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Roman Coins

Roman Coins are a popular choice because they follow a logical  structure reminiscent of collecting modern coins by date and mintmark, and their legends are easily read. The four  categories of Roman Coins each offer enough interest and variety for a lifetime of collecting. 

The Roman Republic

Before developing their first coins,  Romans used lumps of bronze or heavy cast bronze ingots. The first Roman coins were  the massive Aes Grave issues of the third century bc. After the second Punic War, these cumbersome cast coins were replaced by a  struck series  based on the  silver denarius, the principal denomination for the next four hundred years. Although struck bronze coins were issued during the next century, these issues ceased in the 1st century bc.  After a series of great wars, Rome's dominion extended first over Southern Italy, next the western Mediterranean, and ultimately  the entire Mediterranean world.

The Imperatorial Period

Rome's imperial conquests destabilized the Republic, which ended when after his brilliant conquest of Gaul, Gaius Julius Caesar marched on Rome, defeated his political enemies in a bloody civil war, then was assassinated in 44 bc. After another brutal civil war, his nephew Augustus emerged as the first Roman Emperor,  inaugurating two centuries of Pax Romana.

 The Empire

Denominations of Roman coins under the Empire  included regular issues of gold aureii, while the sestertius became the principal bronze issue. During the third century the economy deteriorated and the denarius was replaced by the double denarius or antoninianus. Debasement during the  second half of that century reflects the barbarian invasions that overwhelmed the Principate, which was replaced by the Tetrarchy. Diocletian reformed the coinage,  and new denominations of Roman coins, later modified by Constantine and his successors, endured until the end of the Empire. After Diocletian retired, Constantine  ended the Tetrarachy, reuniting the Empire.  Constantinople, his new capital, eclipsed Rome in 330. After Theodosius died the Empire was divided between his sons, but the West could not  cope with its economic and military problems. Germans soon poured over the borders and the Western Empire finally collapsed in 476.

Provincial Issues

Many provincial cities and Roman colonies, particularly in the Balkans and in Asia Minor, struck civic and colonial issues which are also Roman coins, issued under Imperial or Senatorial authority, although their types are different and legends are normally in Greek. The vast Roman Provincial or Greek Imperial series offers many collecting challenges since most of these issues are rare, although many are still very reasonably priced. The extensive coinage of Roman Egypt is a significant collecting field in itself.














Ancient Roman Coins   Roman Republican Coins   Imperatorial Issues   Roman Imperial Coins  Roman Provincial Coins


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