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Ancient Roman coin collecting

Sestertii, antoniniani, denarii, dupondii and others. Get information about collecting ancient republican and imperial Roman coinage.

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Collectible coins discussed here come from the Roman Republic (mostly after 280 BC) and the Roman Empire, until Diocletian's coinage reforms were instituted in the 280s AD. We also feature tips for getting modern reproductions of coins, if you want a cleaner but newer piece to display in your own collection.

Find useful information such as our overview of the different coin types from both the republican and imperial eras, and our tips on how to avoid accidentally buying a forged Roman coin.

Collecting ancient Roman coins is a great way not only to learn about history, but to have a real, tangible piece of it to hold in your hands. Feel the past come truly alive with the endlessly fascinating and absorbing hobby!

Coins by ruler

Quite a few ancient Roman rulers minted their own coins, and different rulers saw different types of coins, and several made changes to the coinage system that lasted a short or (in some cases) a long time. Check our subcategories to find the ruler you're looking for...

Lucius Verus 161-169

Following the death of Antoninus Pius in AD 161, the Roman Empire acquired two emperors who ruled jointly: Marcus Aurelius and Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus, better known as Lucius Verus. Both men were adopted sons of Antoninus Pius. Lucius Verus died of the plague in 169, after which Marcus Aurelius ruled alone until his own death in 180. There are several coins of Lucius Verus available for sale and collectors should keep an eye on the current selection, which changes often


Galba 68-69

Emperor Galba, a.k.a. Imperator Servius Galba Caesar Augustus, came to power in ancient Rome after Nero's suicide in June 68. Galba was himself killed the following January, when Otho began a reign that would last a mere three months; despite Galba's short reign, there were at least two coins made reflecting his time as emperor. Check to see what authentic ancient Galba coins are for sale now, and also be aware that you may be able to find some modern replicas of Galba coins


Marcus Aurelius 161-180

Marcus Aurelius (Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus) became the emperor of the Roman Empire on the same day that his brother Lucius Verus did, in March 161. Their father, Antoninus Pius, had died, paving the way for the siblings. They co-ruled until Lucius Verus' death in 169; Marcus Aurelius carried on alone. In 177, Marcus Aurelius again gained a familial co-ruler: his son Commodus, who would himself become sole ruler when his father Marcus Aurelius died in 180. There are quite a few different coins available to collectors who are interested in Marcus Aurelius coins specifically. These may include, at any one time, various authentic coins from Marcus Aurelius' time both as a co-emperor with Lucius Verus or Commodus, and his time as a lone ruler. Modern reproductions may also fit other collectors' needs better


Coins by type

There were several different types of coins used at various times in ancient Rome. In addition to the sestertius, for which this site is named, there were others, each made of certain metals and with certain values. Although the actual value, and chemistry, of some of these types of coins changed, they are still grouped together by their relative concurrent value. See the subcategories on this page to find specific coin type info. See ancient Roman coins listed by ruler here...

Quinarius coins

Quinarius ancient Roman coins feature in the background of many coin collections — less popular and numerous than other ancient coins, quinarii have carved out a subset of collector fans who watch the sales listings for new items for sale. Watch also for the variations including quinarius argenteus and quinarius aureus


Denarius coins

Produced in great numbers for several hundred years, denarii are arguably the most popular and most numerous ancient Roman coins among collectors today, along with the sestertius and dupondius coins. Your denarius collection can be structured however you want — there are great denarii for sale no matter what your personal collection style may be


Aureus coins

Many aurei for sale these days are modern reproductions, which is the only way most collectors will ever have an ancient Roman aureus coin in their collection. This is certainly a valid way to do it, since authentic aurei are very rare and generally reserved for the most deep-pocketed individuals and organizations. If you are looking for a replica aureus, note that such copies should be clearly marked, in the listing and sometimes on the coin itself. But yes, there are also a few actual authentic aureus coins for sale, and if you are in the market for one it is worth watching online sales listings


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