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Books About Roman and Other Ancient Coins

This booklist is taken from the author's database covering his own collection. It is by no means an exhaustive list of books on the subject! For example, no mention is made in the listing of the multitude of BMC volumes. The British Museum published catalogs of and data about the coins in their collection in hardbound reference volumes that were illustrated with the highest quality plates. The volumes covered not only the Roman Empire and several barbarian kingdoms split off from the empire later, but Roman provincial and Greek coinage. Most are available only from used booksellers or at major university libraries, but are possibly the most definitive references around.

Sear, David R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Fourth Revised Edition 1988 London: Seaby Publications Ltd., 1988.

Roman Coins and their Values by David Sear is the standard reference used by dealers and collectors all over the world. Organized chronologically by emperor, then by major type and then by reverse legend, Sear makes it quite easy to find a particular coin if you have done some basic inentification (or reasonable guessing). In addition to the catalog section, there are sections devoted to characteristics of most reverse types, a discussion of the Roman mints, an overview of the different denominations, and a look at how Roman coinage has changed from the earliest days in about 270 B. C. until the reforms of Zeno in A. D. 498, 22 years after the traditional date given for the Fall in the West. Most auction catalogs and dealer's fixed price lists list coins according to Sear number or variant on a type listed in Sear. Like most books on Roman coins, this one is not cheap. The last time the author checked, the going price was $85.00
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Seaby, H. A. Roman Silver Coins, V. I : Republic to Augustus London: Seaby Publications Ltd., 1978.

The Roman Silver Coins series, published by Seaby in five volumes is probably one of the most thorough catalogs of the Roman silver issues available to the collector and student. Unlike many scholarly references, ths coins are arranged by emperor, then alphabetically by reverse legend rather than by mint. This makes it easier for the collector or dealer to attribute a piece by first identifying the ruler and then making a reasonable guess at the reverse type or legend. Because begionning collectors are much more familiar with reverse types, especially if they purchase one of the excellent references by Klawans or Sayles the RSC series is probably the most useful tool for the collector of silver denarii or antoninianii. The downside of obtaining this series for the average collector is the high cost for these thin little volumes. Recently, the price has zoomed to $45.00 each, making a complete set sell for $225.00.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Seaby, H. A. Roman Silver Coins, V. II: Tiberius to Commodus London: Seaby Publications Ltd., 1979.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Seaby, H. A. Roman Silver Coins, V. III: Pertinax to Balbinus & Pupienus London: Seaby Publications Ltd., 1982.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Seaby, H. A. Roman Silver Coins, V. IV: Gordian III to Postumus London: Seaby Publications Ltd., 1982.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

King, C. E. Roman Silver Coins, V. V: Carausius to Romulus Augustus London: Seaby Publications Ltd., 1987.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Late Roman Empire Numismatics

Klawans, Zander H. Reading and Dating Roman Imperial Coins New York: Sanford J. Durst, 1982.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Klawans, Zander H., K. E Bressett, Ed. Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co. Inc., 1995.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Grierson, Philip Numismatics New York: Oxford University Press, 1975. Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Grierson, Philip and Melinda Mays Catalogue of Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection From Arcadius and Honorius to the Accession of Anastasius Washington, DC: Dumbarton oaks Research Library and Collection, 1992.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Late Roman Empire Numismatics

This is perhaps the finest reference on Late Roman coinage available. Many other references consist largely of tables of data encoded in a sort of numismatic shorthand, but the Dumbarton Oaks catalog has a great deal of explanations and history of the period included. While not a beginner book, this is an excellent resource even if you don't have a degree in numismatics or archaeology. The photos are of the highest quality, though many coin specimens from the period are only available as crudely struck, worn, or damaged pieces. Count on paying over one hundred dollars for this reference, but it is worth it to the collector of this material. The author paid an eighty dollar pre-publication price and the small available supply went in about a threee months. This is how it goes with some of the more in=depth references in ancient numismatics.

Carson, R. A. G., P. V. Hill and J. P. C. Kent Late Roman Bronze Coinage New York: Sanford J. Durst, 1989.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Late Roman Empire Numismatics

This book is often abbreviated LRBC or CHK.

The data in this book consists mainly of tables of data on mints and reverse types of the small Roman bronze coins struck from the latter part of Constantine's reign to the end of the reign of Zeno in the East. The content is highly abbreviated references to the obverse styles and legends associated with the various mints and mint workshop marks during different time periods. If you are looking for that special rare oddity or variant of which there might be only three examples in any collection and don't mind deciphering the tables, then this reference is for you. The reprint from Durst is priced at about twenty dollars.

De White, J Atlas of the Ancient Coins Struck by the Emperors of the Gallic Empire Chicago: Ares Publishers Inc. 1989.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Van Meter, David The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins: A Complete Guide to the History, Types, and Values Of Roman Imperial Coinage Nashua, NH: Laurion Numismatics, 1991.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Mattingly, Harold Roman Coins From the Earliest Times to the Fall of the Western Empire New York: Sanford J. Durst, 1987.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Pearce, J. W. E. Harold mattingly, C. H. V. Sutherland, and R. A. G. Carson Eds. The Roman Imperial Coinage v. I through X London: Spink & Son Ltd., 1968.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

The Roman Imperial Coinage, known to collectors by its initials RIC, is the standard scholarly reference work on the coinage of the Roman Empire from Augustus until the fall of the West with the deposing of Romulus Augustus. Originally comprising nine large volumes, a tenth volume, RIC X has recently been published covering the coins of Arcadius and Honorius through A. D. 476. This work consists largely of data on coin reverse types and mints arranged in tables. Each volume is accompanied by several plates of illustrations either in the back of the book or in a separate bound volume having the same volume number (i.e. RIC IV a contains tabular data and RIC IVb contains the plates. A complete set of these reference works is quite expensive, costing over a thousand dollars if copies of each volume can even be found. The collector should beware of reprinted editions in which the quality of the photographs is poor. The original plates were of the highest quality.

Pearce, J. W. E. Harold mattingly, C. H. V. Sutherland, and R. A. G. Carson Eds. The Roman Imperial Coinage v. IX Valentinian I to Theodosius I London: Spink & Son Ltd., 1968.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Sear, David R. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values: The Local Coinages of the Roman Empire London: Seaby Publications, 1982.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Hill, G. F. Historical Roman Coins (Reprint) Chicago: Ares Publishers Inc. 1909.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Askew, Gilbert The Coinage of Roman Britain London: Seaby Publications, 1980.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Reece, Richard and Simon James Identifying Roman Coins: A Practical Guide to the Identification of Site Finds in Britain London: Seaby Publications, 1986.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Mitchell, Brian and Brian Reeds Coins of England and the United Kingdom 1991 ed. London: Seaby Publications, 1990.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Roman Women Numismatics

Sear, David R. Greek Coins and their Values Vol. I Europe London: Seaby Publications, 1975.
Keywords: Greek Coins History Ancient Greece Numismatics

Sear, David R. Greek Coins and their Values Vol. II Asia and North Africa London: Seaby Publications, 1975.
Greek Coins History Ancient Greece Numismatics

Hill, G. F. Historical Greek Coins (Reprint) Chicago: Ares Publishers Inc. 1906.
Keywords: Greek Coins History Ancient Greece Numismatics

Seltman, C. Athens, Its History and Coinage Before the Persian Invasion (Reprint) Chicago: Ares Publishers Inc. 1924.
Keywords: Greek Coins History Ancient Greece Athens Numismatics

Sayles, Wayne G. Ancient Coin Collecting Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1996.
Keywords: Roman Coins History Roman Emperors Numismatics

The whole list in alphabetical order
Go to booklist about the Roman army and ancient warfare
Books about Roman and other ancient coins
Books by the popular author Michael Grant
Books about ancient ships and sailing
Go to booklist about women in the Roman world
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