Hey, we get it – ancient coins are infinitely fascinating, but they can also be rather intimidating. Which coins should you start with? What sets one apart from another? It’s not necessarily as easy as comparing dates and mint marks on U.S. Silver Dollars. That’s why we put together this unique Ancient Coin Type Set Collection, which brings together six different ancient coins from six distinctly different eras and/or geographic locations: Ancient Greece, Biblical and Judaean, Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Roman Provincial, and the Byzantine Empire.
To further assist you in your sojourn through ancient history, we called upon one of the world’s most experienced guides in author Jeff Garrett. An author and former president of the Professional Numismatic Guild, Garret is also a consultant to the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection. Garrett personally inspected the coins in this set. The coins included are:
You’ll start in Ancient Greece – the first culture in the Western world to mint coinage – with a Greek Silver Athenian Owl (440-404 B.C.). This was the first mass-produced coin in Western Civilization and is considered by many numismatists to be the “the silver dollar of the Greek Empire.” As such, Athenian Owls are arguably the most desired of ancient silver coinage.
Next comes a Widow’s Mite (103-76 B.C.), one of the most popular Coins of the Bible. Known as a Bronze Prutah, it was struck in the holy city of Jerusalem. The Widow’s Mite is perhaps the most fascinating of the New Testament coins. The most famous text from Mark 12:41-44 tells the story of a widow offering up her two mites to the Temple treasury, the sum total of all her wealth.
Third is a coin from the Roman Republic – a SilverVictoriatus coin (211-208 B.C.). When the army of Ancient Rome came into conflict with the battle-hardened troops of Hannibal, coins were needed to finance the war. These Silver Victoriatus coins were minted in order to pay for soldiers, equipment and mercenaries. The coins also helped raise morale among the troops and confidence among allies that had been battered by Hannibal.
The fourth coin is an Antoninus Pius Silver Denarius (A.D. 138-161) struck during the Roman Empire, which grew out of the Republic after the fall of Julius Caesar. Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius was noted as being one of the Five Good Emperors who presided over the most majestic days of the Roman Empire. So little strife occurred during his reign from A.D. 138-161 that he was given the title of Pater Patriae meaning “Father of the Country.”
From there you explore a Roman Provincial Gordian III Silver Drachm (A.D. 238-244), struck outside of Italy to serve distant parts of the vast Roman Empire. Named Emperor at 13 by popular acclaim (and military backing), Gordian III’s reign lasted just six years until he, too, was assassinated, ushering in the “crisis if the third century,” an era that lasted less than 50 years, saw 25 different emperors and seriously weakened the empire.
Last is a Gold Solidus coin (A.D. 613-641) of the Byzantine Empire struck by Emperor Heraclius. One of the great Byzantine Emperors, Heraclius restructured the empire’s military and bureaucratic roles and replaced Latin with Greek as the official language. Despite these accomplishments, the empire lost Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Byzantine Mesopotamia to the Arab Muslims during his reign.
Each coin has been professionally authenticated, graded and encapsulated by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) as being in Choice Very Fine (CH VF) or better condition. Plus, your set will come beautifully displayed in a handsome wooden display case along with a published by NGC that showcases the era in which these coins were struck and the book 100 Greatest Ancient Coins – Second Edition hand-signed by its author, Harlan J. Berk.
If you’re looking to begin collecting ancient coins, start here. We’ve already done the work for you by seeking out these milestone coins that allow you to follow the growth of Western civilization. Start your numismatic journey through the ancient world today!