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
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
Roman Imperial Coins
Roman Provincial Coins