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Ancient Coins on a Budget ?

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MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
I've always been interested in ancient coins, but I find the whole topic daunting, and I assume they're all pretty high up there in cost. But with a special birthday coming up, and the birthday brat being very interested in the Romans I thought what better time to really delve into it. The Romans seem like a good launching point I think.

So I'm wondering if there are any Numistans out there who can suggest where to start when collecting Roman coinage, and for a special challenge (I assume?) keeping it fairly low budget.

Thank you in advance
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Hello There
Joined: 14-Dec-2016
Posts: 373
I'm interested in it as well. Following.
pejounet Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 30-Jan-2017
Posts: 848
Hi,
you can find common Roman coins in fair condition around $10. You may also find some lots gathering common coins (like 100 coins for $50) offered by some auction houses. Ebay can help you but keep in mind there are lots of fakes there too!

To start with, I'd suggest you go for bronze coins of late emperors. They are more common and affordable, and it's a nice way to get familiar with and start learning about Roman coins before going further. Few names to start with: Constantine I and II, Constantius II, Tetricus I and II, Honorius, Arcadius, Constans, Valentinian I, Theodosius I.

If you have any doubt on fake/copy, post it on the forum and I'm sure you'll find help here to avoid scams, etc.
Administrateur du catalogue | Catalogue administrator

Sapientiae plerumque stultitia est comes
Quant.Geek
Joined: 31-Jan-2015
Posts: 1047
I would start with the late roman bronzes. They aren't expensive and you can get really good quality coins for $20 or less (typically $10 or less for the really common ones). You can also buy lots to lower the cost of individual pieces and keep the ones you like and sell the rest off. For instance, I bought the following and it cost about $10 per coin. The quality of the coins are pretty outstanding and each coin is recognizable...

pejounet Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 30-Jan-2017
Posts: 848
:O:O:O same opinion at the same time
Administrateur du catalogue | Catalogue administrator

Sapientiae plerumque stultitia est comes
Quant.Geek
Joined: 31-Jan-2015
Posts: 1047
Yep. Great minds think alike ;)
MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
Wow, those look amazing!

See I would have thought it too good to be true.

I am finding lots in those names/eras. And they really are on budget! In particular there's a seller in Hungary selling a whole lot. Is there anything to be wary of in situations like that? The photos are all different so that's a good sign. And they're not coming direct from China.
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Quant.Geek
Joined: 31-Jan-2015
Posts: 1047
Quote: "MonaSeaclaid"​Wow, those look amazing!

​See I would have thought it too good to be true.

​I am finding lots in those names/eras. And they really are on budget! In particular there's a seller in Hungary selling a whole lot. Is there anything to be wary of in situations like that? The photos are all different so that's a good sign. And they're not coming direct from China.
​There are so many lots that are sold as people find tons of these coins buried. You should not have much problem finding good quality lots sold by legitimate sellers. However, what you do have to worry about is uncleaned lots. They can be a blessing or a curse as you can end up with countless crud pieces. Never mind the tedious task of cleaning them...
nthn
Joined: 2-Mar-2015
Posts: 1609
What do you think about getting dirty lots of old romans and cleaning them like Fluke or with electrolysis? What do you think the chances are of finding a rarer coin by cleaning a very dirty coin?
Referee for Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Italian states, Niue, Order of Malta, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Sarawak, Tibet and Zambia. All of my swap list is for sale.
cro321
Joined: 25-Mar-2016
Posts: 147
Late Roman bronze is the way to go, they're easy to find and very cheap. In Croatia, and I'm guessing other countries that were colonized by the Romans, they're very common. Prices usually start at around 5$ per coin in average condition.

I wouldn't recommend ebay as I heard there are a lot of fakes there and as far as I can tell it's overpriced.

Good luck! :)
I collect and want to swap for:

- Habsburg Austrian & Hungarian coins
- Medieval Hungary
- Italian States: Venice
- US silver dollars, 1/2 dollars and 1/4 dollars
- Interesting circulating silver coins
MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
Quote: "cro321"​Late Roman bronze is the way to go, they're easy to find and very cheap. In Croatia, and I'm guessing other countries that were colonized by the Romans, they're very common. Prices usually start at around 5$ per coin in average condition.

​I wouldn't recommend ebay as I heard there are a lot of fakes there and as far as I can tell it's overpriced.

​Good luck! :)
​Where would you recommend looking then? Are there better sources?


I've seen tonnes of these "unsorted" uncleaned bulk lots before and they're one reason I've stayed clear of ancient coins in the past. I don't have the money to gamble or the expertise to clean them or know what I'm looking at afterwards. It seems too easy to just sell off the junk and say "Well that's the way the cookie crumbles" if people complain.
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cro321
Joined: 25-Mar-2016
Posts: 147
Quote: "MonaSeaclaid"

​​Where would you recommend looking then? Are there better sources?


​I've seen tonnes of these "unsorted" uncleaned bulk lots before and they're one reason I've stayed clear of ancient coins in the past. I don't have the money to gamble or the expertise to clean them or know what I'm looking at afterwards. It seems too easy to just sell off the junk and say "Well that's the way the cookie crumbles" if people complain.
I can only speak for my local market: Roman coin are very easy to find in the Balkans and, even with them being a popular collectors item, they're rather cheap. The uncleaned late empire bronze lots on ebay are the exact same lots you can find here in coin clubs just at a higher price (just take a look at seller location, it's usually somewhere on the Balkans) and there's no need to doubt their authenticity since they're too cheap to be worth counterfeiting however buying more expensive silver/gold coins or early empire coins off of ebay is risky.

I'd recommend checking with your local coin club or antique store as a better alternative over ebay.

Oh, and just as a side note, even though those lots on ebay say they're "unsorted" or "unsearched" etc believe me, anything rare and of high worth has been removed from them, people selling them know exactly what they're doing.
I collect and want to swap for:

- Habsburg Austrian & Hungarian coins
- Medieval Hungary
- Italian States: Venice
- US silver dollars, 1/2 dollars and 1/4 dollars
- Interesting circulating silver coins
nthn
Joined: 2-Mar-2015
Posts: 1609
What about the coins that are so incrusted that the sellers cannot know what they are at all.
Referee for Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Italian states, Niue, Order of Malta, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Sarawak, Tibet and Zambia. All of my swap list is for sale.
cro321
Joined: 25-Mar-2016
Posts: 147
Quote: "nthn"​What about the coins that are so incrusted that the sellers cannot know what they are at all.
​I'm no expert on ancients but I did have a lot of uncleaned metal detecting finds pass through my hands, I'm sure an experienced collector or metal detector can usually tell the era from which the coin is and a rough estimate of value by just looking even if it's uncleaned.

You can easily start a affordable ancients collection off of uncleaned ebay lots just don't expect to find high value coins among them.
I collect and want to swap for:

- Habsburg Austrian & Hungarian coins
- Medieval Hungary
- Italian States: Venice
- US silver dollars, 1/2 dollars and 1/4 dollars
- Interesting circulating silver coins
MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
I agree. An "unsearched" or "unsorted" description rarely, if ever, means that.

As for local markets I have none. Just one tiny coin shop that doubles as a comic store. eBay or other online markets are my option.
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neilithic
Joined: 28-Mar-2011
Posts: 7494
You can try for some of the uncleaned lots and cleaning them up yourself. They are usually pretty cheap, and you also get the joy of discovery that you don't get by buying already cleaned coins.

There are plenty of sites that give you advice on how to clean them. This is one I found a couple of years back

https://www.crustyromans.com/cleaning/
MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
It does sound like fun, and it is a long-term goal of mine to get a bulk lot of coins for fun to see what I get. But right now I can't afford the gamble.

Though spending weeks of slowly watching the coins get more and more uncovered does sound awesome.
I wrote something clever here.
MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
I've been looking through the Hungarian's listings, I thought it might be a good way for me to start learning since he seems to keep things fairly consistent. Maybe someone here can look at my short list and tell me if I'm on the right track?

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CONSTANTIUS-II-330-348-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-VF-Thessalonica-Mint-/172645402977

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CONSTANS-337-350-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-VF-Siscia-Mint-/182554679798

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CONSTANTIUS-II-337-361-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-F-Siscia-Mint-/182558945761

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CONSTANS-346-348-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-VF-Siscia-Mint-/182573537342

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CONSTANS-346-348-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-VF-Siscia-Mint-/172669927917

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/CONSTANS-347-348-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-F-VF-Cyzicus-Mint-/172661770007

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/VALENTINIAN-I-367-375-AD-E-Nummus-Roman-Bronze-Coin-VF-Siscia-Mint-/172674788239

I know it's a lot, but if you could look at one or two then I'll know if I'm way off base or what. I'm trying to figure out, first of all, if they're real, and second if they're reasonably priced.

Thank you in advance to anyone who takes a look. This is sortof fun and scary at the same time.
I wrote something clever here.
cro321
Joined: 25-Mar-2016
Posts: 147
I'm fairly certain those are all real, most of them come from my local Siscia mint (today's Sisak in Croatia), they're very common and can be easily found in neighboring Hungary. There's no point in faking so cheap coins. If you're just looking to buy one coin I'd go with the first one, the CONSTANTIUS II 330-348 Nummus, imo it's in the best condition out of these. If you're looking to start you own collection maybe buying a already cleaned lot would be cheaper then buying all of these. :)
I collect and want to swap for:

- Habsburg Austrian & Hungarian coins
- Medieval Hungary
- Italian States: Venice
- US silver dollars, 1/2 dollars and 1/4 dollars
- Interesting circulating silver coins
MonaSeaclaid
Joined: 21-Jan-2016
Posts: 651
Oh I'm definitely not buying them all. I'm hoping to get one, maybe two nice ones. If I can swing it then I'll try to bundle one for myself.

Edit: When you say these are typically cheap coins do you mean that these ones I listed are overpriced?
I wrote something clever here.
MIMAEL
Joined: 25-Dec-2016
Posts: 75
Quote: "MonaSeaclaid"​Oh I'm definitely not buying them all. I'm hoping to get one, maybe two nice ones. If I can swing it then I'll try to bundle one for myself.

​Edit: When you say these are typically cheap coins do you mean that these ones I listed are overpriced?
Hello
Just for the idea- of ​​100 pieces Rome -76 USD
Uncleaned
Sincerely,
Ivan

http://aukro.cz/1-rimske-mince-necistene-100ks-cena-za-vsech-i6810505849.html
A piece of metal intended to pay for the staple grain and guaranteed by the state image and inscription

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