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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...

Domitian 81-96

Domitian (Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus) was the son of Vespasian and the brother of Titus, both of whom were emperors of Rome before Domitian took power in AD 81 upon Titus' death from illness. Ruling for fifteen years, Domitian had several coins issued and it is relatively easy to find at least a few interesting authentic Domitian coins for sale at any one time. In addition to genuine Domitian coins, some buyers may also be interested in latter-day reproductions. Check the current listings. Domitian was murdered in 96, after which Nerva took over as emperor for a short time


Nerva 96-98

Marcus Cocceius Nerva Caesar Augustus, known to history as Nerva, ruled the Roman Empire from the year 96 until 98, when he died naturally (as opposed to murder or suicide) and was succeeded by the legendary Trajan. Nerva was part of a group that murdered the previous emperor, Domitian, an act that brought an end to the Flavian Dynasty. Nerva coins are usually available from online sales listings. Collectors can find authentic Nerva coins as well as modern reproductions


Antoninus Pius 138-161

After the death of Hadrian in 138 AD, his adopted son Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, known more simply as Antoninus Pius or just Antoninus, became the emperor of the Roman Empire. Antoninus Pius ruled for a period of twenty-two years, the longest-lasting ruler since Augustus at the very beginning of the imperial era. Antoninus' reign saw several types of collectible coins issued. Buyers and collectors can sort through the listings of Antoninus Pius coins now for sale and check the current selection, which changes often. When Antoninus Pius died, his adopted son Lucius Verus became a co-emperor alongside Marcus Aurelius


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...

Semis coins

The semis ("SEH-miss")) coin was worth half of an as, and was first made in 280 BC. After the Roman Republic came to an end, the semis was continued into the Roman Empire. However, it was never a regularly-issued coin, and the production of semisses ended with the reign of Hadrian (117 — 138 AD). Note that the translation for semis in Italian is semisse; look for that term in sales listings which may include Italian-speaking sellers


As coins

A little information about as coins (plural: asses) is here in this section of; we have split them up between Roman Republic asses and Roman Empire asses. Note that an ancient Republican as may be more scarce, but not necessarily more expensive, than an imperial as. The as was first produced in 280 BC, and around 221 BC became the standard denomination in Rome — other coins made after this date were usually named by their worth in asses. (For example, the word "semis" means "half", and the coin called semis was worth half an as.) The coins were made until Diocletian's coinage reforms in the 280s AD. Early asses showed the two-faced god Janus; later as coins showed the emperor's bust. "As" in other languagesIn most languages that might be found in as for sale listings, the word is the same as English; an exception is Italian, where it is asse


Antoninianus coins

The so-called antoninianus coin was first made of silver, and later bronze. It was worth 2 denarii, or 32 asses; it first issued in 215 AD. Despite its relatively short history (Diocletian discontinued the antoninianus in the 280s) these coins are numerous on the market today, and you can easily browse the antoniniani for sale here and pick out the ones that you personally fancy. Have fun! "Antoninianus" translated for buyersWhen looking through antoninianus coins for sale listings, note that non-English speaking sellers may refer to this type of coin in their native language. Some of the more popular ones are: French: antoninien Spanish: antoniniano Italian: antoniniano German: antoninian


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