Building an Ancient Greek Coin Collection
Coins from Ancient Greece are some of the most sought after items for coin collectors around the world. Collectors take pride in the stunning edge-work on the coins. Portraits of leaders and Greek icons of a long ago time still carry their detail centuries later. Greek coin owners also can find enjoyment in the history and rarity of their collections, some coins date back thousands of years.
Museums around the world have vast collections of valuable and ancient Greek coins. The American Numismatic Society collection holds an impressive coin collection which features over 100,000 Greek coins. The Greeks would bury money in order to save. This results in new coins being unearthed regularly throughout the old Greek empire, lots of exciting opportunities for collectors.
Greek coinage can be divided into four distinct time periods, the Archaic, the Classical, the Hellenistic and the Roman period. Each era carries some noteworthy history and coins. Coins from ancient Greece tell the history of one of the world’s greatest civilization, spanning more than ten centuries critical to modern history. Coins were made of materials such as gold, electrum and bronze.
Many collectors would argue that the high standard of artwork on ancient Greek coins was never duplicated by another civilization. Even after thousands of years the coins still carry striking artwork. Coins from the Sicilian area (fifth through third century BC) are often recognized for their artwork, while other experts believe coinage from the Hellenistic monarchs to be high points in Greek coin artwork. Both periods coins can carry strong values.
Symbols on the coins varied from region to region. Coins found in today’s Afghanistan will vary greatly from coins unearthed in Athens. Images of Rhodes, Nike, Thebes and many other storied figures are stamped in coins. The Greeks were one of the first civilizations to issue commemorative coins. These special coins were issued to celebrate a military victory, or an achievement such as a scientific discovery. In a time before newspapers, these coins served as a way to spread a political message throughout the civilization.
Collectors will be the first to say that Greek coins are different from any other ancient civilization. There are usually no dates or mint marks on the coins and the coins are rarer (and therefore usually more valuable). It’s fair to say that collecting ancient Greek coins will cost some money, but beginners can save by starting with lower cost bronze issues. Purchasing coins of lesser grades is also a way to save money in the beginning. Auctions such our Toronto coin auction can be an excellent source for any type of Greek coin collection. There are lots of excellent books and online resources that provide information about starting an ancient Greek coin collection.
Coins were handmade with care, not machine minted like other civilizations. This makes every coin truly unique.
It’s important to focus your collection on coins that interest you. It’s best to have a couple of coins that you really enjoy, not a bunch of coin they don’t interest you.
Collecting ancient Greek coins opens the door to some exciting experiences. Each coin tells a story, allowing you to explore the history of one of history’s most important and fascinating civilizations. There are coins that fit the needs of both new and experienced collectors.
At the Auction Network, we too are coin lovers. We take a lot of pride in the great selection of ancient Greek coins we offer. These coins are featured regularly in our weekly online and live auctions. We look forward to seeing you at the auction!