Where to find Ancient Roman Coins April 13 2014
The Roman Empire was one of the most powerful civilizations in human history. At its peak, the Empire encompassed modern-day Britain, France, Spain, half of Germany, northern Africa, Asia Minor, and the entire Mediterranean region. The Western Roman Empire lasted nearly 600 years, and the Eastern Roman Empire lingered on for another 1000 years as the "Byzantine" Empire.
Because of their immense historical significance, Roman Empire coins are in great demand. But thanks to the Empire's massive size and lengthy lifespan, the coins of the Romans remain readily available and affordable. Bronze Roman coins can be purchased for less than $10, and a decent silver denarius can run you as little as $40. (Gold coins, unfortunately, go for a minimum of 4 figures).
But where can you buy authentic Roman coins? In this article, I'm going to walk you through a few of the possibilities.
eBay is the world's largest marketplace for coins - more coins are bought and sold on eBay every day than on any other website. The main upside to eBay is the selection - as the site's offerings are listed by individual sellers, you can find an extremely wide variety of coins on any given day.
That wide selection includes Roman coins. eBay offers three categories of Roman coins - Roman imperials, Roman provincials, and Roman republic issues. "Roman imperials" technically refers to coins of the Roman Empire produced within the Empire's heartland, Italy. But for all intents and purposes that categorization is meaningless on eBay, as most sellers of ancient coins are unaware of where their coins were minted.
Roman provincials are Roman Empire coins that were struck outside of Italy - in this category, you can expect to find a lot of eastern Roman coins. Roman provincials often sell for less than their "imperial" counterparts, as the demand is somewhat lesser.
Finally, Roman republic issues are coins produced under the Roman Republic, which was the predecessor of the Empire. The Roman Republic was founded in the 6th century B.C. and lasted 500 years, until Emperor Augustus abolished it in the late 1st century B.C. There were many fewer Roman coins produced under the Republic, so these coins are accordingly much more expensive than the later imperial coins.
The main downside to buying ancient coins on eBay is the lack of seller standards - anyone with an internet connection can sell coins, and nothing stops many of those sellers from listing counterfeit coins. Many ancient coin experts estimate that more than 1/3rd of all ancient coins on eBay are counterfeit - if you are not an experienced collector, it can be difficult to tell what is a counterfeit and what is authentic. This problem is only magnified for more valuable coins.
VCoins, another online numismatic marketplace, serves as a more trustworthy alternative to eBay. Unlike on eBay, every seller on VCoins has to go through a special approval process in order to sell on the website. The VCoins staff holds all of the sellers to a strict code of ethics, which includes an agreement to not knowingly sell any counterfeit coins.
The average VCoins seller is much more knowledgeable about ancient coins - you can expect to find a higher-end selection than on eBay. VCoins offers some truly exceptional coins, but as you might guess, the downside is the price. Most coins on the website are fairly expensive - buyers are paying not only for quality, but also for the level of assurance that comes with the VCoins seller standards.
For experienced collectors of ancients, VCoins is a godsend. But for beginning collectors, the website can be a little bit intimidating and overwhelming.
So what should you do if you're looking to buy your first Roman coin? Risk buying a counterfeit on eBay, or drop big money on a VCoins listing? Here at Silver Dollar Co, we'd like to offer a third alternative. Our brand-new ancient Roman coins section has a wide selection of affordable bronze and silver coins. Unlike eBay, all of our coins are covered under a lifetime authenticity guarantee. And our selection of Roman bronze coins starts as low as $9 (with free shipping) which means that we have something to fit every budget.