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    

49-48 Bc Famed Elephant Denarius Of Julius Caesar Ancient Roman Silver Ngc Xf305-275 Bc Rhodes, Helios / Rose Ancient Greek Silver Didrachm Anacs Vf35336-323 Bc Alexander The Great Ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm Ngc Vf 5/5 4/5Attica, Athens C.440-404 Bc Ar Tetradrachm 17.12g ~ Ngc Vf 5/4Ec Attica Athens 454-404bc Silver Tetradrachm - Owl / CrestedJunius Brutus. Killer Of.caesar. Exceptional.silver.denarius. Rare Roman Coin. Phoenecia Tyre 126/5 Bc-ad 67/8 Yr. 37 Ar Shekel 14.29g Ngc Choice Au 5/4162-150 Bc Seleucid Kingdom Ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm Ngc Xf Fine Style!Kingdom Of Macedon, Alexander Iii 336-323 Bc Ar Tetradrachm ~ Ngc Ch Xf 5/4Aureus Of Antonius Pius , Rare Roman Gold Coin145-125 Bc Pamphylia, Side Athena / Nike Ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm Vf1222-1254 Ad John Iii Ancient Byzantine Gold Hyperpyron Ngc Choice Xf 4/5 3/5Roman Silver Denarius Coin Of Julius CaesarRoman Empire, Augustus 27 Bc-ad 14 Ar Denarius 3.78g ~ Ngc Xf 4/4Kings Of Parthia Orodes Ii 57-38 Bc Ar Drachm Court Mint Sellwood 45.15Antique Ancient Ship Wreck Silver Coin In A 10k Yellow Gold Pendant 18.2gRare Circa.100 A.d Finest British Found Roman Period Green Glass Bottle.vfIslamic, Seljuks Of Rum, Kaykhusraw Ii, (634-644 Ah), Ar Dirham385/4-362/1 Bc Cilicia, Tarsus Ancient Greek Silver Stater Ngc Choice Xf 4/5 2/5Roman Empire - Nero Ae As - Lugdunum Ad 66 - Superb Portrait !!!Imperial Roman Coin Silver Denarius Of Clodius AlbinusJulius Caesar, C. 48-46 Bc Ar Denarius 3.92g ~ Ngc Choice Xf 4/4Islamic, Samanid, Nuh Ii Bin Nasr, Gold Dinar, Mint Of Nishapur, Ah 351.Greek Gold Stater Coin Alexander Iii The Great , 336-326 Bc Rare Circa.50 - 100 A.d Finest British Found Roman Period Blue Glass Bottle.vfCirca.400 - 300 B.c Ancient Greece Thrace - Mesembria Ar Silver Obol Coin.vfGreek Silver Coin Tetradrachm Of Apollo 364-348 BcSuperb Lot Of 9 Silver Coins Obol Litra Messana? Lilibeo? Gela? Akragas? PanormoGreek Coin Mysia Pergamon Silver Tetradrachm 200-133 Bc 335-315 Bc Kingdom Of Paeonia Ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm Ngc Au 4/5 4/5Fouree Greek Stater Coin Aigina Turtle 550-530 Bc Demetrios I Of Bactria Bronze Ae28____rejoicing Elephant____the Second AlexanderLot Of 10 Silver Obol Litra Greek Sicily See!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Greek Coin: Ptolemy Iii Silver Teradrachm, 246-221bcOld Unknown Indian Coin Arabic Antique Unusual Silver Thick Roman Islamic NiceJudaea, Bar Kokhba Revolt, 132-135 Ad Ar Zuz 3.32g ~ Ngc Au 5/4602-610 Ad Phocas, Ancient Byzantine Gold Solidus Ngc Au Perfect 5/5 5/5!*tater* 3 Very Choice Roman Provincial Bronze Coins 23 To 25 MillimetersSuperb Lot Of 8 Nice Greek Bronze Coins Messana? Lorica? Menaion? Tauromenion?No Reserve!!!maximinus Ii Av Aureus Almost Extremely Fine Extremely Rare!!!Seleucid Kingdom, Alexander I 152-145 Bc Ar Drachm 4.00g ~ Ngc Vf 4/4Safavids Empire, Shah Tahmasp Ii, Mashhad-e Moqadas, Dated 1143 Ah.*loracwin* Awesome Lot Of 50 Roman Coins.037. Greek Silver Coin. Parion. Hemidrachm. Gorgon*lucernae* Vitellius (69). As. Tarraco. Fides Exercitvvm / S C. Clasped HandsJewish Captive:titus. Silver Denarius From 79 Ce,9 Years After Temple Destroyed*tater* Roman Provincial Ae26 Coin Of Septimius Severus Tyche In Temple BostraAncient Judea Israel 1 Prutah 1st Revolt Coin 67-70 Ad #1Alexander The Great Ar Silver Drachm 336-323 Bc Ngc Choice Au 3760984-002Lot Of 45 Uncleaned Ae3 Roman Coin*lucernae* Nero Ae As. Lugdunum 65. Pontif Max Tr P Imp Pp S-c. Rome SeatedLot Of 50 Uncleaned Ae3 Roman CoinLot Of 40 Uncleaned Ae3 Roman CoinAncient Widows Mite Coin, Ngc Certified,2000 Years Old Judaea Prutah Cir 100 Bc*lucernae* A. Postumius A. F. Sp. N. Albinus Ar Serrate Denarius. Rome, 81 Bc2000 Year Old Coin Of Pontius Pilate Procurator Of Judea Under Tiberius JesusParthian Kingdom , Pakoros Ii Circa Ad 78-105 , Ar Drachm , Mint Of EkbatanaC.161 - 169 A.d British Found Emperor Lucius Verus Roman Silver Denarius CoinPhrygia, Apameia C. 166-133 Bc Ar Christophorus 12.38g ~ Ngc Vf 5/5*tater* Roman Imperial Ae Sestertius Coin Of Commodus Pax