Ancient coins. Themes for collections.

What should I collect?

There is no "should" in ancient-coin collecting. Look around at ancient coins a while, read up a bit on them, and then collect what interests you.

This page has two goals:
    1)  Give beginners an idea of the wide variety of ancient coins and potential collection themes.
    2)  List reference works collectors could consult to learn more, or much more, about those themes
Click the image to see a list of relevant reference works. If that doesn't work, it simply means I have not yet assembled a linked page of reference works.  

Here is a CoinTalk thread with advice for beginners:

and another thread about typical beginners' worries when just getting started:


Recommendation:  Visit the ancients forum of, , and see what people post that interests you. Here is a link to a very long thread in which people posted coins that fit various collecting themes:

Most ancient-coin collectors do not focus narrowly. Most buy anything that strikes their fancy in addition to having some theme they prefer. Do not think you must eventually pick a collecting theme. These are just to give you ideas and references.

Forum Ancient Coins has a site where members post their collections. To see many real collections,
     look here

These coins are not for sale. If you want to see coins for sale, look at my site, Augustus Coins, here or this list of ancient-coin dealers

Here are some theme possibilities.  [For the key to abbreviations, see below. "#" gives a rough estimate of the number of types a serious collector might seek.]
Click on the image to go to a page listing related reference works (if the reference-work page has been posted--some have not). See the end of this page for more links.

The portrait-series of the Roman emperors:

PhilipPhilip  A profile portrait of emperor
  Philip I "The Arab", 244-249 AD.
  A silver "antoninianus" or simply, a "radiate". 22 mm. Common.
  ADVENTVS AVGG, Philip riding horse left, raising right hand and holding scepter in left arriving (ADVENTVS) at Rome.

   # There are about 70 senior emperors who were recognized at Rome and 200 Romans with portraits on imperial coins including wives, sons, and usurpers.

Reference:  The subject is large, but there are single-volume books that have coins of each emperor, such as David Sear's Roman Coins and their Values, 4th edition. (The more-recent edition is in five volumes instead of one.)  [No link to a reference works--the subject is too vast.]

Here is a list of emperors and their relatives listed in order of availability from Ras Suarez (based on his book ERIC II) and used with permission. 

Women, Roman:

   Lucilla, wife of emperor Lucius Verus and sister of Commodus, who reigned 180-193 AD.
   Silver denarius.  19-18 mm.
   IVNONI LVCINAE, "Juno, bringer of light"
   Juno seated left holding flower and a child

   # dozens of Roman women with hundreds of types  
   General catalogs of Roman coins include women. 
   [Link to reference works.]

Women, Royal Greek:

   The famous Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII, of Ptolemaic Egypt), d. 30 BC
   26 mm. An "80 drachm" copper piece.
   Her portrait right. Eagle standing left.

   Book Ref:
  Portraits of Royal Ladies on Greek Coins, by. L. Forrer.

   # 225 types in the cited book
    [Link to reference works.]

Beautiful Greek coins from City-States:

  Corinth, silver stater, 21 mm. 
  A lovely rendition of Pegasus flying left
  and Athena facing left in a Corinthian helmet (tipped back)
  with a cornucopia with two wheat ears behind.

  # thousands of types and hundreds of cities

  Book reference:  David Sear's Greek Coins and their Values in two volumes. Volume I covers Europe and volume II covers Asia. There are many books on Greek coins that have more attractive photos and more discussion, but they do not attempt to show a little bit of everything the way Sear's book does. 
   [Link to reference works.]

Roman Republican denarii:
   A Roman Repubican denarius of the moneyer C. Minucius Augurinus
   c. 135 BC, 18 mm
   with helmeted head of Roma right, ROMA behind, X below chin.
   A representation of the bronze column erected outside the Porta Trigemina to
   L.Minucius Augurinus in commemoration of his successful attempt in B.C. 439,
   when prefect of the corn market, to reduce the price of corn, as the people were
   suffering from a grievous famine. This coin honors the family of the moneyer
   by commemorating an event in the distant past.

   # c. 500 Republican denarius types
   Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume I, by David Sear
   [Link to reference works.]

Greek Sicily:

Sicily, Gela. 490/485 - 480/475 BC.
19 mm. 
Helmeted naked rider on prancing horse right, wielding spear
forepart of man-headed bull right GEΛA  (the city name in Greek) down right
  # c. 45 cities, each with many types, some of which are fabulous and the most artistic coins of all time
  Book Ref: Hoover, Handbook of Coins of Sicily
   [Link to reference works.]


Constantine and his Family:

ConstantineConstantine   Constantine (Augustus, 307-337) struck as Caesar 306-307
   29-28 mm. A "follis".
   Struck at Trier (PTR mintmark) with the common
   GENIO POPVLI ROMANI reverse, with Genius standing left holding
   patera and cornucopia.
   Constantine minted for his mother, wife, and four sons, as well as
   more-distant relatives. One or another ruled until 363 AD.

   # nine relatives on coins, hundreds of types, most of which are very inexpensive

Book reference: RIC VII covers to the death of Constantine in 337 and RIC VIII covers until 364. 
   [Link to reference works.]


   Parthian King Mithradates II, 123-88 BC.
   on a silver drachm, 21-19 mm
   The Parthians ruled the region of modern Iran and Iraq
   from the third century BC to the third century. AD.

    #  46 rulers, each with drachms and tetradrachms
   and 91 main silver types, not counting mint varieties
   Web Ref:
   Book Ref:  The Coinage of Parthia, by David Sellwood
   Book Ref:  Parthian Coins and History, by Fred Shore
   [Link to reference works.]



  Sasanian King Khusru, 590 - 628 AD
  Silver drachm, 32 mm.
  The most common Sasanian coin ruler.
  The reverse type of two attendants on either side of the fire altar
  of their religion is used by every king for centuries.

   #  35 kings, most with similar coins from many mints and dates.
   Book Ref: Sasanian Coins by Sellwood, Whitting & Williams
   [Link to reference works.]

Byzantine (copper or gold or silver, or all three):

JJ  Byzantine emperor, Justinian, 527-565 AD
  A copper 40-nummia piece.
  M = 40 in Greek, for the denomination
  ANNO down the left and XXXI down the right for year 31 of his reign:
  Mint of Cyzicus: KYZ in exergue

  Web Reference: "Introduction to Byzantine coins" (my site)
  Another web Ref:
  Book Ref:  Byzantine Coins and their Values, by David Sear
  Byzantine Coins (the book, not the pamphlet) by Philip Grierson
   [Link to reference works.]

  # 2600, not including date varieties (which are numerous)

The "Twelve Caesars":
   Nero (54-68 AD), the sixth of the 12 Caesars set,
   which begins with Julius Caesar and ends with Domitian.
   A silver denarius, 19-18 mm.

   # 12 rulers, each with many types
   Book ref:  Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume I, by David Sear
    [Link to reference works.]


A particular Roman emperor, any emperor, e.g.  Probus, Augustus, Trajan, Gordian III, or Maximinus Thrax (The Giant)

Probus  Roman emperor Probus, 276-282 AD.
  23 mm. A surface-silvered "antoninianus" or "radiate" or aurelianus" 
  /SOLI INVICTO, facing quadriga with Sol, the sun god, driving
  Bust left, holding spear in right and shield in left, with crested helmet.
  Probus is famous for issuing many attractive varieties of obverse bust.

  # depends upon the emperor, of course. For this emperor, Probus
  there are hundreds (really thousands) of obviously different varieties

  Links to web sites emphasizing particular emperors:
  e.g. For Maximinus Thrax, the Giant:

  [No link to reference works, however here are links to sale-catalogs for a few emperors: ]

  #  several to dozens to hundreds to thousands, depending upon the emperor and how much minor varieties interest you.

"Biblical" Coins (Coins with some connection to the Bible):
TyreTyre  A "shekel of Tyre" which has been thought to be the type of the
   "30 pieces of silver" paid to Judas for betraying Jesus to the Romans.
   25 mm.
   Laureate head of Melquart right
   Eagle left
   Various symbols in the field, including the date PΞ = 160 of the era of Tyre = 34/5 AD.

  #  several hundred

  Book Ref:  Guide to Biblical Coins, by David Hendin (5th or 6th edition)   [Link to reference works.]

Early Christian symbolism on Roman coins:

C2  Emperor Constantine II, son of Constantine
  the first emperor to promote Christianity
  Note the chi-rho symbol, a monogram of the first two letters (X P) of "Christ" in Greek
  on the standard on the reverse.

  Web Ref:
  [That web page has references, but this page you are on is not linked directly to other reference works. I am unaware of sale catalogs with a significant emphasis on Roman coins with Christian symbolism.] 

Roman Provincial (= Greek Imperial) Coins (perhaps one from each city that issued them:

A large (33 mm) provincial coin of Septimius Severus (193-211)
struck at Antioch in Pisidia
with the local god "mên" on the reverse, with a lunar (moon) crescent behind his shoulders and a small rooster at his feet left.

Provincials often have reverse types of local relevance.

Here is a long CoinTalk thread on provincials:

# over 600 cities listed here:
in a spreadsheet.

  [Link to reference works.]
  There are very many reference works on the web, but somewhat scattered about. This is not the easiset subject to research, but it is rewarding. 

The Seleucid Kings of Syria:

A3  The Seleucids ruled part of Alexander the Great's empire after his death.
  King Antiochus III, 223-187 BC.
  Tetradrachm. 27 mm.
  His head right
  Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding arrow and resting left on bow.

  Book Ref:  Handbook of Syrian Coins: Royal and Civic Issues, by Oliver Hoover.

  #  35 rulers and wives, more than 1000 types

    [No link to reference works. There are many.]

Alexander the Great:

A3A3   Alexander the Great, 336-323 BC, lifetime issue
   Silver tetradrachm. Babylon mint.
   26 mm. Thick.
   Head of Hercules in lion-ski headdress right
   Zeus seated left holding eagle and long scepter.
   Down the right side: AΛEΞANΔPOY  ("of Alexander")
   The monograms in the reverse field and below the seat
   help identify the mint.
   # This basic type, with more than 1000 variants, was issued from
      many mints over the course of two centuries.
  [No link to reference works. There are very many.]


Crusadercrusader  Crusader in helmet left, with cross and chain mail shirt
  King Bohemund IV, 1203-1216 and 1218-1223
  Struck at Antioch
  A thin silver penny, 18 mm.
  His name in medieval font around
  Cross in circle, city name in medieval font around

  Book Ref: Coins of the Crusader States, second edition, by Malloy et al., #76a, page 219
  Web Reference: "Coins of the First Crusade (1098-1131)"  (my page)
   [Link to reference-work page.]
   # 600

Turkoman Figural Bronze (Arabic, Foes of the Crusaders):

Turkoman Figure with sword and holding a severed head
 (possibly the astrological Mars in Aries)
 /Legend in Arabic
 31 mm.
 Arab ruler Husam-ad Din Yuluq-Arslan, struck 596 AH = 1199/1200 AD.
   Most Arabic coins have only legends, not pictures, but during the crusades a few dynasties issued "figural" coins. Many of the types are inspired by earlier Byzantine types and many have astrological allusions.  

  Book Reference:  Turkoman Figural Bronze Coins and their Iconography, by Spengler and Sayles, in two volumes. (A third volume which was to complete the series never appeared.)
   Web reference: "Turkoman Figural Bronze Coins" (my pages)
   [Link to reference-work page.]

  #  more than 100

Greek AE (copper coins, "AE" refers to any base metal alloy with copper, often pure copper):
Large and thick coin of Syracuse, Sicily. 344-336 BC
29 mm. 30.64 grams.
Time of Timoleon from Corinth, third republic
Head of Athena left, in Corinthian helmet tipped back
8-pointed star pattern between two dolphins

Some Greek AE are large, many are medium-sized, and many are small or even tiny (10 mm or less) and it is difficult to assemble a good set of reference works.

#  thousands  
[Link to reference-work page.]



Here is a long list (2000 entries! Created by Ken Steiglitz) of all Greek issuing authorities: 
as a pdf. You can get it from me as a spreadsheet by e-mailing me and asking for it.


Commodus   Roman emperor Commodus, 180-193 AD
   24 mm, thick. Base silver tetradrachm
   minted at Alexandria, Egypt, with the image of a cargo ship and
   the famous lighthouse of Alexandria.
   Struck year 29 (KΘ in exergue).  Emmett 2542, Sear 2.5927

   Ref catalog:  CNG 73  (2006, Sept. 13) 1130 ancients, with a collection of 98 ships on coins
  [Link to reference-work page.]

   #  200?

The tetrarchy (284-305 AD, Diocletian, Maximianus, Constantius I, and Galerius):

Diocletian    A very common "follis" or "nummus" (27 mm) of Diocletian (284-305).
    (This one is thinly surface-silvered, as were all originally,
    but it is uncommon for any silver to remain)
    Diocletian introduced this new, larger, denomination c. 293 AD.
    This is, by far, the most common reverse:
    GENIO POPVLI ROMANI  = the Genius (spirit) of the people of Rome
    #  Four emperors, dozens of types each

   Book Ref:  Roman Bronze Coins from Paganism to Christianity, 284-364 AD, by Victor Failmezger.
   Web reference: "Follis types of the First Tetrarchy, 293-305" (My site, with links to other pages)

       [No link to reference works.]


AthensA tetradrachm of Athens, struck c. 449-413 BC.  23 mm and very thick.
With a small "test cut" at 11:00 to cut through the surface to test the silver content.

Athena in a crested helmet right.
Owl standing right, head facing.

#  Half a dozen denominations, several style and type changes over the centuries, but remarkably few widely different types. Athens, conservatively, used the same type for very long period of time.

Book Ref:  Handbook of Coins of Northern and Central Greece, by Oliver Hoover, lists
over 200 types, most very rare and seldom seen. The number of types normally seen is far less,
unless you count varieties of "New Style" tetradrachms which he did not.
The "New Style" coins of Athens come in hundreds of varieties.
[No links to reference works. There are many.]


Animals (on Greek coins or on Roman coins):

camel   The Romans and Greeks depicted many exotic animals on coins
   This one is a camel on a coin of Roman emperor Trajan, 98-117 AD
   who annexed "Arabia" (now southern Jordan) and used the camel as a
   symbol of it.

   # thousands of types, c. 50 different animal species, more if sea creatures are included.
  Book Reference:  Ancient Animals and their Coins, by Jasper Burns.

  [No link to reference works.]

  Maroneia, a city in Thrace, c. 495-449 BC.
  This is a Greek silver drachm, 17 mm, from
  with a horse protome (front half) and a ram's head

   #  Horses are extremely common on ancient coins, both Greek and Roman.
    Many are galloping free, and even more have riders or are pulling chariots.

   [No link to reference works.]
          Dogs, Canines
   Roman Republican denarius. 19-18 mm.
   Moneyer C. Postumius. 74 BC.
   Bust of Diana right, with bow and quiver
   hound running right, spear below.
   The hound accompanies Diana on her hunts.
   C.POSTVMI in exergue
   # dozens
    [No link to reference works.]

   Stater (or Shekel) of Alexander the Great
   a lifetime issue struck at Babylon just before he died in 323 BC.
   22 mm and very thick
   lion walking left
   Baal seated left, holding scepter

   #  Hundreds. Lions are common on both Greek and Roman coins.
    [No link to reference works.]

  Stater of Kroton, in southern Italy, c. 480-420 BC
  23 mm.
  a tripod caldron, stork to right
  incuse tripod cauldron
  #  a dozen species, hundreds of types.
  Eagles are extremely common on ancient Greek and Roman coins
  and could make a theme all by themselves.

    [No link to reference works.]

bwelephantsA drachm of Roman Alexandria, Egypt
struck under emperor Trajan (98-117)
Emperor in a quadriga of elephants

# a hundred?

Here is a CoinTalk thread about elephants:

    [No link to reference works.]

The "zoo" series of Gallienus (Roman emperor 253-268):

stagstag     Roman emperor Gallienus, 253-268
   21 mm. An "antoninianus" or, more simply, a "radiate" (from the radiate crown on his head)
   Stag standng left

   This series includes both real and mythological animals.
   # 28 if you count left facing and right facing as different, 54 if you include varieties of stance.

   Book Ref:  The Cunetio Treasure, by Besly and Bland

   Web Ref:

      [No link to reference works.]


Facing heads on Greek coins:

   City of Larissa, Greece. 19-18 mm.
   Facing head of Larissa, slightly left
   Horse about to roll

   # 363 in the cited book, and many others in small fractional types.

   Book Ref:  Facing Heads of Ancient Greek Coins, by Agnes Baldwin
    [No link to reference works.]

Architectural (Roman imperial or Roman provincial):

Trajan   The column of Roman emperor Trajan, 98-117
   depiciting his Dacian wars on a huge spiral frieze,
   on a denarius, 20-18 mm.
   The column is still standing in Rome.

   Book Ref:  The Monuments of Ancient Rome as Coin Types, by Philip Hill
   Book Ref:  Coins and Their Cities: Architecture on the Ancient Coins of Greece, Rome, and Palestine,
   by Martin Price and Bluma Trell.
   Web Ref: 

     [Link to reference works.]

  # 203 in Hill, which is devoted to the city of Rome alone. 517 in Price and Trell, which is a selection including Roman provincial coins, on which architectural types are more common.

Roman Alexandria, Egypt

A tetradrachm of Alexandria, Egypt, minted under Hadrian, showing him being received by (the personification of) Alexandria on his visit of year 15 (L IE).
24 mm. Year 15 = AD 130/131.

This is a very popular series covering all the emperors up to the first Tetrarchy (c. 297). 

Book Reference:  Emmett, Alexandrian Coins. A complete list of over 4500 types, many of which were issued in several different years. 


Web reference:  (There are many, but one good one is)

  [No link to reference works. There are many.]

Any Particular Greek City:

Akragas in Sicily (a.k.a. Agrigentum in Roman times)
Many Akragas types have an eagle or two eagles on one side and a crab on the other.
This one is large, 27 mm and 23.84 grams.
This coin displays five types of seafood: fish, crab, eel (in the claws), octopus, conch.

There are many good books on coins of Sicily.
Reference book:  Handbook of Coins of Sicily, by Oliver Hoover.
# There are about 2000 cities that issued Greek coins. Some issued fewer than 5 types and others hundreds.  
    [Link to reference works.]

Greek Kings:

Ptolemy  Ptolemy I, King of Egypt 305-283 BC
  Struck at Alexandria.
  Tetradrachm. 27 mm. 14.21 grams.
  His bust right/Ptolemaic eagle standing left on a thunderbolt.
  "of King Ptolemy" in Greek.

  Book Reference:  Royal Greek Portrait Coins, by Edward Newell
  is an excellent, inexpensive, and thin reference work with substantial stories of the rulers and one coin of each ruler pictured.

  #  c. 200 kings for all dynasties and regions. Specializing by dynasty or region is common
  (see "Seleucid Kings" and "Alexander the Great" above)

  [No link to reference works.]

Specific Victories:

Marcus Aurelius, 161-180 AD
defeats the Sarmatians
DE SARM in exergue,
TRP XXXI IMP VIII COS II PP around a pile of arms
M ANTONINVS AVG GERM SARM around his portrait
Silver denarius, 20-18 mm.

  # hundreds, but specializing by emperor is common. 
  Augustus, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Gallienus and others have numerous types from the theme.
Book reference:  Roman Historical Coins, by Clive Foss, lists by date all Roman events (including victories) that are mentioned on coins and for each date lists the coins that reference them. 335 pages with one or two coins illustrated per page.

  [No link to reference works.]



   Bronze of Carthage, c. 300-264 BC.
   19-18 mm.
   head of Tanit left/horse head right

   # a hundred types, most somewhat similar to each other,
  not counting the coins of Roman and Byzantine Carthage
  (It became a mint again in late Roman times c. 296 under Diocletian.)

  [No link to reference works.]

"Campgates".  Mostly late Roman copper coins with city gates:

ConCon  Constantine (307-337)
  A lightly surface-silvered AE of 18 mm
  Camp gate (city gate), struck at Cyzicus
  (mintmark SM K B where K is for Kyzicos, B is for the second workshop,
  and SM abbreviates Sacra Moneta, Sacred Mint)
  These are extremely common.
   #  a few types for several emperors, but also a dozen mints, and hundreds of varieties in this time period
  and other, similar, reverses in other time periods. This example depicts 8 tiers of stones;
  some collectors even care about the number of tiers which can vary from 6 to 16.

   Web Ref:

    [No link to reference works.]

A Type Set for emperors Valentinian (364-375) and later:

Valens  Valens, 365-378 (Valens is most famous for losing the disastrous "Battle of Adrianople".)
  An "AE3." 17 mm.
  emperor dragging captive right, holding standard in left
  ANTS = Antioch mint, 6th workshop

 #  From Valentinian through Theodosius II (364-450 AD) there were 10 emperors and a few wives and usurpers, 83 copper types, each issued by 1-5 emperors.

  Web Ref:
  Book Ref:  RIC IX covers most of this period and RIC X covers the rest.

  [No link to reference works. See that site for some references. Very few sale catalogs emphasize this period because the coins are too inexpensive.]

River Gods:

  Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD)
  Hadrian traveled widely and commemorated his visits to various regions of the empire
  with coins illustrating and naming the region. In this case, the river god NILVS is named.
  He reclines with a crocodile left below, reeds in front, holding a cornucopia.
   # dozens of imperial types with river gods and hundreds of provincial types

    Sale Catalog Reference: Helios 3 (2009, April 29-30) an amazing collection of 482 imperial and provincial coins with river gods
    [No link to other reference works.]

Victory (images of the personification):

   Victory walking left, holding wreath and palm branch over left shoulder
   on a denarius, 19 mm, of Caracalla (198-217 AD) with reverse
   VICTORIAE BRIT marking a victory in Britain.

   #  most Roman emperors, often numerous types each, and very many on provincial coins, as well as many on Greek coins.

Book reference:  Roman Historical Coins, by Clive Foss, lists by date all Roman events (including victories) that are mentioned on coins and for each date lists the coins that reference them. 335 pages with one or two coins illustrated per page.

  [No link to reference works.]

Late Roman silver coins:

MMA siliqua of Magnus Maximus (383-388)
17 mm.
Struck at Milan

# hundreds.
Book reference:  Roman Silver Coins, volume V, by Cathy King
is devoted to late Roman silver.
A web page of mine:

     [No link to reference works.]


British references:

CC   VICT BRIT in exergue on a large
   sestertius (31 mm) of Roman emperor
   Commodus (180-193 AD)
   with Victory seated right on a pile of arms and holding a shield,
   a design later adopted for English pennies.

   Many collectors in England (and elsewhere) collect coins with references to Britain.

  Book reference: Coinage in Roman Britain, by Richard Reece, is just what it says, but not a list of types that mention Britain. 
  The Coinage of Roman Britain, by Gilbert Askew, is old (1951) but a clear list of 888 types that reference Britain.


The Labors of Hercules:

   Hercules slaying the multi-headed Hydra
   on a provincial coin of Hadrianopolis
   minted for Geta (198-212 AD)
   28 mm.

   Book Ref:  Bilder der Heldenepen in der Kaiserzeitlichen Grieschischen Munzpragung,
   (in German) by Hans Voegtli

  # c. 200 in the book referenced
   [No link to other reference works]


   Apollo, healer, appealed to in the reign of Trebonianus Gallus (251-253) while the plague raged in the empire.
   Book Ref: Medicine on Ancient Greek and Roman Coins, by R. G. Penn
#  Hard to say. The book has 186 pages with maybe a coin illustrated per page, but many references are indirect and many types (e.g. SALVS) are not repeated for each issuing emperor.

The Three Graces:

3three graces
  The three graces on a provincial coin from Marcianopolis
  of Julia Domna, d. 217 AD, wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla and Geta.
   24 mm.

   Book Ref:  The Three Graces and Their Numismatic Mythology,
  by Mark A. Staal

   #  57 types and additional varieties in the book reference.

  [No link to reference works.]

Legions, numbered:

  on a denarius (19-18 mm) of Septimius Severus (193-211 AD)
  two standards and an eagle. TRP COS in exergue.
  Legion 14, Gemini, is by far the most common legion cited on denarii of Septimius Severus.
  Marc Antony and Gallienus also have series of numbered legionary denarii.

  # c. 60 (not counting provincial coins on which legion numbers occur, which are all rare.) 

  [No link to reference works.]



Tetradrachms of Roman Syria:

Philip I (244-249)
Tetradrachm of Antioch
27-25 mm and thick. Base silver.

ANTIOXIA in exergue, identifying the mint city

Book Ref: The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms from 57 BC to AD  253, by Michael Prier

#  Prier list 1743 types, most of which are minor legend varieties, from 30 cities in the region.

  [No link to other reference works. There are many.]


A Particular Denomination

A silver "argenteus" of Diocletian.
20-19 mm. 3.30 grams. RIC VI Ticinum 20a, "c. AD 300".
"XCVI" is "96" in Roman numerals and gives its value, "96 to the Roman pound of silver." 

I have seen collections with (partial) emphasis on siliquae, quadrantes, quinarii, medium bronzes, late Roman follis fractions from Trier, etc.

Web Reference:

  [Link to reference works on the argenteus denomination.]



More themes. There are many more themes that would make a good collection (most not listed here):

A mint city throughout time, e.g. Cyzicus, which began minting Greek coins before 500 BC and continued through Roman times and Byzantine times to the 600s AD.

"Celtic" imitations (from the Balkans and the Danube region)

Kings of the Bosporus

Personifications (on Roman coin reverses)

Commemoratives--issued in the name of a ruler after his death

Greek fractions (small Greek silver coins)



Dark Ages (Ostrogths, Vandals, etc.)


A particular reverse type, e.g. LIBERALITAS issued when the emperor gave donatives to the soldiers and populace of Rome

Ancient imitations


Myths (on Roman provincial coins)

Cities visited by St. Paul.  web site:

The Greek gods

VOTA coins mentioning vows of the emperor for ten years of reign

Key to abbreviations on this page above:

(Click on the image to find references on the theme.)

#               A very crude guess at the number of very distinct types to be collected, not counting varieties
mm           millimeters, the diameter of the illustrated coin. For comparison, a US dime is 18 mm, a cent 19 mm, and a quarter 24 mm. Ancient coin sizes are measured in mm, not inches.
RIC          Roman Imperial Coinage, the major reference book published in ten volumes.
Ref           Reference work by title and author, if a book. Most themes are discussed in many books and web sites. Here is a index page that may list more sources for a given topic.


Recommendation:  Visit the ancients forum of, 
or Numis Forums, 
and see what people post that interests you. Here is a link to a very long thread in which people posted coins that fit various collecting themes:

Forum Ancient Coins has a site where members are invited to post their collections. To see many real collections, look here.

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