Excellent informaiton in this thread
from many experienced collectors, but some of the information ran
a little far afield from the intial questions.
Which region do you think it's best to collect; Roman
, Greek, Byzantine
? Is it better to get a coin in really nice condition or something in lesser condition but truly rare
Two excellent questions for a beginner, but as pointed out by others, there is no simple answer.
The best answers I could muster to this with my limited experience have already been given to this.
Definitely buy what interests you.
This is one of the best responses to this question. What history
are you interested in? I like Roman history
myself given the scope of the Roman empire
coupled with the contemporaneous sources of the time. Specifically, I like the late Republic/Early empire. Something about the transition from republic to empire on such a grand scale appeals to me. Thus, my collection
reflects late Roman Republic
, Imperators, and 12 Caesars
for the most part
. Others may prefer the artistic appeal of Greek coins
, or the history
, art, or availability of Byzantine coins
. Others may be called to the art, rarity
, or history
of Celtic coins
Look around here, and elsewhere at what is available. As you look around, find what appeals to you. As others have suggested, buy one or a few of each and hold them in your hand. Does one type
of coin appeal to you over another after holding them? This can help
you decide what to collect.
are the place to start because (a) their Latin legends and Imperial portraits
family names make identification
easy (b) you don't have to rely on expertise in style
so much to weed out suspicious coins (c) they are cheaper.
This is the other response that spoke to me on this question. Initially, I found ancient coins
because of their biblical
connection. I accumulated some Jewish
bronzes in that regard because of their connection with biblical history
. Despite the resources here and Aarmale's best efforts, I could not decipher the Hebrew legends. Greek coins
were, and are, of interest, but the Greek is more challenging to me than the Latin, and the Greek coins
that appeal to me are more expensive than the Roman
ones that speak to me. Not to settle, but as a matter of appeal, after I had
a few Jewish
, Greek, and Roman coins
, for these reasons, and my areas of historic interest, Roman coins
became my area
of initial collection
in ancient coins
after dabbling in several areas.
Is it better to get a coin in really nice condition or something in lesser condition but truly rare
Another excellent question for a beginner, but as you have seen from responses of those with more experience than I, one with no universal answer. Some collectors prefer to accumulate many common coins in a lesser condition, while others prefer only pristine or rare
coins in his
or her collection
. Like the question of what area
to collect in, no approach is right or wrong, but rather, this is a matter of personal preference. I agree with those who recommend multiple affordable (which usually means not rare
or pristine) coins to begin with until you decide what appeals to you individually.
Most of us probably could agree we enjoy learning about the context of our coins as part
of the fulfillment of our collections
of what ever scope, quality
, are area
. This means reading, researching, and learning. As with anything, the learning curve to begin with is steep. There is no need to buy expensive books to begin with, as in the modern age, you can learn so much on the Internet to get you going. Whatever your area
of interest, you could (as I did and have), read the information here at the Forvm
for hours upon hours.
1. Discussion Board
. You can learn volumes worth of information by just reading the posts here on the discussion board
. Read the threads with broad scope first, before you read those with a more narrow scope. Many of the more important or notable discussions are "tacked" to the front of each board with a red
2. Articles for beginners. There are countless possibilities, but a few to get started:
a. Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Coin Collecting 101 (number 3 on numiswiki
, must be decent
b. Doug Smith
's site. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/dougsmith
. This was one of the best sites for beginners outside the Forvm
I found when I was getting started, and now, it is hosted here at the Forvm
c. Warren Esty's site with pages for beginners. http://esty.ancients.info
. One of the best, non-Forvm, sites for beginners I know of.
These online resources will give you hours of reading. As others have pointed out, if you want more, or just prefer books, there are numerous, low cost, books to aid beginners. Esty gives a good summary of some books. From my experience, here are a few goods ones:
a. The Handbook of Roman
Imperial Coins, Van Meter
. This was a good resource for me for Roman coins
. Available here at the Forvm
with a discount if you get a coin with your purchase. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?param=34175q00.jpg&vpar=1231&zpg=82&fld=http://www.forumancientcoins.com/Coins2
b. Ancient Coin Collecting I, Wayne Sayles
. I found this to be a good overview of ancient coin collecting. I liked it so much, I went overboard and got his
Greek and Roman books
. By that point, I had
learned so much here, that they were too basic, and I don't recommend any of Sayles' books beyond I. Sorry Wayne.
There are some good threads here on the Discussion Boards about books.
No plans to bid on ebay
... though if it were a graded coin ...Yet it seems not too many ancients are graded,
No grading of ancients as with modern coins
. See Doug Smith
's pages for an overview of grading.
it must be harder to admire the coin when it is in the case since the prongs cover the edges of the coin
Many of us would free an ancient coin from a slab if it were encased (entombed). I look at slabbing ancient coins
as a travesty. One of the things I love about ancient coins
versus moderns, is the ability to hold and handle
Since I'm an attorney by trade, of course I must include a disclaimer. These are my opinions. Like anything, the advice given here is subject to debate and dispute. As with anything, ask 3 ancient coin collectors a question, and you are likely to get 5 different answers. The advice given here is free, and you often get what you pay for. Collectors with a lifetime of experience have already chimed in and give their opinions on your questions before I put my 2 cents in anyway. First and foremost, have fun, and collect what you like. Welcome to the Forvm