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    

Rare - Roman Gold Aureus - Gordian Iii 238-244 Ad - Au Coin Vf Condition (715-)Vintage Greek Solid Gold Coin Head Of Athena / Owl 19 Century 8.9gr 21.1mmZengid - Ae Dirham Of Qutb Al-din Mawdud (ah554-564)Ancient Greek Silver Owl Tetradrachm Coin Athena Athens Greece Ngc Graded Au!80-50 Bc Britain, Belgae Ancient Greek Gold Stater Ngc Xf 4/5 5/5Imperial Roman Coin Silver Denarius Of Augustus SuperbGreek Coin: Velia, Italy, Silver Didrachm, 350-281bc Lion Reverse*tater* Ionia Smyrna Ae20 Coin Apollo & Homer 190 BcZengid - Ae Dirham Of Al Mu'azzam Mahmud (ah605-648) - Scarce425-350 Bc Cilicia, Celenderis Ancient Greek Silver Stater Ngc Ms 3/5 5/5, Mint!Ad 69-79 Vespasian Ancient Greek Roman Silver Tetradrachm FAncient Roman Gold Aureus Emperor Aelius525-480 Bc Aegina Sea Turtle Ancient Greek Silver Stater Ngc F CountermarksJulius Caesar. 49-48 Bc. Ar Denarius. ElephantGreek Ancient Coin - Thessaly Larissan Circa 400-300 Bc -3021Undated Anonymous Silver Half-siliqua CoinCa.474-475 Ad Barbaric IМiТАТiОn Of Julius Nepos Gold Tremissis Coin Cross RevImportant Auction From 1 $ Rome Antoninus Ii Marcus Aurelius Sestertius Zengid - Ae Fals Of Al Salih Isma'il (ah569-577)Straordinary Auction From 1 $: Macedon Philip Ii Silver Tetradrachm High Grade 335-315 Bc Kingdom Of Paeonia Ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm Ngc AuCassius Silver Denarius___roman Republic___assassin Of Julius Caesar With BrutusStatue Of Goddess Juno As Described From Cicery. Gorgeous Silver Roman DenariusHadrian - Sestertius, Rev. Hadrian & Africa - Rare!Beautiful Ancient Greece Ptolemy Ii Silver Tetradrachm! Amazing Provenance! Nr!480-430 Bc Bruttium, Croton Ancient Greek Silver Stater Ngc Vf 4/5 4/5Owl And Hera.exceptional .very Rare Greek Coin. Havy Siglos. Similar Sold 3000.Roman Republic Mn. Acilius Glabrio 49 Bc Ar Denarius Ngc Ch Au 34531Imperial Roman Coin Silver Siliqua Of Gratian SuperbYear 4 First Jewish Revolt 1/8th Shekel Hendin 1369 Nice Centering & Full LegendHerod Antipas Ae Full Denomination, Virtually Complete: 'herod Tetrarch' H_1203- Ancient Greece Unknown. Macedonia Thraco? Quadripartite Weight:17.2g Dia:33mmCa 100 B.c. Roman Republic M. Serveili 1 Denarius Silver Craw#317/1 21mm 3.6gCa.336-323 Bc Alexander Iii The Great Greek Silver Tetradrachm Coin Zeus ReverseGreek Macedonian Kings Alexander Iii (the Great) 336-323 Bc Ar Tetradrachm Ng...New Straordinary Auction From 1 $: Augustus Selucis And Pieria Rare Tetradrachm47-16 Bc Philip Philadelphus Ancient Greek Roman Silver Tetradrachm Ngc VfBruttium, Rhegium Late 5th To Early 4th Century B.c. Silver Litra Ngc Au Rare!Greek Gold Coin Asia Minor Mint Phocaic 1/24 Stater 6th Century Bc (1622-)Republic Roman Coin Silver Denarius - L Flaminius Cilo 108 Bc- Superb Sicily Gela. Ca. 490-475 Bc Silver Ar DidrachmRoman Silver Denarius Coin Of Julius Caesar 44 Bc250-220 Bc Lycia, Phaselis Ancient Greek Silver Stater Ngc Vf, Rare Issue!Gordian Iii 238-244 A.d. Ae Sestertius -roman Empire- Ngc Choice Very FineLot Of 2 Denarius Coins, Septimus Severus, And Trajan. Larger Is 20 Mm.Ptolemy I Soter As King Av Gold Hemidrachm Triobol 305/4–283 Bc*tater* 4 Very Choice Greek Coins In Silver And Bronze 20 To 25 Millimeters86 Bc Anonymous Ancient Roman Republic Apollo/jupiter Silver Denarius Ngc VfBrutus Denarius. Babylon Junia, Circa 42 Bc. Very Rare Ancient Roman Silver CoinAugustus Denarius Bull ReverseCa.359-336 Bc Philip Ii Greek Silver Tetradrachm Coin Youth Reverse*tater* Roman Imperial Silver Denarius Of Severus Alexander FidesAncient Greek Bronze Coin Cleopatra Vii 51-30 1.7gr 14.1mmLots Of 50 Uncleaned Ae3 Ae2 Maiorina Follis - W Rarity - Ancient Roman Coin #03Imperial Roman Coin Silver Denarius Of CaracallaAntique Roman / Greek Silver Coin, 10k Gold Ingot? Other Roman CoinsRoman Imperial Probus Ad 276-282 Bronze-silvered AntoninianusGreek Macedonia Alexander Iii 336-323 Bc Ar Drachma Ngc Ch Xf 336344th Century Bc Thrace Ancient Greek Gorgoneion/anchor Silver Drachm Ngc Xf336-323 Bc Alexander Iii The Great Ancient Greek Silver Tetradrachm Ngc F