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Author Topic: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner  (Read 28517 times)

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Offline Lucas H

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I've seen the axiom "buy the book before the coin" several places for the new collector.  Of course, I had to ignore this advice and buy some coins before buying any books.  After my initial enthusiasm over the past few weeks, my wife has put me on a strict budget moving forward.  I've decided I should use some of my budget for books at this point.

Thus far, I think my interests are biblically related coins, early Roman Empire, and the Flavians.  So far, I've got Hendin's Guide to Biblical Coins, and I've read that.  On Hendin's recommendation, I've purchased Sayles' first book, and I'm reading that now.  What are some recommendations for my next book purchase?  Remember, I'm very new to this, so I'm looking for good overviews and general information as opposed to the more technical books at this point.  Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Offline Danny S. Jones

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 10:56:44 am »
Here are a couple of suggestions that are invaluable to a beginning collector, yet have great value as a reference even to the experienced collector:
Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins by David Van Meter
Reading and Dating Roman Imperial Coins by Zander H. Klawans

Here are couple good suggestions for Biblically related collecting:
A Numismatic Journey Through the Bible by Richard Plant
A Treasury of Jewish Coins by Ya'akov Meshorer

Offline Lucas H

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 11:03:55 am »
Thanks for the recommendations.  I should add to what I have by adding I won a Forvm ebay auction for A Numismatic Journey Through the Bible last night. 

How similar or different is Meshorer's book from Hendin's?  With just a couple of books, do those overlap a tremendous amount?

Offline cliff_marsland

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 01:39:35 pm »
I would buy Van Meter's guide to Roman coinage.  It's an excellent deal at $35 or less.  It was my first Roman book of note.  It''s not nearly as complete as RIC, but it's still an excellent beginning guide to Roman coins.

Offline Danny S. Jones

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 02:19:02 pm »
Thanks for the recommendations.  I should add to what I have by adding I won a Forvm ebay auction for A Numismatic Journey Through the Bible last night. 

How similar or different is Meshorer's book from Hendin's?  With just a couple of books, do those overlap a tremendous amount?

I would consider both books invaluable to the study of Jewish and Biblical coins. Each focuses on many different topics, while similar issues may get different treatment to bring out facts and nuances that the other book did not treat completely. Hendin, who published the English version Meshorer's book (originally written in Hebrew) doesn't spend too much time rehashing the plethora of knowledge in the original tome. The only setback is the price, but if that is not an issue, I would highly recommend Meshorer as a compendium of knowledge that will sit nicely along side of Hendin's work.

The real question is, however, how in depth will your study be in this area of collecting? If you are like most collectors of ancient coins, the history behind the coinage is more important than the coin itself. If this describes you, I recommend the book.

Regards,
Danny

Offline areich

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 02:30:37 pm »
This statement is not to be taken literally and even more loosely defined I don't necessarily agree with it. Especially as a new collector you don't need any coin books immediately. Some general history books would be much more useful. There is much basic and some advanced information to be found here, try the resources and numiswiki links above. There are lots of free books, though most are older to be found here:

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Library%20of%20Ancient%20Coinage

Once you have found that you have an interest in a particular field, go ahead and buy some books but especially in the beginning this can change quickly.
Andreas Reich

Offline Tacitus

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 03:42:23 pm »
A volume I highly recommed for the beginner is the ERIC (Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins).


Offline Jay GT4

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 04:08:44 pm »
I've found that for 95% of attributions I can find it in the SEAR Roman Coins and their Values Millenium edition.  I have all 3 volumes but volume 1 starts from the republic and goes to Domitian.  I would recommend volume 1 if that is where your interests lie.  You could always buy the other volumes later.  Plus it lists RIC and other reference numbers.  Lots of pictures and a nice general biography of each ruler.

Offline mwilson603

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 08:40:01 pm »
I found that buying books first was definitely the way to do it.  Simply because once my coin addiction had used all of my money up, and I couldn't afford to pay for heating, I at least then had something to burn to keep me warm in the winter  :evil:
regards
Mark

Offline David Atherton

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 09:33:55 pm »
I certainly didn't follow this advice when starting out. I bought a few coins and then decided to buy my first coin book, VanMeter if I recall. My next book purchase was Roman Silver coins II which corresponded nicely with the era and denomination I chose to collect. As time went by more specialized books were added (BMCRE, RIC) and the very helpful Dictionary of Roman Coins.

I agree with aerich, a few history books will be very useful too. They will only enhance your enjoyment for collecting ancient coins.

Offline Danny S. Jones

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 11:30:38 pm »
I agree with Andreas that going out and spending a bundle on books may not be the best advice for a new collector, who might be better served purchasing coins and then finding the information and attribution he/she needs online.

However, from my perspective, I'm a book collector (read them, not just collect them). I'm fascinated with history and the stories behind the coins. I'm even more intrigued by the studies that the coins I purchase provoke than the coins themselves. The internet can only give you so much. Many people would be surprised to hear that. There are still pieces of information contained in the printed page than cannot be had online.

On the other hand, not everyone needs to invest in something like the RIC, though I admit I have, and use it often, as well as David Atheron who mentioned it above. I'd dare say that few collectors have this resource (even one volume, much less the whole set). "Think of all the coins you could purchase." as someone said.

The question remains then... How serious of a student of history and numismatics are you? Only you as a collector can answer whether or not you "need" to purchase the book before the coin. As your interest grows, so should your library.

Offline James Anderson

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 11:55:04 pm »
I would suggest Golden Ancient's list and add the one volume (1988) edition of
Sear Roman Coins. Forum seems to be the cheapest place to buy this. I still use it,
although I have the three volumes currently available of the Millennium Edition.
While it isn't primarily about coins, you might also like A Guide to
the Ancient World / A Dictionary of Classical Place Names, by Michael Grant. You
can find from a paragraph to as much as several pages on the mint cities (as well
as others). Jim Anderson

Offline S3VERVS

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2011, 07:28:12 am »
The book I'd recommed for the beginner is Cristopher Howgego's Ancient History from Coins. Price is ca. 20 USD.

Offline ancientone

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2011, 02:55:35 pm »
For Greek coins I would suggest Richard Plant's Greek Coin Types and Their Identification. Great for attributing ancient Greek-era coins by type.

Offline areich

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 05:21:50 pm »
Strangely I have never identified a coin using the book. I either found them using the typical search engines or if I didn't find them there I also didn't find them in Plant's book.
Andreas Reich

Offline Tacitus

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2011, 06:16:54 pm »
Since I only collect one emperor, it is easy for me...  Estoit's Monies of the Roman Empire....

In my early days, though, Ras's ERIC was complete invaluable.... I would not have continued without it.

Offline ancientone

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2011, 01:43:56 pm »
Strangely I have never identified a coin using the book. I either found them using the typical search engines or if I didn't find them there I also didn't find them in Plant's book.

For the beginner it is helpful in learning the different reverse types, and Yes, search engines have made this book obsolete.  I have only identified 3 or 4 coins with this book, one of which was not ID'd on the Identification help board. 

Offline Pekka K

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2011, 02:23:16 pm »

Where you find the names or attributes
for the search engines? I use Plant's
book frequently to have proper word(s)
to the search entry.

Pekka K

Offline Lucas H

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2011, 08:19:28 am »
Quote
I would consider both books invaluable to the study of Jewish and Biblical coins. Each focuses on many different topics, while similar issues may get different treatment to bring out facts and nuances that the other book did not treat completely. Hendin, who published the English version Meshorer's book (originally written in Hebrew) doesn't spend too much time rehashing the plethora of knowledge in the original tome.

I bought Meshorer's, and it is an excellent resource for the Jewish coins.  As you said, the subject matter is presented in such a different format, I like having both references.  I got this since shortly after you recommended it, and since I finished reading it, I reread this thread to pick out my first Roman book. 

Quote
I bought a few coins and then decided to buy my first coin book, VanMeter

I ended up buying VanMeter from the Forvm based on the multiple recommendations in this thread.  I've obtained a number of coins, but I'm still not settled enough to invest in a comprehensive catalog, so I thought this might be a good option for my next book given the price, and the fact I wanted something that covered Roman coins

Thanks for all the input here, and I'll refer back to it as I work my way up to more detailed reference books. 


Offline commodus

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2011, 01:42:55 am »
There are plenty of instances wherein if you bought the book before the coin you wouldn't be able to afford the coin! >:(
Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)

Offline Lucas H

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2011, 07:15:22 am »
Quote
There are plenty of instances wherein if you bought the book before the coin you wouldn't be able to afford the coin!

When I look at the cost of some of the more detailed catalogs, that's been my rationale thus far- think of what kind of coin I could have for that same money, and I'd rather have the coin at this point.  That's not saying I won't eventually get a more detailed catalog than Van Meter, but I just can bring myself to do it yet with the number of coins in my wish list here at the Forvm-what an evil feature.

Offline Tacitus

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2011, 06:43:49 pm »
Lucas - the best starter book you can buy is Ras' ERIC (Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins)
Well worth the money.

Offline Lucas H

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2011, 10:55:09 am »
Quote
"Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II: Vespasian to Domitian" (BMCRE II).

If that CNG book is the 2007 edition, I'm buying that RIC from them.  For my next book, I'll check out the BMCRE II instead of RSC.  I'd like something that covers the provincial coins as well (RPC for the Flavian period), but one thing at the time.  As always, thanks for the advice.

Offline David Atherton

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2011, 07:42:15 pm »
RPC II is the way to go for Flavian provincials. It isn't cheap though! I've seen it go for as low as $200 (what a bargain) and as high as $500.

Offline Lucas H

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Re: Buy the Book Before the Coin/Book Recommendations for the Beginner
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2011, 08:44:18 am »
Ok, I ordered RIC II for the Flavian period, and I hope that arrives soon.  David recommends RPC for provincials.  What about RSC?  Can someone explain the difference, and assuming I have RIC, which would be more beneficial for me as a beginner?  I saw a complete set of RSC for $135.  and RPC for $350.  If I could afford one or the other, which should I get?  I want coverage of provincial coins, but the price.  How/what is the difference between RSC and RIC?

And advice is greatly appreciated.

 

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