Roman Empire Coins

Roman Empire Coins are some of the most prestigious in the world and are both an exciting and rewarding way to add to your collection. Ancient Roman coins were more than just money in ancient times, they were monetary art where the people could represent their deities and ideals in miniature sculptures struck into precious metal coins. Historic rare Roman coins, like the Denarius, are highly popular and very affordable ancient artifacts that you can hold in your hands from thousands of years ago. Roman Constantine coins, Antoninus coins, Petherton Hoard Victorinus coins, and ancient Roman St Helena coins are some popular favorites, to name a few. Today, collectors can see the faces of nearly 90 rulers and experience the story of the Roman Empire from 27 BC to 476 AD. Hoards of buried of ancient coins are still being discovered in regions controlled by Rome and brought to market to the delight of collectors. Holding an Ancient coin is holding history in your hands. Keep reading to browse our extensive collection of Roman Coins and to learn more about these often affordable artifacts.

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  1. 270-275 AD Roman Empire Aurelianianus of Aurelian Father of Christmas Billon Coin

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    • 1+ $59.95 $58.18
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  2. 304–326 A.D. Ancient Roman Bronze Coin of Crispus NGC VF

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    • 1+ $99.95 $97.00
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Roman Coinage

Roman coinage was created and struck by hand, one coin at a time. Artists would engrave a design onto a thick bronze disk that would fit on an anvil and engrave a design at the end of a punch. Blanks of precious metal would be placed between the anvil die and a punch. The Roman Minters would strike the punch with a heavy hammer multiple times resulting in the ancient Roman coins we see today.

Rome had a minimal banking system with little regulation and no central bank. Roman Empire coins helped standardize commerce and promote trade in new markets, with the large amount of circulating coinage increasing the money supply for expanded trading and personal savings. Citizens and soldiers often buried coins to keep them secure, and fortunately for collectors today, many of those hoards were never retrieved by their ancient owners.

Common Themes on Roman Coinage

Roman coins often celebrated its emperors and commemorated important events through powerful images documenting the expansion of the Roman Empire. Roman coins not only served as legal tender, but they also served as a way to spread the news of the time as an important means of political propaganda. The portraits of Rome’s emperor are forever memorialized in precious metal on the obverse, ranging in age from youth through adulthood, along with their celebrated victories on the reverse. New emperors would immediately issue coins with their image to legitimate their position as ruler, and to pay the troops who serve them. Other popular themes on Roman coinage were architectural achievements that promoted public works and expansion of the Roman Empire, like the Coliseum and Circus Maximus. Roman coins communicated political propaganda and displayed the lifelike portraits of some of the most iconic name in history... Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Pompey the Great, Brutus, Sextus Pompey, and Octavian (Augustus) Rome's first Emperor.

The Expansion of the Roman Empire

There were more than 100 coin producers, responsible for more than 900 different coins, as the Roman Republic grew to dominate the Mediterranean World. Imperial era coins display the reigning emperor with the ruler name and title on the obverse, so his subjects would recognize and acknowledge their ruler. The reverse featured varied images from mythological figures to a variety of deities, to symbols of authority and military images. Imperatorial coinage spread political propaganda, beginning with Julius Caesar’s brief dictatorship from 49 to 44 BC, and the first large-scale use of lifetime portraits on Roman coins. Many different types of coins were issued under Caesar's authority. One of Julius Caesar's first acts was commissioning coins with his own portrait, which was an act without precedent, becoming the first living Roman to place his face on a Roman coin, establishing a tradition that would continue through the Roman Empire. At the same time, the reverse became a medium through which the issuer conveyed political propaganda.  The most common depictions are the personification of the virtues of the emperor and his dynasty. This open showing of unlimited power provoked the conspiracy against him that culminated in his assassination a month later, on the Ides of March, by Brutus Cassius and others.

The Twelve Caesars

The “Twelve Caesars” coins are among some of the most revered and collected series in ancient coins, and can be collected in copper, silver or gold. The Twelve Caesars of the Roman Empire span from Julius Caesar through the reign of Domitian that ended almost 150 years later, including Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus. Each of the Twelve Caesars coins was issued during their reign. There are many examples of Biblical Coinage that was struck extensively during the Roman period, like the “tribute penny” from the Bible, known as the silver denarius of Tiberius. The Roman coinage system could be complex and subject to many variations over time, but we are fairly sure of the values used during the life of Christ as follows:

• The silver Denarius, was is the "penny" of the King James Bible.

• The bronze Sestertius was valued at one-fourth of a denarius.

• The bronze As (sometimes spelled assarion) was valued as one-sixteenth of an denarius.

• The bronze Dupondius was valued at one-eighth of a denarius.

• The smallest bronze coin was the Quadrans which was worth one-fourth of an as.

• The largest was a gold coin called the Aureus that was worth twenty-five denariuses.