- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Formatum
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Pottery
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Augustus - Facing Portrait
Bronze Disease
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Holy Land Antiquities
Horse Harnesses
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Medusa Coins
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Paleo-Hebrew Script Styles
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Coin Legends and Inscriptions
Roman Keys
Roman Locks
Roman Militaria
Roman Military Belts
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu

The Evolving Ancient Coin Market

by Robert Kokotailo

Calgary Coins - http://www.calgarycoin.com/

One has to look carefully at the timing of these things to see what is really happening. Here is a brief history as I understand it, as to how the market has recently evolved in ancient coins.

Prior 1975 probably about 70% of the coins on the market were recycle of old collections, and 30% chance finds from construction, river erosion, field walking, etc. Exact percentages are hard to pin down, but that is somewhere in the ball park.

The introduction of effective metal detectors about 1975 very quickly changed the percentages to about 70% fresh finds, and 30% combined recycle of old collections and chance finds. The number of coins from collections and chance finds did not diminish, it was simply an increased total supply due to metal detector finds. This happened mostly in Britain and western Europe so large hoards of Roman and western Greek coins, including coins from Italy and some from Greece, were what was available and prices for those fell. We did not see a lot Roman colonial or Eastern Greek coins.

About 1979 the US Government changed a law allowing rare coins to included in those tax deductible retirement savings portfolio's. Hucksters promoted it and many people who knew nothing about coins bought anything the promoters offered, creating a huge demand driving prices sky high. Common decent Gordian III antoniniani were $125 with someone even attempting to create a futures market for them. Coins of all types, not just ancient, were driven to very high prices. A lot of real collectors sat on the side lines during this period. Late in 1980 or early in 1981 the US repealed that law disallowing coins in those investment plans, creating a market crash that hit bottom between 1982 to 1983. Those $125 Gordian III ant's fell to about $12.50, and much of the rest of the market did similar things. When the market hit that bottom about 1983, collectors jumped in again and the market began to recover.

Around 1985 Britain and western Europe had been very heavily metal detected and finds started dropping. With the reduced availability prices began to rise. The percentage of coins on the market from old collections started to become a bigger factor, although metal detector hoards were still appearing, just in smaller numbers. The market hit a peak about 1990.

In 1991 the iron curtain fell and everything changed. During 1991 and 1992 there was a flood of coins out of eastern Europe, which were the thousands of hoards found and held by families not willing to take the risk involved in getting them out during the previous 60 years of communist rule. These were mostly the types of coins found in the Balkans, so huge hoards of 3th century AE antoniniani, colonial bronzes, 2nd and 3rd century denarii, new style Athenian tetradrachms, Alexander tetradrachms, etc.

Between 1993 and 1995 metal detectors flooded into those regions and fresh hoards began appearing on the market in large numbers, continuing until about 2001. This was the period of cheap coins because there were just too many coins for the collector market to absorb them all. That was partially alleviated by the appearance of eBay with the wider marketing to an entire new group of collectors it allowed. If you had been at a major coin show in the US or Britain at that time, you would have seen many new hoards offered at every show. By about 2001 most of those easy finds had been found, and the number of hoards diminished rapidly over the next few years. With reduced availability, prices started to rise. By 2010 one could go to a major coin show, and sometimes no new hoards would be offered. Dealers started to notice they were having a great deal of trouble replacing their inventory. Prices were rising.

Since 2010, the supply of new hoards had dramatically dropped as they had simply running out of places to look. Recycle of collections is again becoming the dominate source of coins on the market.

Going forward I feel a few prediction are possible. Metal detecting will continue to diminish as a source of new coins, because all the easy finds have now been made, and there are no new areas that will eventually come open that have not yet been searched. It will probably never drop to zero, but will never again be like it was prior to 2001. Chance finds will also diminish because many of the hoards found by metal detectors between 1975 and 2001 are the hoards that would have been chance finds over the next 200 years had metal detectors never been invented. The primary source of coins on the market will from here on out will be recycle of collections.

Taken together, this means that availability of ancient coins had already dropped significantly from the 2001 highs, and will continue to drop. Prices have already risen to a point it is driving some collectors out of the market, and so with the reduced availability we are also seeing some reduction in demand, although that is more true for the cheaper types of coins (serious wealth collectors are still there). I believe it will take 10 to 15 years for things to really stabilize, and it will take the form of reduced demand and prices for the more common material, but high end coins will go higher. I guess in 10 to 15 years we will know.


All coins are guaranteed for eternity