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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


Nero 54-68

Nero, the ancient Roman ruler more formally called Imperator Nero Cladius Divi Claudius filius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, ruled from the year of 54 until 68. Having ascended to power in macabre circumstances — his mother murdered her emperor husband, Claudius, specifically so her son Nero could be emperor — Nero himself died violently, committing suicide after ruling almost the exact amount of time that his stepfather had. Nero coins for sale at any one time may include not only authentic coins, but modern replicas of various types, so most buyers can usually find what they are looking for in the sales listings. Nero was the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which had also included Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius. In the months following Nero's death, from 68 to 69, there would be four different emperors, three of whom died during that single year, including Nero's successor Galba


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...

Triens and quincunx coins

Triens and quincunx ancient Roman coins are available on the marketplace these days far less than most other types of ancient Roman coins. While you can usually find some triens coins here and there — including some in pretty good condition that may not cost an arm and a leg — quincunx coins are scarcer. Hunting for good copies of these types of coins for your own collection can be a fun and rewarding challenge, if an occasionally long and frustrating one


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


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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