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The Four Pillars of Your Ancient Coin Portfolio

The ancient coin market is growing as U.S. collectors have been expanding into the arena and European auctions have been seeing record setting high prices and spikes in attendance. These phenomena certainly underscore our bullish stance on high-grade, choice quality, NGC-graded ancient coins.

One of the most common questions that we get from you is, 'All of these coins seem like a bargain considering the history and grade, but how I do know where to start?' To answer your question, a great way to start your ancient coin collection is with four of the most important collecting categories.

Important Collecting Categories: The framework for your ancient coin portfolio.

Whether you are buying ancient coins purely for the profit, for the love of history, or some combination of both, it’s nice to have a basic structure to your portfolio. The four most important collecting categories are: Greek, Roman, Biblical & Judean, and Byzantine. Today, our experts have searched out the best opportunities from the Greek, Roman, and Biblical & Judean categories for you.

1. Greek – This category includes some of the most exciting and important coins in all of numismatics. It is broken down into three time periods: Archaic (7th to 5th Centuries BC), Classical (begins with the Persian Wars in 480 BC until the conquests of Alexander the Great around 330 BC), and Hellenistic (the period that is primarily made up of Alexander the Great and related coins).

This is an excellent area to begin your ancient coin portfolio. This month we have the following Hellenistic Greek coins available to you:

Jan17 Macedon Alexander F

Alexander III “The Great” Gold Stater

This iconic gold stater of Alexander is graded AU, with Fine Style designation, indicating superior skill by the engraver.

Jan17 Tarsus Mazaeus F

Cilicia, Tarsus Mazaeus Silver (AR) Stater, c. 361-328 BC

Cilicia was a Persian-controlled region located in modern-day Turkey but was largely influenced by Greek culture and language. The region witnessed multiple Greek Hellenistic battles between rivaling monarchs.

This silver stater was struck in Tarsus by the ruler Mazaeus, whose successor was expelled by Alexander the Great. The obverse features the Ba’al (God) of Tarsus, equivalent to a Greek Hercules. Graded MS Star by NGC, the star designates superior eye appeal, evident in the impeccable detail and relief surrounded by a lustrous field of blue and purple. NGC has only graded one coin finer, making the present specimen a world-class addition to any advanced collection.

2. Roman Coins – This category includes coinage of the Roman Republic (260 – 44 BC), Imperatorial coins (44 – 27 BC), and coins of the Roman Empire (31 BC – 324 AD). This is one of our favorite collecting time periods as it includes those of the Twelve Caesars, a collecting theme that has garnered international attention and performed phenomenally at auction.

Jan17 Julius Caesar F

Gold aureus of Julius Caesar, c. 46 BC 

The aureus of Julius Caesar is one of the most iconic coins in all of numismatics.

Julius Caesar is one of the greatest figures in human history. He amassed one of the largest and most successful armies in the world, and extended Rome’s reach dramatically. The present coin, graded Choice XF, features the goddess of virtue on the obverse and religious implements on the reverse, symbolic of his supreme authority. This coin features a perfect strike grade (5/5) with near perfect surfaces (4/5).

Jan17 Caesars Nero F

Gold aureus of Nero, reign AD 54 – 68

Due to Nero’s infamy and tales that he “burned Rome to the ground,” the coinage of Nero is always in high demand. The obverse features the left facing head of Nero, and the reverse features King of the Gods Jupiter seated. Low graded specimens are common but become very scarce in grade XF with perfect strike (5/5) and a near perfect (4/5) surface grade. The sixth of the twelve emperors, this aureus of Nero is a good start to a Twelve Caesars collection.

Jan17 Caesars Domitian F

Silver Denarius of Domitian, reign AD 81 – 96

Domitian, the last of the Twelve Caesars, restored the economy by revaluing Roman coinage, rebuilding the city of Rome, and fortifying the border defenses of the Empire. His silver coinage is common in lower grades, and rarely graded AU and better. This coin displays the obverse head of Domitian, and on the reverse with Minerva, the goddess of wisdom in Fine Style designation.

3. Biblical and Judean Coins – Biblical and Judean coins are always in high demand among collectors due to their direct correlation to the Bible and the life of Jesus. The following two coin types are among the most important in this category.

Jan17 Phoenicia Tyre F

Silver Shekel of Tyre, Judas’ ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ from Matthew 26: 14-15

The Shekel of Tyre was a high-purity silver piece produced in Phoenicia, but commonly believed by historians to have been used in Jerusalem for the annual temple tax. This shekel, however, is best known as the ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ used to pay Judas to betray Jesus. Well-centered specimen in VF grade and better are always in high demand.

Jan17 Maur Tiberius F

Biblical Silver Denarius, ‘Tribute Penny’ of Tiberius, from Matthew 22:15-22

From the Roman Emperor who ruled during the life of Jesus, the obverse features the laureate head of Tiberius, and the reverse, Goddess Livia as Pax (Peace), from the biblical verse in which Jesus says, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.’ The ‘tribute penny’ is a historical relic of major importance and is widely collected among ancient coin specialists worldwide. Tiberius is also collected as the third emperor of the Twelve Caesars.

ASI is always looking for quality, NGC-graded ancient coins with historical importance and international demand to help you build your portfolio. Using the background history of these coins from the Greek, Roman, and Biblical & Judean eras is a great way to get started with investing or making additions to your ancient coins portfolio. Call us for pricing and details! All of these coins come with FREE shipping, handling and insurance.