Historically, coins have been a way for governments to exert their political authority over their subjects, which is why the world’s earliest coins tend to be associated with the world’s oldest civilizations.

For example, the Greeks struck coins beginning 680 BCE. Coins from that civilization’s first few hundred years were often irregularly shaped rather than round and initially featured little more than a punched geometric mark on one side and an animal on the other. Within a few hundred years, though, ancient Greek coins began to feature figures on both sides, and the coins blossomed artistically between 415 and 336 BCE. Some of the most beautiful bronze coins from this period were struck on the island of Sicily by an engraver named Kimon.

Denominations for ancient Greek coins were based on the drachm, pronounced ‘dram’. Fractional denominations for the drachm included the obol, which was worth one-sixth of a drachm, while the stater, which was often produced out of gold, could have equal or even greater value than a drachm, depending on its size.

Coins of ancient Rome generally fall into two categories—those struck during the Roman Republic, which lasted from 509 until 27 BCE, and coins minted during the Roman Empire, which ruled the West until the end of the 5th century. Like the earliest Greek coins, the earliest Roman coins were cast in irregular bronze shapes and were exchanged based on their weight. By the 3rd century BCE, Romans were producing aes signatum coins, which were also weight-based coins but featured animals and symbols on their faces.

By the time of the Roman Empire, coins were being struck in gold and silver, as well as copper and brass. Probably the most common Empire coin was the denarius, although the aureus may be the best known since it featured an image of Caesar. Other common coins bore the likenesses of emperors Trajan, under whose rule Rome reached its greatest extent, and Hadrian.

Coinage in China also goes back some 2,500 years. Like ancient Greek and Roman coins, the first Chinese coins were cast in bronze, but Chinese coin makers eventually went in a different design direction than their Western counterparts. For example, by the time ancient Chinese coins were circulating along the Silk Road in the 1st century BCE, the round coins were made of copper and had square voids at their centers. In some cases, the coins bore inscriptions in both Han and Quici languages.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Historia

Historia

PeterD’s Historia goes deep on ancient Roman coins (there are about 400 of them), but he also gives Greek coins t… [read review or visit site]

Ancient Coins: In Praise of the Celators!

Ancient Coins: In Praise of the Celators!

Dr. Tom Buggey’s Ancient Coins: In Praise of the Celators! focuses mainly on coins from Greek and Roman antiquity… [read review or visit site]

Beast Coins

Beast Coins

Yes, Zach Beasley’s Beast Coins website features numerous pages devoted to coins with bears and other beasts on t… [read review or visit site]

Worldwide Bi-Metallic Collectors Club

Worldwide Bi-Metallic Collectors Club

Bi-metallic coins have been around since the 17th century, when a copper wedge was added to the English farthing to… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

527 - 565 A.d Late Roman Empire Justinian I Gold Solidus Coin.constantinople300 B.c. Egyptian Gold Commemorative Plaque W/ Certificate Of Authenticity 10 A.d British Found Caligula & Augustus Roman Imperial Silver Denarius Coin.vfRace Torch And Manead Lesbos Mytilene Very Rare Ancient Greek Gold Coin El Ulysses With His Dog Argus. Mamilius Rare Roman Republic Coin Denarius 3.84gUnknown Solid Silver Roman Coin Antique Artifact Old Ancient Horse Dolphin TapaeIslamic, Ottoman Empire, Sulayman I (ah 926-97) Av Gold Sultani Altin; Misr MintC.185 A.d British Found Julia Domna Roman Period Imperial Silver Denarius CoinEagle_&_apollo Lesbos Mytilene Very Rare Greek Gold Coin El Worth Over $2.000 Byzantine Gold Solidus Coin Of Emperor Heraclius & Constantine Iii - 610 AdParthian Empire, Mithradates I, C.171-138 Bc, Ar Silver DrachmIslamic, Seljuks Of Rum, Kaykhusraw Ii, Konya Mint, Dated 639 Ah4th-3rd Centuries B.c. Ngc Xf Ar Stater Pamphylia, Aspendus 4/5. 4/5Alexander Iii Tetradrachm Lifetime-early Posthumous Ngc Au* Star Ancient Coin527 - 565 A.d Late Roman Empire Justinian I Gold Solidus Coin.constantinople54 A.d British Found Emperor Nero Roman Period Imperial Ar Silver Denarius CoinC.900 - 1150 A.d Latin Rulers Byzantine Empire Unresearched Au Gold Solidus CoinRare Silver Denarius Of Julius Caesar: Elephant / Emblems Of The Pontificate. EfSasanian Drachm Of Varhran I (273-276 Ad) - Vgc, Scarce161-180 Marcus Aurelius Roman Great Britain Silver Denarius CoinC. 281-228 B.c. Ngc Ch Xf Ar Didrachm Calabria, Taras 4/5, 3/5Cassius Longinus_very Rare Roman Silver Ar Denarius Worth Between $3.000-5.000Circa.500 A.d Large Sassanian Empire Quartz Crystal Dome Seal.bull Detail.vfAthena And Lyre With Pegasus_silver_stater_akarnania Rare Greek Coin 22mm 7.88gScarce Brass Dupondius Of Augustus & Agrippa: Nimes Crocodile. Superb. Vf+Roman Coin: Augustus Denarius Scarcer ReverseKingdom Of Macedon, Alexander Iii, 336-323 Bc Ar Tetradrachm Ngc Ch Au527 - 565 A.d Late Roman Empire Justinian I Gold Solidus Coin.constantinopleImperial Rome Vespasian Silver Denarius Ephesus Mint Avg Ephe Monogram AuthenticCoa Ancient Greek Coin Troas, Sigeon 350 Bc Ae12 Helmeted Athena Lovely OwlLot Of 31 Uncleaned Ancient Roman Bronze Coins / 1 Clean Probus Church Reverse/Unusual Anglo Indian Raj One Rupee 1907 Edward Vii Trench Art Box Antique NrC.85 A.d British Found Emperor Domitian Roman Period Ar Silver Denarius CoinRare Roman Silver Denarius Of Emperor TitusConstans Ii Av Gold Solidus___constantinople Mint___christian Cross On 3 StepsAncient Roman Silver Denarius Coin Of Emperor Augustus & Lucius & Gaius Caesar491 - 518 A.d Late Roman Empire Anastasius I Gold Solidus Coin.constantinopleRoman Gold Constantius Ii, Solidus, Mint Of ConstantinopleAncient Byzantine Gold Solidus Coin Of Emperor Constans Ii - 651 AdAugustus 27 Bc Ad 14 Roman Silver DenariusNero Ad 54-68 Roman Silver Denarius Rev: ConcordiaLarge Ancient Egypt Ptolemy Zeus Eagle 72g 41mm Bronze CoinC.100 B.c British Found Roman Republican Silver Denarius Coin.unresearched IssueAfter C. 325 B.c. Ngc Xf Ar Didrachm Calabria, Taras 5/5, 1/5Claudius Nero Rare Roman Republic Silver Ar Denarius Beautiful Original LusterWow! Superb Ancient Roman Silver Coin Denarius Of Hadrian, 18mm; 2.97gr Ancient Roman Silver Elephant Denarius Coin Of Julius Caesar - 49 BcC.79 - 81 A.d British Found Emperor Titvs Roman Imperial Ar Silver Denarius CoinRare Ancient Roman Silver Coin/ar Denarius/rome/vespasian Victory Wreath AltarAthena In Corinthian Helmet Ionia Phocaea Very Rare Ancient Greek Gold Coin El Ancient Republic Roman Gold Aureus Emperor GalbaMedusa Of Sabula_bellerophon On Pegasus_very Rare Roman Silver Ar DenariusGold Byzantines Histamenon Michel Vii 1071-1078 Ad Scyphat 4.35 Grams Lot Of 20 Premium Quality Uncleaned Ae3 Late Roman CoinMaenius Antiaticus Victory And Roma Rare Roman Republic Silver Denarius 20mm3.8gParthian Drachm Of Mithradates Iv Or V (129-140 Ad)Greek Coin: Athens Tetradrachm 2nd-1st Century BcWow - Uncirculated Roman Ae3 Coins Of Constantine Ii & Constantius IiFlaminia 1 Silver Denarius___records Successes In GaulScarce And High Grade Follis & Ae3 Of Helena - Fausta - Licinius - Constantinus