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Danok

New to Roman coins

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I’ve been a collector of hammered medieval for a fair few years and randomly bought my first Roman coin recently. I’m  interested in this new collecting area but my eye for genuine and quality medieval coins isn’t translating as well as I thought it would to ancient coins. So thoughts on how to avoid fakes and perhaps where to focus collecting initially would be very much welcomed. Any thoughts on my first coin (photo of Septimius Severus denarius attached) would also be welcomed. Thanks! 

2D767C68-1E40-4810-B422-DE677C554538.jpeg

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First, if you're going to concentrate on silver, you don't need to worry too much about fakes. Gold and - surprisingly - large copper from the early Empire are more liable; copper is very hard to find in good condition and the pieces are quite large. Compare that with small bronze from the later Empire such as Constantine, which survive in enormous quantities.

Roman is not hard to find especially silver (denarii and antoniniani) and small bronze, and you can pick up examples in quite high grade for what seems to be modest outlay. For example, imperial denarii of non-rare emperors can be found in EF for often less than £100. Huge numbers were minted and many are found and put up for sale. Hence the lower chances of being faked.

These coins are "ancients" rather than "hammered" as such, even though the minting methods were similar. They tend to be quite a lot thicker. Silver quality varies a great deal, and the antoninianus (similar to the denarius but lower denomination) ended up being merely a silver wash over bronze. That does not of course make them less collectable.

Then you have the Republic (BC; pre-Augustus) where coins were struck in lower quantities and are consequently pricier. It's almost a separate area of collecting

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Thanks Pekris, some really useful information. I was planning on concentrating on denarii and antoniniani for different emperors, similar to the full set of English monarchs silver coins since William I I have put together over time. It’s reassuring to know that the risk of fakes is low for Roman silver and I’ve got an ok level of experience for hammered coins in general. I’ve been really surprised by the prices after spending significant sums on the rarer medieval monarchs. 

Thanks very much again!

Dan. 

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Yes, Peck's advice is good. I don't collect Roman coins, but I do deal a bit at markets in the local area. I find Roman coins in good grades much easier to obtain than most of the hammered English.

A collection based on as many Roman emperors as you can get, is a good target. Don't forget the wives/daughters/mothers, who also appear on quite a few coins.

You will find, a bit like English hammered, that you can get the majority of the names fairly quickly, but then it gets hard filling the last few. Some emperors were only around for a few months, or only held sway in a small part of the empire, and those can be tricky and expensive. When you get down to the likes of Galba, Otho, Vitellus in the early days, or Carausius, Allectus and Marius in the later days, you will find your budget being tested more!

 

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Thank you Paddy, great advice too. I know the process I think after recently buying a Henry IV penny to finalise my hammered English monarchs! I think I’ll have fun collecting the easy emperors first, build up some knowledge and then see how I feel about the rarer ones. Interesting that this could also be expanded to the Roman women coins. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Danok said:

Thank you Paddy, great advice too. I know the process I think after recently buying a Henry IV penny to finalise my hammered English monarchs! I think I’ll have fun collecting the easy emperors first, build up some knowledge and then see how I feel about the rarer ones. Interesting that this could also be expanded to the Roman women coins. 

There's quite  a few women - usually wives or daughters of emperors who then succeeded them, for example Plautilla and Julia Domna to name just two.

Edited by Peckris 2

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11 hours ago, Danok said:

Thank you Paddy, great advice too. I know the process I think after recently buying a Henry IV penny to finalise my hammered English monarchs! I think I’ll have fun collecting the easy emperors first, build up some knowledge and then see how I feel about the rarer ones. Interesting that this could also be expanded to the Roman women coins. 

Ah yes, the last few English monarchs can be a challenge. I still need Henry IV and William II but I baulk at spending hundreds of pounds on something barely identifiable! I expanded into the Saxon kings of Wessex and England to give me something to buy and now have 8 different monarchs there - but getting any more is pricey.

Peck mentioned Julia Domna, so here is one I picked up the other day:

 

Julia Domna D 1-side.JPG

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My rule for collecting is a half decent portrait so I waited a while for the Henry IV until I found something with a fairly good portrait for not a ridiculous price. I’m getting quite excited about Roman now - it’s opened up a whole new area that I can start to enjoy. Thank you both again. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Paddy said:

Peck mentioned Julia Domna, so here is one I picked up the other day:

 

Julia Domna D 1-side.JPG

In the early 70s I was a volunteer on archaeological digs - the golden rule was that anything you found in the 'spoil tip' you could keep as it was archaeologically almost useless having been removed from its context. I found a decent Julia Domna denarius there which came up VF after vinegar treatment. I was an impov student sadly so I sold it to a dealer when I got home. I think I got about £7 for it which was decent back then!

'Juno' reverse? That's not one of the more common ones.

Edited by Peckris 2
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