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Thinking About Expanding Collection To Ancients--Tips?

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Pillar of the Community
United States
6117 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  2:58 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello all,

I have been toying with the idea of expanding my collection to include some ancient Greek or Roman era (400 BC - 400 AD) coins. More specifically, I am looking for common, reasonably inexpensive issues of famous historical figures (Alexander, Augustus, Constantine I etc.)

I have thought about going for some of the low-hanging fruit on eBay-- there seems to be a constant stream of the following auction types:

1. 1 reasonable grade bronze or silver coin for $3-10
2. Random grab bag of 1-10 coins for ~$1-5 per coin
3. Large lots of 10-100 coins for ~$0.50-2.00 per coin

Has anyone had any experiences, positive or negative, with any of these auction types? I know that I will get what I pay for, but I also don't mind the somewhat lower grade coins, provided that they are identifiable.
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
Moderator
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United States
23691 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  3:03 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well your not going to find any cheap Alexander coins, even the small bronzes can be pricey in fine condition. Coins of the middle and late Roman period tend to be cheap, and plentiful. If you are patient you can find nice examples at reasonable prices.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
1269 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  3:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add orfew to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Personally I steer clear of eBay for ancient coins.There are many fakes on eBay. There are plenty of great places to get ancient coins for reasonable prices. Coins of Constantine are readily available for low prices. Alexander coins are plentiful but will definitely cost you as they are so popular.

One place I like for ancients is forumancientcoins. They are very reasonable, they ship quickly and they guarantee their coins for eternity.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
1118 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  5:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Harmonica to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I picked up a few Parthian/Sassanian coins and have been reading away with those. I just got in an order of a bulk lot of Roman bronze and have been to work attributing them.

Honestly, in my opinion, buy a lot of ae3s/ae4s and go to town. I identify one coin and spend 10 minutes reading about said ruler. I have been getting all the classic questions on Jeopardy! lately so I know I am learning a lot.

They guy I got my coins from was a Canadian C.C.F. member so I would recommend you find an American with connections and ask if he can hook you up.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4773 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  6:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chrsmat71 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
yeah, if you not familiar with ancients you could really end up with some stinkers on ebay. you can also get some nice coins for a low price, just be careful.

how much do you want to spend on a coin/or per coin? vcoins has some lower priced stuff as well, and some off the chart high priced stuff. go there and search ancient coins for the price range you want for a coin, and you may be surprised what comes up. I have several coin currently incoming from a vcoins seller who has quite a bit of nicer budget stuff at very reasonable prices.
Pillar of the Community
United States
949 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  6:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add lrbguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Given your present level of experience with ancients and what you are trying to do, I would stay away from buying the large lots on eBay. Most of those will require a lot of cleaning to finally get to a deteriorated core that you may or may not be able to attribute.

Since you are seeking coins of famous ancient people, buy coins you can show off with some satisfaction. Study the listings of the dealers on Vcoins and find out what a proper retail range should be for a coin that interests you. Visit eBay to see if they have it, and if not, ante up for a decent one from a Vcoins dealer.

That will give you the most bang for the buck. If you insist on buying a bulk lot, try one of the group lots at the end of a CNG auction. When I am hot to buy a bulk lot I go to a major show and buy it in person. Then you really know what you are getting.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3296 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  7:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add FVRIVS RVFVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I recommend buying a 'nice' coin for a first coin. By nice it does not have to be expensive but it should impress you in some manner.
Constantine can be found for reasonable prices in VF condition (under $25) but he is extraordinarily common ! The mints were running 24-7 during his reign.
Probus or Aurelian can also be found for under $25 in VF condition. The coins (antoninianus) are plentiful and Probus has a vast number of reverse types.

Personally I got exited by ancients from watching (and reading) the novels I CLAVDIVS & Claudius the God by Robert Graves. By reading these two novels you might familiarize yourself with the early Imperial family of Rome known as the Julio Claudians. Should this story 'float your boat' so to speak you might think about a nice copper As of the emperor Claudius (reigned AD 42-54). These coins can be had in near VF for under $50.

Your first ancient is like your first girl (boy) friend ! You will remember it so you should make it count !
IN GOD WE TRVST ....... all others pay cash !

COGITO ERGO SPVD
I think ...... therefore I yam
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19560 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2015  8:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would look around for a silver antoninianus (double denarius) of Gordian 111, in reasonable grade for cost. In the world of ancient numismatics, Roman coins are the easiest to understand.
If you don't know much about ancient numismatics, the first purchase should be from a dealer. Look on line to find some of their offerings.

You then have a piece of hardware as an introduction to the subject. With this as start, borrow a good introductory book from a public library on Roman coins. Take the time to read it slowly, with enjoyment.

I have given double denarii of Gordian 111 away to established coin collectors, who are considering to expand their interests into the fascinating world of ancient coin collecting.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3296 Posts
 Posted 08/11/2015  05:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add FVRIVS RVFVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Actually I believe I know the perfect coin for you my friend.
You want someone famous yet reasonably priced which is a usually a very tall order.

But one of the most impressive ancient coins ever produced could potentially do this for you !

The massive copper coins of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt bear the likeness of Zeus Ammon which many believe to be a portrait of the great Ptolemy (Alexander's trusted general) himself.
The coins come in at impressive weights and sizes.
Large enough to 'weaponize' !
Anywhere between 10 and 70 grams ! These coins are guaranteed to wow friends and relatives and will not break the bank either. A decent lower grade Ptolemy can be had for under $50.

A quickly search reveals a wide range of prices too
I happen to have one listed at a bargain price that no seems very interested in !
37mm nearly 45 grams
IN GOD WE TRVST ....... all others pay cash !

COGITO ERGO SPVD
I think ...... therefore I yam
Valued Member
United States
90 Posts
 Posted 08/11/2015  07:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add museumguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would familiarize myself with FORVM and Wildwinds first and then pick up a copy of relatively inexpensive publications on ancients just to give you some grounding. I've purchased a number of mostly Greeks on Ebay with a lot of success. I think its a matter of finding the right dealers - ones you feeling comfortable with and confident in and sticking with them. Also, attend some coin shows in your area and talk to the dealers in ancients. Most will give you great information. You can also purchase from FORVM (Joe Sermarini) or FORVM's auctions and V-Coins if you want complete confidence in what you are purchasing. Finally, if you cannot afford an Alexander III coin then consider coins of his father, Philip II of Macedon. They are very affordable and can be had for, in some cases, well under $25.00. Good luck!

Steve S.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
1000 Posts
 Posted 08/11/2015  6:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oh my florin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In terms of coins of Alexander nice bronzes tend in the 100+ range, Smaller silvers tend in the 200-800 range while larger silvers tend to be in the 800+ range. I would recommend you have a look at CNG coins for ancients as they are reputable and constantly have auctions.

Here are a few discount ones which are still nice on vcoins
https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/ma...Default.aspx

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/ma...Default.aspx
Edited by oh my florin
08/11/2015 9:14 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
6117 Posts
 Posted 08/12/2018  5:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I stumbled on this thread again a few months ago... hard to believe that three years ago, I owned zero ancient coins!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for all your support over these past years, for your patience through my bumpy take-off and answering hundreds of questions, for providing your guidance as I worked up the courage for a first big purchase, and for entertaining my long-winded rambling educational threads!

I took a moment to dig back through my collection and put together some of my favorite coins for a family photo!

My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
Pillar of the Community
United States
6273 Posts
 Posted 08/12/2018  5:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That defensive Roman line at the bottom is about to break under pressure from the invading Eastern hordes!

Thanks for taking us along on the ride, Steve. Always enjoy your updates.
Pillar of the Community
United States
614 Posts
 Posted 08/12/2018  5:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jskirwin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Huh what? Finn235 interested in ancient coins?

It took me a moment to figure out what was going on.
Then I saw the post date.

Not a bad collection in 3 years. Well done!
Moderator
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United States
23691 Posts
 Posted 08/12/2018  7:28 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I know this is just a small sample of your collection, you have done very well.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3296 Posts
 Posted 08/12/2018  7:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add FVRIVS RVFVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I see at least one "weapons" grade Ptolemy in the group
Looks like a nice one too !
Germanicus .......... very nice
IN GOD WE TRVST ....... all others pay cash !

COGITO ERGO SPVD
I think ...... therefore I yam
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