Collecting Ancient Coins

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First I want to tell something about “collecting ancient coins” in general. Later I will blog about my favourite type: bronze coins of Alexander “the great” III, and successors, the “helmet & shield type”.

When speaking about “ancient” coins it can mean a lot: everything from the first coins in Lydia to the byzantine coins in the 14th century and medieval coins. It can also refer to so called “Judeaen & biblical coins”, which are coins that are mentioned in the bible or from the region of Judea in IsraĆ«l. Offcourse it could also refer to other ancient nations as the many chinese dynasties.

When I speak to people about my passion there is always one question that arise: Isn’t that very expensive?

Well, if you want to have a museum-quality gold stater you’ll pay most likely a few thousands of dollars. But most ancient coins, especially bronze coins, are sold for around $20 to $200. Silver coins usually cost more as they have a higher intrinsic value. On ebay you can find ancient coins for as low as $10, but the chance on couterfeits is more likely. (Hint: only buy from professional antiquity/coin dealers and always google the name of the buyer to check for counterfeits! There is a huge “black list” on ‘FAC fake report’)

Yet another fact is that the value of a coin, ancient or modern, depends on several things. ‘The age’ is one of the least important. What truly matters is his “scarcity”! In ancient times there was no internet, news paper or other mass-communication so coins were an important way to spread a message, for example to show how wealthy or powerfull your city-state was. Because of this some coins were minted for 200 years, without major changes in ‘images’, at, in some cases, a ratio of 10000 a day. And as there were no banks, people buried their money in order to protect it. When someone died, in battle for example, and he hadn’t told someone where he had put his money… A lot of coins survived to modern times and are not as scarce as some modern coins. A nice example is this story: Alexander coins found in northern Syria

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