What you should know before diving into the uncertain world of collecting ancient coins. How to buy, sell and what to watch out for.
. Ancient Coins are one of my favorite to collect. This is the only non U.S. Coin ill spend much time on. Foreign coins are typically worthless except for their weight in either gold or silver. Ancient coins attract many different numismatists due to some being well over 2,000 years old. For me a coin this old is hard to resist. I love the idea of holding something that was around during the beginning of mankind. You can buy these coins all cleaned up and pretty and know exactly what you are getting, Or what i like to do is buy Uncleaned lots that have been discovered, dug up, and then bagged in dirty undistinquishable clusters, and then sold to collectors. The thing about buying them this way is you have no idea what your getting, the coins are so encased in layers of dirt and grime from being buried so long neither the seller nor the buyer can make out any details or identifying marks. So you take the risk of getting low grade bronze coins with no detail left (basicaly a blank "copperish" looking disk) or you can hit the jack pot and get a pile of silver, possibly even gold, extremely rare, mint condition (mint condition in terms of ancient coins that is) coins lost by some great roman empire! Now I admit that may be some wishful thinking though dreaming big never hurt anyone. My experience buying uncleaned lots like this has actually been very positive. I've never had a batch of completely bad coins, in fact I normally find most coins are in beautiful shape. Most times I'm able to compare pictures online and discover the date & origins of the coins. I mainly find bronze or copper composition, about 1 in every 15 coins are silver, which can be extremely valuable. I've never found any gold coins. I believe this is due to the fact that gold does not tarnish so I would imagine a shiny gold coin really sticks out among the crusty dirt caked ones and would be picked out quickly by whomever is excavating them. From the coins I've been able to identify and do some research on ( about half of them) I found the average date range of coins I was receiving to be 200-300 A.D. that's over 1800 years old! Its uncanny to research a coin and trace it to the year and area that a chunk of metal was heated and hammered into a chiselled imprint on a rock becoming a form of currency. I read about events that took place during that time period in that place, hold the coin and wonder what it was used for? Who held it? The historical value of these coins is far more valuable than any dollar amount to me. My next post on ancient coins will be on cleaning techniques, tools also a guide on spotting fakes and where to buy.