or innovation.

In short, Rome was the Microsoft of the ancient world, and Roman coins are Microsoft Bob.
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Andrew McCabe
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 11:16:14 am »

Aside from a few famous coin series including Sicilian Greek silver, Roman sestertii of the early empire, Imperatorial denarii, which have been consistently fully priced since the beginning of numismatic time (1500s), virtually every other collecting area has been subject to fashion swings and big supply and demand changes. There is no right or wrong to what areas are currently fashionable nor how they are priced. However smart collectors will choose to collect areas which are in an unfashionable lull and to collect the nicest examples of such coins whilst they remain underpriced. That's one reason I collect Republican bronzes.

My advice is to collect what others are not collecting, specially if in some past era this area was highly valued suggesting it will once again become highly valued. Go for the currently deeply unfashionable. I can think of dozens of such areas.

Going back to the original question, there are several reasons why Greek's are not so widely collected. They can be very expensive - any decent condition silver is much more expensive than Roman; a $100+ early Roman bronze in GVF+ becomes a $1000+ Greek bronze. They have less clear links to history (often we are unsure when they were struck thus the historical link is unknown). And they are becoming tougher to import to the US. All these are temporary factors of course, but they are part of the natural ebb and flow of supply and demand. 10 denarii or 1 didrachm? Many collectors naturally choose the former.
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4to2CentBCphilia
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 11:23:02 am »

Fun topic, evergreen topic.

This is a revised version of something I posted a while back.

Greek coins, in my view (emphasis on "my,", emphasis on the subjective nature of all this), are more interesting than Roman coins for the same reason that early 20th and 19th century American coins are more interesting than late 20th century coins. Age is only a small part of it.

The main reason has to do with symbolism and archetypes. The obverses of Roman and current coins typically depict people, while earlier American and Greek coins typically depict primordial universal symbols (there are exceptions here, of course). There's nothing wrong with dead presidents or live emperors, but a figure portraying Liberty or Athena or Herakles or a turtle or a bee or even a satyr dancing provocatively with a nymph touches a part of us deep inside, and makes the spirit soar, more than a figure of any mere mortal.

From emperors and presidents you get a feel for history, for where humankind had been. From archetypes, you get that and where humankind wants to go, and what makes us humankind in the first place.

Greek coins in general are also considerably more attractive, aesthetically, than Roman coins. They're higher in relief, like small sculptures, they're typically more stylishly engraved, and they're typically not debased. Greek coins represent the pinnacle in numismatic art. Except in a few instances, this art to this day hasn't been surpassed. Roman coins are lower quality, lower relief, and often debased copies of what Greece produced earlier.

What's more, ancient Greece as a whole is more interesting than ancient Rome. The foundations of our way of life, even the way we think, began not in Rome but in Greece. Our philosophy, politics, education, mathematics, science, medicine, art, theater, architecture, and sport all originated in ancient Greece from relatively inchoate antecedents. The Greeks masterfully developed the very substance of our civilization from what they inherited from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Minoa. In contrast, all Rome did was take what Greece gave it, and to a lesser extent Etruria, and impart some order to it, with relatively little original thought or innovation.

In short, Rome was the Microsoft of the ancient world, and Roman coins are Microsoft Bob.

Yes...........that is what I meant to say................ Roll Eyes
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ancientone
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2012, 02:25:35 pm »

What about Roman coins from Greece? With provincial coins as a whole, the varieties seem endless.
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 03:37:43 pm »

Mhmm ... roman ... greek ... celtic ... celtic??
We are not as many, the collectors with a faible for celtic coins. Often rare and not inexpensive, this is the celtic division.
I collect ancient coins because (a) of their importance as a historical source (b) of the elegance of fine ancient art they have and (c) colleting and studying brings pleasure to me. I collect 'crossover' greek, celtic, roman, medieval hammered, etc. etc.
Well, laboriously life of the squirrel :-)~
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2012, 10:48:31 pm »

Im too poor Sad to collect most Greek coins in the condition I want them in but I collect greek coins too. I collect greek to byzantine coins. I cant get enough provincials-alters, thunderbolts, wolves, grapes, birds, snakes, ox, pegasus, centaurs...etc. I like bronze and coppers.
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BiancasDad
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 12:43:33 am »

Deep in my soul lurks a gluttonous megalomaniac with all of the desires of the most brutal Roman emperor, but yet I am trapped in the body of an Italian American in the modern world masquerading around as a nice guy. Thus, I live vicariously through Roman coins and their corresponding history. angel



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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2012, 10:45:46 pm »

I have both Greek and Roman coins.  The bulk of my collection is from a single city with coinage from the 400's BC to the late 200's AD, and there my interest is the continuity and change in culture and values in a single place over a long time span.  I collect single examples of archaic and classical coins from many cities because the diversity of cultures present before Alexander fascinates me (Kraay's Archaic and classical Greek coins is my favorite).  I also have a reasonable collection of Trajan and Hadrian coins because they represent the ancient world at its height.  I also have a reasonable number of imperial and provincial Gordian coins because that represents the end of the classical world (in my opinion) and the beginning of late antiquity.  (My favorite what if: Imagine if Gordian III had lived, ruled, and provided stability to a ripe old age.)
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Frans Diederik
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« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2012, 08:52:11 am »

As a young man I got involved in a very prolonged dig in a Roman fortress, where thousands of objects came to light, including masses of (early first century) coins. Exposed to all this, I must have been contaminated with 'The Roman Virus' and I am still suffering from this ailment..... When I see Greek coins, I am often smitten by their artistic beauty, but when I come across Celtic coins, I am attracted to their crude barbarian charm and when I see............... - in short: I am a hopeless case, with a collection of Roman, Greek, Celtic, Chinese and everything that distinguishes itself from the mediocre bulk..



Frans
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Bdsn
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« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2012, 11:41:43 am »

It's interesting to see the varied responses here, nice post.  My collection is small, but branching in diffierent directions.  Rome has always fascinated me and I originally wanted to get a coin from every roman emperor.  Turns out there were alot more of them than I thought.  I have sort of a fetish for ancient artifacts and pretty much just collect whatever catches my eye, has meaning and is in my price range.  Still mostly roman, but a couple greek ones and some other cultures that just fell into my lap.  Greek coins are true works of art in my opinion, but the ones I really like are priced accordingly.  I would like to get a nice celtic one with Boudica on it, and some from both sides of the crusade perhaps - we'll see.  I'll have my emperor collection eventually, but I am taking the scenic route.   Grin

Justin
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Dk0311USMC
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2012, 09:43:27 am »

It seems that there are far more Roman coin collectors than Greece coins collectors. Or am I seeing this wrong?

I was just wondering why this would be as it is very clear that Greek history is far more interesting Wink

So my question is: why are you collecting what you collect? Why Romans? Why Greece or Celtic? Why biblical?



I think there is plenty room and reason for both.  I collect mainly Roman and Greek with some various Biblical, Byzantine and other coins as well. Pretty much anything I can assign a certain  amount of history to for various people and events.


To put it simply to me collecting Roman coins is like collecting a mini portrait of that emperor taken from the time he was on earth.  If I were rich and had a long hall, I would want an ancient sculpted bust of the Emperors on display like at the museums.  For now ill have to settle on the coins  Wink  Roman coins are more streamlined which attests to the organizational structure of the Roman empire to create a solid currency throughout their long lasting empire.  The Romans were very organized and I think some of that shows in their coinage, whether it was minted in Britain or the middle east, it shows how far reaching the hand of the Roman empire extended, and therefore the hand of the emperor himself. 

I like the Greek coins because of the mythology and how the Greek city states minted various coins differently from region to region.  I like the art as many mentioned, whether it be a Greek god or an animal depicted. I also like the look and feel of the Greek coins compared to Roman.  Nothing like holding my Athens tetradrachm in hand compared to a roman.  Although a good Roman sestertius feels nice in hand too!


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Ancientnoob
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« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2012, 05:52:08 pm »

DK I have got to tell you, you hit the nail on the head. I feel the same way. Although when I take my coins out to look and hold them I gravitate towards the Punic coins I have 5 good pieces and I always think to myself how things could have been different. The what if and I always think wow coins from a lost civilization. They had the western world in the palm of there hands. Then boom gone in a few generations, just to be recreated but not in the "Phoenicia"  fashion. Coins are the only things left, except the Roman Buildings. Carthage coins boosting the Calvary and Palm trees for Centuries. It shows strength and stability.
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