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I'm down to missing only a few 'affordable' emperors of the central empire


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I'm down to only missing a few affordable emperors now.  What's affordable?  A bit nebulous, but I wouldn't consider Eugenius to be affordable.  Even a problem non-clipped siliqua now costs what a common Byzantine Solidus would.  I've had a Johannes AV for a long time, but I'd consider him an affordable emperor because affordable AE4's come up all the time.  Constantine III has always been a want, but I no longer consider him to be an affordable emperor. I guess I'd consider affordable to be under $500.

Two have been recently crossed off the list, Valentinian II and Procopius.

With the exception of Balbinus and Pupienus, what's left are emperors whom I don't care about or whose coins are too miserable for me to get excited about:

-Lucius Verus (don't care)

- Balbinus

- Pupienus

- Quietus (coins are a bit crap)

- Carus (not sure if I'm missing him.  I think I am. HIs coins are so common, I can easily pick one up)

- Valentinian III (AE coins are tiny and crap, and I only want a western mint)


Is that Val. III correctly attributed?  The style seems too good for the time.   I'm no expert  but the style is more reminiscent of 380-400. This particular one is reserved/sold, but something that decent (and relatively cheap), I probably would pick it up. 

Is anyone else getting close to picking up all of the (affordable) emperors?


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Hallo ,

I have been collecting Roman coins for over 35 years. As one of the main conditions for the purchase of 4th and 5th century coins,
 I have always held (for myself) that the mint (city) must be recognizable. 
I never guessed at the place , beacause then you never have a conclusive attribution if it is not provably present. 
(as with the coin in the example).
 I just wanted to point that out. Otherwise you have " a guess " for currency.
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Not me! I haven't been collecting long enough. I'm pleased that I have coins of every emperor up to Marcus Aurelius (sans Lucius Verus) - including denarii of all three of the notorious A.D. 69 emperors. Granted, the Galba and Otho are pretty poor (my Vitellius is a bit better), but with my budget I can't complain.

I do want to pick up a Commodus sometime soon, but I'm at the point where I would rather save and bide my time to get a nice one, than just spend $60 on a cheap one. And that's probably where my list of consecutive emperors will stop - Pertinax and Didius Julianus being too $$$$ for me in pretty much any condition!

My long term goal is to save for a nice JC lifetime portrait coin.

Edited by CPK
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I've been collecting off and on since 1993 (the 1980's if one counts the two junk bin coins).  I managed to grab some of the pricier emperors/imperators when coins were cheaper in the 1990's.

My Didius and Pertinax are both a bit crap, but they count on my list.

I tossed in a 40 Euro Procopius during my latest order.  It's relatively decent and for 40 Euros, a wise pickup. Box checked.

Christmas gifts also helped check off some boxes.

Pescennius Niger isn't what I consider an affordable emperor, but I picked mine up somewhere between 1997-99. My grandfather and I would visit Chicago in June and I'd always drag him to HJB and Jon Subak.  While walking past the Berk display windows I spied a Pescennius Niger denarius for $200 or $250!  While not the greatest, it's certainly not that bad.



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You have quite a list of ticked emperors. Congratulations. As a personal advice - don't ignore Verus. His coins are not expensive, I find them quite interesting and usually they are well executed. And Verus, even if history records him as less important than Marcus Aurelius, was not a minor character as an emperor.

When I started collecting I had realistic goals. I knew that ticking all the emperors is not something doable. Main reason being some expensive ones, which we all know. But when it comes to some usurpers things get even more complicated. That's the catch, I think - even when you say you completed your targets, there's a little elf tapping your shoulder - hey, you know, there are coins of X too. And another one tapping the other shoulder - hey, you have emperor Y, but don't you think it requires an upgrade? And there are coins of him from mint Z that are different and iconic, you know?

I have many emperors and empresses (don't forget them!) missing. Or other members of families or close to the emperors, like Agrippa, also missing. I will buy some of those. I will get provincial coins on some - which is also an interesting part of numismatics, as there are many provincial coins that are as interesting as the imperial ones.

But some will remain outside my collection because a.) I can't afford them in any grade b.) I can afford them in low grade but even so the price would be higher than a "normal" coin in good grade and I wouldn't like the coin of the rare ruler - why should I bother or c.) I am not interested in them. Just ticking the box in my Excel for emperors is not worth the financial effort.

Since you mentioned Procopius, I bought a very modest coin this year. Even if I do not collect LRBs as a major interest, I liked the left facing bust, the decent obverse and the fact that I can tick another name. Reverse is a mess, exergue is almost gone and I can only guess that the Nicomedia mint advised by the auction house is correct since the N is visible and corresponds to SMNA. I also liked the price I got it for - 17 euros plus fees. Anything over 20 euros would have meant a waste of money. 


Procopius AD 365-366. Nicomedia

Follis Æ

20 mm, 2,38 g

D N PROCO-PIVS P F AVG, bust of Procopius, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed, left / REPARATI-O FEL TEMP, emperor, head right, standing facing, holding labarum in right hand and resting left on shield. At foot, left, a small indeterminate object; above, in field right,

RIC IX  Nicomedia 10

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That's a good pickup for 17 Euros!

I'll pick up Verus in 2023; a Sestertius is what I want.

It appears that I forgot both Magnentius and Vetranio. The former is super-affordable and the latter not too terribly expensive.  Magnentius should be right up my alley, being a usurper in the western empire.  However, both are in the LRB era and I never got around to it.

Perhaps I can pick up both Verus and Magnentius from the same dealer, in the same buy.

Of the list, the ones whom I care about the most are Balbinus and Pupienus, especially the latter.

I have a Trier Arcadius siliqua which is attributed to the period of Eugenius. I wonder if that counts?

Opportunity cost always seems to come up when it concerns Verus.  I'll pick him up when I don't have any set targets, like the previous buy. I ended up buying Nero and some misc.

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8 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Is anyone else getting close to picking up all of the (affordable) emperors?

I suppose it depends on what's on your list and what the 'central empire' is. I've never thought the definition of emperor that seems to be used in numismatics is very robust - just because you say you're an emperor and strike some coins, doesn't mean you're an emperor.

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3 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I left out the Gallic breakway empire of 260-274 so that I don't have to bother with Marius and Laelianus :classic_laugh:.

Yes I don't know how they can be counted as Roman emperors, so I agree. Laelianus was an unsuccessful usurper against the Gallic Empire, so he doesn't count as Roman or an emperor. The rest of the Gallic emperors aren't hard to get, though, even Marius.

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Gosh, I just did a search for Laelian. I guess he'd make the unaffordable emperors list.

Marius is quite affordable.  I just have a tough time justifying more than a certain amount on AE Ants.

Vabalathus as emperor doesn't make the affordable list, so him as Dux Romanorum has to count.  I really love his Tetradrachmae of Alexandria, the one issue of the potins which I really like.  A 2023 goal will to upgrad to a strong VF or XF one.  The Alexandria issues show him as having a hairdo reminiscent of the 18th century powdered wigs.

I'm not really into the AE Ants of his from Antioch.

How much do AE's of Eugenius go for?  I never see them come up on vcoins searches.

I'd also like to find a nice decargyrus nummus of Magnus Maximus. As much as I like Maximus I can't believe that I haven't bought any since the 1990's.  Luckily a halfway decent siliqua was a 1990s gift.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Congrats on getting your list so far down.

As you know, I concentrate on Greek from 350 BCE to 250 BCE, but I also find Roman Imperial interesting. When I haven't picked up too much already in an auction, I'll check if there are any "easy pickings" from the Romans. This has enabled me to reach 81 emperors, which is still a far cry from your collection.

However, I do have Magnentius and Vetranio. 🙂


BI Centenionalis 4.85g, 23mm, 6h.
Treveri, 351 CE
D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bareheaded, draped and cuirassed bust to right; A behind / VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET CAE, two Victories facing each other holding between them a wreath inscribed VOT V MVLT X in four lines; TRP in exergue
Ex Dieter Alten Collection
Ex Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, March 2009
Ex Roma



5.05g, 24mm Thessalonika mint
Diademed head of Vetranio right "DN VETRANIO PF AVG"
Emperor standing, holding a standard in each hand. "CONCORDIA MILITVM", "A-B", ".TSD." in exergue.
RIC 132
Ex Aegean Numismatics

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On 12/10/2022 at 11:08 AM, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Is anyone else getting close to picking up all of the (affordable) emperors?

I basically collect coins of a single emperor (Constantine I) rather than one of each emperor, but no, not really super close to being complete, and I dont' really expect to ever be complete! After 20 year's collecting there's still probably 20 reverse types I'm looking for, and I don't even have any interest in trying to collect each reverse type from each mint it was issued at, or with every bust/obverse legend variety it was issued with, or every issue of that type at any mint ... Heck, I'm not really even trying to collect every reverse type Constantine issued, although it would be nice.

I guess with collecting emperors you at least basically know what the complete set is, even if it's unattainable, although of course some unknown short-lived usurper could always turn up. In attempting to collect all reverse types of a given emperor, you don't even know what the complete set is (only those have have been published, or that you are otherwise aware of), and perhaps a little surprisingly new reverse types are still appearing as of 2022. I actually got two unlisted reverse types of Constantine last year, as well as a bunch of other "unlisted's" (unlisted emperor for type, unlisted type for issue, etc, etc). For me, that's really the most exciting part of collecting - not the completing of the set(s) (although very satisfying too - that's the collector "bug" we all have), but the discovery of new things you either never expected or expected but have never been seen.


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My rule was "Emperors that ruled for over two years (and notable exceptions)" which makes things a lot easier! 

Nowadays I long to be captivated by a particular emperor. I'm enamoured by the knowledge that specialists of particular rulers show on this forum, and I would like to eventually fill a niche in a similar fashion.


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My 'I survived the storm' treat was Quietus, so I don't have any set wants at the moment.  Perhaps I'll go after a nice Magnentius, or find a dealer who has both an acceptable Verus and Magnentius.

Carus is a fairly easy stocking stuffer at any time.

Perhaps I can start collecting the imperial women. Except for Didia Clara, Severina (flip side of a double Sestertius) and Salonina, I don't think I have any of the wives/relatives, aside from whoever might be kicking about in 1990's bags of Asses and provincials.

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  • Benefactor

It sounds like you have a great collection, @Nerosmyfavorite68  !

My Imperial denarii collection has reached 50 emperors. I call it my “Fifty Top 50 Collection. ” I try to select coins in the XF range.


I never intended to take my denarii collection this far but I’m glad I did. I may shift my focus in the coming year toward Æ denominations from Roman Imperial Seleucia and Pieria. There are several Emperors for whom I have a penchant — Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, and Julia Domna being the primaries.



Edited by LONGINUS
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