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Thinking About Expanding Collection To Ancients--Tips?

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Pillar of the Community
Canada
1269 Posts
 Posted 08/14/2018  12:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add orfew to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I read for seven months before buying my first ancient coin. Buy good introductory books and decide what you might like to collect.
Valued Member
United States
62 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2021  06:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've found that coins of the Roman Republic are often more affordable than those of the emperors. Usually I've never heard of the person depicted on the coin, but it's interesting to research them.
Pillar of the Community
United States
6273 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2021  09:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's amusing and instructive to see this old thread by Finn235 revived. In the years since he posted this request for advice on starting an ancients collection, Steve has become one of the - perhaps the most - knowledgeable contributors to ancients forums. I say "instructive" because it speaks to how fast somebody can immerse themselves in the hobby, get grounded, and start serious research leading, in short order, to genuine expertise. I know how intimidating ancients can seem to a newbie. Steve dove in and quickly (within a year or two) became the go-to guy for much info regarding even obscure, esoteric Eastern material.
Pillar of the Community
United States
967 Posts
 Posted 01/04/2021  2:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add travelcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, interesting. I thought Steve aka "Finn" was in it for years. I agree with Bob, I look for his advise and expertise, especially when it comes to Roman silver. His write ups are a great read as well.

Quote:

it speaks to how fast somebody can immerse themselves in the hobby, get grounded, and start serious research leading, in short order, to genuine expertise.
It really does.. I know I haven't immersed myself in the hobby in a way I would like to. I feel that time just doesn't allow me to do so.
Pillar of the Community
United States
6117 Posts
 Posted 01/04/2021  3:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks guys, that really means a lot.

I always get a chuckle whenever I stumble across this thread again. I need to someday do another re-shoot of the group photo, now that I have significantly expanded since 2018 and also sold many of the coins in that picture.
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
New Member
United States
43 Posts
 Posted 01/06/2022  10:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm just now getting into ancients myself. I collected US coins as a kid, but didn't really have anything earlier than the Barber series other than maybe a single Two Cent Piece and a nickel and silver example of the Three Cent pieces. I wanted to get back into collecting while I was in college, but I was really too broke to afford anything like that. So I started back up my last year, maybe even last quarter. That was 2017.

Within 3 years I had a pretty extensive collection and knowledge of just about every type. I know most key dates and a lot of varieties, but when I say a put a lot of time into it, I mean a lot of time. I'm at the point now where all I have left to complete various type sets in my US collection are the keyest of keys, so the last 20% will certainly take longer than the first 80%.

As such, I've decided to get into foreign coins. I started by buying foreigns by the pound (mostly stuff no earlier than 1800), and built up some pretty nice binders separated by country. That was a learning experience for sure. It's one thing to be able to read books on US coins and easily identify everything. Trying to identify coins in languages that I don't understand has been a whole different ballgame.

Now I'm doing ancients and medievals. I expect to make some of the same mistakes I did the first time I got serious about US coins. I'm not going to buy expensive coins unless from a dealer or slabbed to start off. I'm buying large lots at a couple bucks a coin and just taking the time to try to figure stuff out. I'm sure I'll end up with some fakes, but that's probably unavoidable.

I absolutely feel intimidated trying to get into this though. Now, not only are the coins in a language I don't understand, but the details are usually less clear. I hope that with some dedication I can follow a similar learning curve and end up with a nice collection like yours after your first 3 years, Finn!

I came across this thread while searching "cleaning" in this subforum. I would almost never clean US coins unless they were just not worth much either way. I imagine that's not so much the case with ancients and medievals. Or at least it's far more common, acceptable, and expected as long as you don't start off practicing on rare and expensive coins! Anyway, I enjoyed reading through this, so I figured I'd give it a bump for maybe both some encouragement for some updates from Finn as well as encouragement to anyone like myself just getting started!
Edited by chirrrs
01/06/2022 10:44 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
6273 Posts
 Posted 01/06/2022  11:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome to the world of ancients, chirrrs. Sounds like you'll be cautious, which is smart. We have a good supportive group here, so feel free to ask questions and have potential purchases vetted, and to share images of your acquisitions. Be sure to avoid sellers on the fake sellers lists.
http://augustuscoins.com/ed/fakesellers.html
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/b...opic=18502.0
Valued Member
United States
62 Posts
 Posted 01/07/2022  08:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome chirrrrs! I find ancients fascinating, and much less widely understood than U.S. coins. If you like Roman coins, you might benefit from buying a copy of the condensed version of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" -- great reference for learning about the people depicted.

Valued Member
United Kingdom
406 Posts
 Posted 01/07/2022  10:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I absolutely feel intimidated trying to get into this though.

Sometimes it feels like collecting ancients is a different hobby to collecting US coins. Ancients are much more about history and learning about the subjects on the coin, or why it was struck and in what circumstances.

Grades are far less important. How a coin looks is important, but no-one will ever ask you to 'GTG'. Most of the collectors that send off ancients for grading started out in US coins. (Some have a major aversion to it!).

Part of the reason is that all ancients have been cleaned, particularly if judged by the standards of modern coins. They were dug up out of the ground, so they had to be. But that doesn't mean you can't ruin a coin by over-cleaning it and 'tooling' is very much not acceptable.

Rarity is a different concept. The rarest US coins have about a dozen of each in existence, which on some ancient rarity scales would simply be 'scarce' (and far less expensive). With ancients, 'varieties' are the norm - they were handmade, so they're all different.

To make it less intimidating, you could focus. It's surprising how quickly you can learn about late Roman Imperials or French medievals, so that you can soon read legends and spot styles. But not all ancients at once.

This would also help in spotting fakes. With ancients, the weight and diameter is not such a perfect guide - they can be all over the place. So it helps if you can just see that something doesn't look right.
Pillar of the Community
United States
614 Posts
 Posted 01/07/2022  12:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jskirwin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Most of the collectors that send off ancients for grading started out in US coins. (Some have a major aversion to it!).


I switched 8 years ago and am glad I did. Moderns are dominated by grades. One could argue they've ruined the hobby, just as they've done others like sportscards. The idea you can't even touch a coin seems silly to me now.

Holding history. That's what this hobby is all about.
Pillar of the Community
United States
6117 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2022  8:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Always tickles me to see this thread get bumped again! Welcome to the dark side, chirrrs!

I'm around, still plugging away at the collection; in fact I'm terribly overdue on a great many updates to my long-running threads.

Since advice was solicited, what I can say is,

1) I would recommend that at least every ancients collector try their hand at a large lot of inexpensive, possibly uncleaned coins at least once. It really helps to ground you in appreciating that for every XF ancient, there are mountains of garbage. It's also a great way to get cheap practice in attributing coins.

2) Once you feel comfortable in that, if you want to get your feet wet with good coins that won't break the bank, auction houses like CNG and Roma usually have large lots at the end of their e-auctions, which are where the bargains live. Click through my Roman collection in my signature- probably 75% of those coins came from various large lots. Just be mindful of premiums, shipping, and taxes which can add up fast!

3) Don't forget that Rome was just one civilization of many in the ancient world. I wondered into ancient Indian numismatics one day and discovered Indo Sassanian - the love I didn't even know I needed in my life!

4) And finally, have fun! What drew me in to ancients was their history, but what kept me here is knowing that there is no "right" way to collect them, and the community is much less elitist/"top pop" focused.
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
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