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What started your coin collecting journey?


John060167
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Posted (edited)

Hey! I would like to ask this question to the various numismatists old and new in this forum.

 

What got you into coin collecting? 

 

I always find it interesting to know what was the spark for someone to start collecting coins…

 

My story is as follows:

 

I was 8 and was in a flea market with my dad. I passed by this guy selling some US coins, and I started looking and was amazed to see these really large sized coins with old dates on it like 1795, 1885, etc! I asked the vendor if i could see one of the coins, it was a 1795 Flowing Hair dollar, and just holding it in my hands felt like something really special, to see what the old money of yesterday was like. The size, heft and peculiar design intrigued me, so I asked “how much”? The vendor said “for you, only $5! a steal!” Then my dad went and bought over 10 of them, some were Morgans, Draped busts, Flowing hair and even a  1906 American Silver eagle. So when I took them home, I stared at them for a while and become more and more excited and decided I wanted to add another coin to my collection not too long after.

My first (real) coin purchase was an 1899 Indian head cent on Amazon or something like that, for $5 plus shipping …when I got it in I was so happy and spent long periods of time just staring and feeling it up.  Eventually after some more researching I found some local coin dealers, and a month later my mom took me to one. When I went in, it was surreal! The sight of old coins and monies all over as well as the smell of these old coin shops(if you know, you know), I was a kid at a candy store! I asked the dealer if I could see a old toned up Morgan dollar, and I asked him “how much”? He said “$30”, I laughed and said “thats too much! I got some others which are nicer for $5 each” and pulled out my bag of 10 silver dollars I bought from the flea market and proudly showed him it with a grin on my face. When he looked at it, I saw him slightly smirk and he simply said “they’re all fake”. The more he smirked the more I frowned. He then explained to me the various issues with them, how some issues such as the 1795 dollar are extremely expensive, etc, and out of pity, he told me that he will give me the morgan for half off, that I could buy two for the price of what he would normally  sell one, so that I could finally own some “real coins”. And so I walked out of that store with two genuine morgan silver dollars and a bag of fake silver dollars. Then I told myself that one day I would own the real deal 1795 Flowing Hair dollar, my dream coin..the rest is history!

For me it was a bunch of fake coins and an overpriced 1899 Indian head cent that got me into coin collecting, and here I am today! Whilst I do not buy US much anymore after having purchased my dream US coin, I still greatly appreciate the US coins I have purchased and have owned/still own. Nowadays I mostly buy ancients as you can see from my post history, but yeah…. 

 

Anyway, whats your story? Please share!

 

Here are pictures of some of the fakes my dad purchased! Which one do you find the most funny? It is the 1906 ASE for me! Haha

 

Cheers! Cant wait to read the stories you all tell!

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Edited by John060167
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Posted (edited)

...this was my 1st bought 'coin'.. a $5 piece that sold for face value with free shipping i bought from a TV commercial ..it sits on its display amongst all the others that followed  ..the rest is 'history" and the love of ^^:D

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Edited by ominus1
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First Coin:
I started collecting when I was 8 or 9. Started with Moderns. Believe it or not, I found a US Civil War Token in my Grandparent's change jar. I asked my Grandmother if I could have it, and gave her a dollar bill so I felt that It was mine. We went to a local coin shop, Mr LLoyd Fudge’s Coin Shop in Mountain Home, AR. He explained the coin and all the history behind it. I WAS HOOKED! In fact, I would spend my summer's savings from working (farm work, cutting grass, cleaning out barns, etc. to make money), on other US Modern Coins. In fact, I gravitated to the Odd Denominations (1/2c, 2c, 3c Ni and AR, 20c), Trade Dollars chopped or not, Fractional Currency, Civil War Tokens, Hard Time Tokens, several Feutchwangers cents, etc. as it was cool HISTORY. Yes, of course, I collected some of the other denoms, but that was boring. No real HISTORY.

This is my COIN #1 for my Coin Collecting Hobby:

[IMG]
US Civil War Token, 1863.


First Ancient Coin:

After 25 years, I dumped 90% of my Modern Coin collection, and really pursued my passion of Ancient History. I captured 4 Athens Owls and an Alexander III Makadonwn Drachm in one transaction.

[IMG] Alexander III Drachm
[IMG]
(and 3 other Athena/Owls)

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2 minutes ago, ominus1 said:

...this was my 1st bought 'coin'.. a $5 piece that sold for face value with free shipping i bought from a TV commercial ..it sits on its display amongst all the others that followed  ..the rest is 'history" and the love of ^^:D

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That is a purdy cool coin @ominus1, I can see why you started with that...

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Posted (edited)

I was eleven and living in Hawaii at the time. I had been a voracious reader of ancient mythology and history since 3rd grade, even reading the encyclopedia entries about Greece, Rome, and Byzantium and had memorized all of the emperors so I could recite them sequentially, and many other books such as the Time-Life book on Imperial Rome. One day I went to the shopping mall with my parents and passed a coin shop. Mostly world coins and U.S. coins (the usual suspects) but there was a tray off to the side in a display case.

There were a number of darkish bronze coins and some silver pieces. I stared at them and realized they were Roman coins. There was one shiny piece that I asked to look at. So the proprietor who was wearing an Aloha shirt and sandals grabbed the coin which was in a flip and handed it to me. It looked a bit crude as far as the lettering I thought, but I could make out "GORDIANVS". On the reverse was Mars wearing a helmet and toting a spear and round shield, marching to the right. The proprietor told me that it was minted to fund a war against Persia. How cool was that?

He explained that this was the last time in history that the temple of Janus was opened.  Hooked, I bought the coin for $30. I had a thriving lawn-mowing business so I usually earned around $50/week mowing lawns, so was a well-heeled 11-year old. When we moved to the SF Bay Area when I was 13 I kept up collecting under the guidance of Frank L. Kovacs, whom I used to visit in his office on Post Street in SF.

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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15 minutes ago, ominus1 said:

...this was my 1st bought 'coin'.. a $5 piece that sold for face value with free shipping i bought from a TV commercial ..it sits on its display amongst all the others that followed  ..the rest is 'history" and the love of ^^:D

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Haha thanks for sharing, I think i know what you mean, like HSN network right? Can’t remember the last time i ever saw anything for $5 on there lol, must have been a while ago! Love your setup btw, cool coins on display!

 

Cheers

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16 minutes ago, Alegandron said:

First Coin:
I started collecting when I was 8 or 9. Started with Moderns. Believe it or not, I found a US Civil War Token in my Grandparent's change jar. I asked my Grandmother if I could have it, and gave her a dollar bill so I felt that It was mine. We went to a local coin shop, Mr LLoyd Fudge’s Coin Shop in Mountain Home, AR. He explained the coin and all the history behind it. I WAS HOOKED! In fact, I would spend my summer's savings from working (farm work, cutting grass, cleaning out barns, etc. to make money), on other US Modern Coins. In fact, I gravitated to the Odd Denominations (1/2c, 2c, 3c Ni and AR, 20c), Trade Dollars chopped or not, Fractional Currency, Civil War Tokens, Hard Time Tokens, several Feutchwangers cents, etc. as it was cool HISTORY. Yes, of course, I collected some of the other denoms, but that was boring. No real HISTORY.

This is my COIN #1 for my Coin Collecting Hobby:

[IMG]
US Civil War Token, 1863.


First Ancient Coin:

After 25 years, I dumped 90% of my Modern Coin collection, and really pursued my passion of Ancient History. I captured 4 Athens Owls and an Alexander III Makadonwn Drachm in one transaction.

[IMG] Alexander III Drachm
[IMG]
(and 3 other Athena/Owls)

So cool, finding a civil war token? That would hook anyone lol. Did you end up buying any other tokens after that one? 
 

Love the owl, looks like a later intermediate pi style tetradrachm, those cuts/marks add another level of history to it over a pristine one! Good strike and centering for the type too.

 

Cheers and thanks for sharing

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Posted (edited)

For me it was the CoinCraft store opposite the British Museum back in 2017. I have a vague recollection I was actually seeking out coin stores with ancients at the time but I can't recall what gave me that idea. I ended up picking up my first ancient then, a tetradrachm of Azes, that I then sold 3 years later in CNG e496. I think I just about made my money back, which is not bad considering CoinCraft isn't the cheapest of retail stores.

Edited by Kaleun96
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36 minutes ago, John060167 said:

So cool, finding a civil war token? That would hook anyone lol. Did you end up buying any other tokens after that one? 
 

Love the owl, looks like a later intermediate pi style tetradrachm, those cuts/marks add another level of history to it over a pristine one! Good strike and centering for the type too.

 

Cheers and thanks for sharing

CWT:  Yeah, had almost 300 when I sold them in my 30's... career, kids, corp move across country, etc.  I regret parting with them. Have a few now.  Actually have a decent sized modern collection of US and World, as well as Modern Gold, but I just never take pics of them.  Ancients seem to have a LOT more Historical appeal to me.

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My grandfather had a coin collection and left it to my Dad, who dabbled in it, only to get serious after he retired. Since he's passed, it was given to me & I continue the tradition.

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I was bored during lockdown and dramatically escalated my study of Ancient Rome. I wanted a physical artefact of sorts and subsequently discovered how remarkably cheap ancient Roman coins were. I still can't believe the price I pay for each coin sometimes. They will be eternally undervalued by the market to me due to how much I assumed they'd cost before I checked. I was willing to pay a lot more than £30 for a Constantine. After I bought one of my then favourite emperor, I wanted one of my then second favourite emperor Constantius II. After this, a set seemed appropriate, so I acquired all of Constantine's immediate family. Next I wanted to get my third favourite emperor, Diocletian, and it wasn't long before I had a tetrarch set in mind. Then I headed to the five good emperors and worked on them. After this I spotted a cheap Domitian, one of my other favourite emperors. And so it goes to this day, I become fascinated by different periods of Roman History and buy coins of it. I'm finally enjoying the Republican period in the same way I used to enjoy the Crisis of the Third Century and the Christian Roman Empire, so I may move to there next. I try to buy coins with messaging or relevance to the events/ideologies of the period I am studying.

I don't imagine it will ever stop, I'm slowly covering more and more Roman History ground and slowly desiring more and more coins.

 

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It's so cool to read these interesting stories. I have one to tell too:

I was around 7 years old, when we moved out of our old house in a rural village, to a house in the suburbs in the city. While going through the old stuff to sort out, I thought it might be a good idea to check all the old wallets - we had a lot of them! One of them seemes to have belonged to my great grandfather, who had died decades earlier. When I opened it, I was greeted with a lot of german empire coins, the oldest from 1898 up to 1945. I got to catalouging them and found some quite nice ones in there! Over the following years, I bought a few german coins along the way, but had a bigger interest in studying ancient history than that of the german empire - and you couldn't buy coins from that time, right? (At that point I had completely forgotten about the Claudius II Ant I had bought years back in Trier - my parents had confiscated it because I listened to a rock title). Well, last year I opened eBay, looking up "ancient coins" and was stunned to see that some were only 10€. Luckily I waited with buying my first one until I got a good quality coin from a local dealer, not a crappy LRB from ebay! It was hard to obtain one, since my parents are in a cult that forbids "materialistic" hobbys like coin collecting, but that makes me even more proud of the collection I've managed to build up over the last few months!

Thats my great grandfather, whom I have to thank for my numismatic interest:

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And some of the coins I found in his wallet:

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And thats my first "real" purchase:

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Unfortunately, due Covid I havent had the opportunity to speak with experts I my area a lot, something I definately want to improve on! But talking with experienced collectors online and just asking questions has been a huge help.

 

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Wonderful coins, @Helvius Pertinax. And a great pickelhaube in the photo of your great-grandfather! Much fancier than the one my grandfather is wearing in this photo from 1915 in Cambrai (at age 20), although I don't know what it looked like underneath the canvas cover:

image.thumb.jpeg.32fcc2fc39450cbbabc134eb174f2449.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Wonderful coins, @Helvius Pertinax. And a great pickelhaube in the photo of your great-grandfather! Much fancier than the one my grandfather is wearing in this photo from 1915 in Cambrai (at age 20), although I don't know what it looked like underneath the canvas cover:

image.thumb.jpeg.32fcc2fc39450cbbabc134eb174f2449.jpeg

I'm a really big fan of the uniform he's wearing. Its overall just so elegant, but simple! Also quite crazy to think that he was only 18 when the war started! And yours only 19. 

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I started being interested in world coins when I was 8 or 9 years old and there was an old-fashioned coin store a few blocks from where I lived. I used to spend my allowance sometimes buying inexpensive coins from a box of "foreign coins" that were something like 5 for a dollar.  (I liked looking at the ancient coins too, although I couldn't afford to buy any except the very cheapest ones, some wretched AE3s and AE4s that cost maybe 50 cents apiece. I still have them!) Here is the cover of the very first book about coins that I ever owned, from around the same time. My father bought it for me in 1965, when we were on vacation in the Bahamas and I quickly became fascinated with the English coinage then used there. So off we went to a local coin store, and my active interest in English coins (and, later, historical/commemorative medals) continued for another 45-50 years. I still have the book:

Bressett English coins 1965 cover.jpg

Bressett English coins 1965 bookstore stamp from Nassau Bahamas.jpg

Bressett English coins 1965 title page.jpg

And there was this book, published in 1964, which my parents bought for me about a year later. It had a few pages about ancient coins; I'm attaching part of one of them:

Fells Intl Coin Book 1964 cover.jpg

Fells Intl Coin Book 1964 page re Roman coins.jpg

$1.50? $3? If only I could go back! I do remember looking at these drawings with interest as a child. They seemed magical to me.

I sold the most valuable British coins and medals I owned (including a lot of British gold coins back to James I, and silver crowns back to Charles II) around 2015, when I was unemployed for quite some time and in difficult economic circumstances; I couldn't even wait to have them auctioned, so I sold them for cash to Stack's Bowers for maybe 30-40 cents on the dollar. Then, in 2017, I began actively collecting again but turned primarily to ancient coins, because it was too depressing to think about trying to reproduce my British collection, given how much more that would cost than I had gotten from selling the ones I used to own. I had always liked ancient coins anyway -- although I only had a dozen or so by 2017, purchased sporadically  the previous 30 years -- and even as recently as 2017 it was possible to buy a lot of perfectly nice denarii for around $100 each. 

So that's how I got started. 

 

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My story is all about family business, like many others

When I was five or so, my aunt would start gifting me with french silver 5 francs or 10 francs that were still in use back then. I still have the piggy bank I put them in : begining of the coins addiction

Fast forward to my 18th B'day when my grandad (that one was 20 at the begining of WW1) gave me the famous Commodus sestertius he had found at Verdun battle in 1916 and you've all seen 50 times at least : begining of the ancient coins addiction

Q

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Posted · Supporter

Here is my confession:

For me it started three years ago with the simple idea that I wanted an ancient Roman coin. Why exactly I got this idea I don't know. I suppose I was just curious what it would feel like, to hold history in hand. (some memories travelling with my parents in South Italy may have played in, or a passing interest in Greek mythology when I was a child). Whatever the reason, I wanted an ancient coin. To scratch the itch I bought a lot of 4 worn LRB's on e-Bay, then decided in my infinite wisdom that they must be fake (of course they were real!), and bought a bona fide slabbed Constantine commemorative follis instead. She-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, as Roman as it gets. A genuine Roman coin!

And this is where it should have ended. And it did, for half a year. But somehow the itch didn't go away and needed to be scratched some more. And more. What could I do? I gave in. I visited a MA-shop dealer while in Holland, bought a few Republican denarii (galleys!),and a Marcus Aurelius from him, and I was sold. I decided I wanted to collect ancient coins. And that was before I discovered the Greeks. There was simply no way back from the Greeks. A whole new world of history, mythology and artistry opened up for me. Books were bought, plans were made. Soon coins began to trickle in from sellers all over the world: bronze from Sicily, silver from Greece, a spec of electrum from Ionia, a tetradrachm from as far as Babylon... Simply put, I was hooked. And I can happily say I still am today. I collect mostly Greek, although I catch myself looking more and more at pre-211BC Roman coinage. And seals, yes, I need more seals. And a few coins from Persis. Satraps. I definitely need more satraps. And those lovely and mysterious obols from Cilicia. And how about some more Magna Graecia?                                        Trust me, I'm hooked...

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In 2008 I was thumbing through a Biblical Archeology magazine at Barnes and Noble. I noticed an ad in the back of the magazine for boxed collections of coins from the Holy Land,  guaranteed authentic. They were being offered by the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom.

I decided that I had to have one so I went ahead and ordered it. I thought about it for a while and decided that I needed more than one so I ordered two more. I began searching the internet for similar Bible related boxed coin sets.

Long story short my collection was born. Then I found VCoins and I was in Heaven.

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On my sixth or seventh birthday, I received a packaged coin collecting kit (I think it was made by Whitman) that included Lincoln cent and Jefferson nickel folders, a guidebook, some flips, and other supplies.  I was quickly hooked, and started collecting whatever US and foreign coins I could get.  I checked my family's change for interesting coins, I asked family friends who traveled internationally to bring back coins, and I spent what little money I had at several local coin shops.  I lost interest when I was about twelve, and put away my meager collection.  Then when I went away to college in 1991, I discovered a coin shop just a short walk off campus, and became interested again.  I started again accumulating interesting foreign coins in an unsystematic way, and also bought a Krause catalogue of 19th and 20th century coins (well, up to about 1990).  The junk boxes yielded some interesting coins, even a couple of medieval, but I had yet to find an area to focus on.

In the winter of 1992/3, the coin store got in a bunch of ancient coins.  A few were ID'd in flips, but most were cleaned but unidentified, and in two lots: $3 each for mostly LRB AE3 and AE4, and $5 each for mostly larger coins (some Roman provincial, heavily worn asses, and a few random Greek AE).  I bought a few of the better preserved, more identifiable-looking pieces, and using the college's reference books I was able to identify my new coins.  (The references included Stevenson's Dictionary of Roman Coins, Barclay Head's Historia Numorum, and a book called something like Atlas of Coins that showed representative historical coins from various mapped areas.)  I also bought a copy of Sear's Roman Coins book (4th edition, the last single-volume version), and subscribed to a few dealer and auction lists.  My online participation also started during this period, as I read and posted to the Usenet discussion group rec.collecting.coins .  (If you remember Usenet, you can officially call yourself an old-timer.)  During this time I was mainly collecting Roman coins, with occasional Greek if they caught my eye.

During graduate school, I continued collecting ancients, though now only by mail as there was no shop near the university.  I started buying some of my coins through the Internet, through dealers with their own websites and from a place called eBay.  I also started expanding my interests to the East, first getting a copy of Mitchiner's mammoth work and then trying to collect representative examples of the various Hephthalite/Hun coinages.  My Parthian interest started during this time, and fortunately I bought both the Sellwood and Shore references right at the beginning.  I also started collecting Chinese cash as a side area.  Ever since, I've continued collecting mainly ancient "Persian" (Parthian, Sasanian, and related) with various others as they appeal to me.

Here's one of the first ancient coins I was able to identify back in '92/3, an AE3 of Constantius II:

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@John060167, you're due cordial thanks for your OP.  I'm getting the sense that when some people start a thread, they put some seriously strategic thought into what will take off, specifically as a thread.  Promise you, I've never evolved to that level, least of all articulately. 

...When I was a Really wee lad, my brother was already collecting American coins --mostly from pocket change; he famously found a 1951 Franklin half.  I remember it being nicely toned; hope he still has it.  But my introduction to ancients had to wait until the summer of 1968, when I was six. 

(...Yep, having, for one, watched as much as I could stand of the Huntley /Brinkley coverage of Martin Luther King's funeral, on our little b & w.  --I got mad, never mind bored out of my 6-year-old mind, by the unending succession of white guys in suits, going up to the podium to tell you why you should know as much about Martin Luther King as they did.  I was probably in bed before the good stuff, the cortege with the donkey, and Mahalia Jackson; it took decades to see that on YouTube.  But during our, um, immediately prior administration, I liked to say that being that age in 1968 was D-mn good practice for right now.)

Sorry for that (except, really, maybe not).  Anyway, it's the summer of 1968, and my immediate family are spending a week or two with the family of my dad's smarter younger brother, an assistant professor of anthropology.  We go to one common venue in the city (and it was one, which had its own, pronounced novelty value).  There's, Oops, a coin dealer.  ...Somehow my brother and I wound up with those ridiculous gold-colored 'souvenir coins' of the Beatles' first US tour.  (I can imagine that in pristine condition, one of them would still net you a downpayment on a mortgage.)  But he had some ancients.  One of them was an antoninianus of Victorinus, a coppery, red bronze, struck on a typically atrocious flan, but easily VF or better.  I remember wishing, from all I knew about Romans more generally, that Victorinus had laurels instead of a radiate crown.  And, regarding the Gallic Empire, I was completely out of my depth.  But it was Roman, and, at $6.50 (surreally overpriced, for 1968, but who was going to tell me that?), maybe the cheapest one he had on offer.

After the, what,  dollar and 34 cents I had (Big Money, for a 6-year-old in 1968), my uncle let me owe him for the rest.  ...I forget how, or frankly whether I ever paid him back.

...How I transitioned from cheap ancients to medieval would be a whole other story.  Time to shelve it for now. 

 

Edited by JeandAcre
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My journey started when I was around 8.  I bought two AE's from a junk box from a then-local coin store.  One's a Macedonian shield small AE, the other is more of a mystery.  Perhaps an As of Nero?  It will have to remain a mystery until my coin photography improves.

One has to fast-forward to about 1993.  My friend and I would frequent a decrepit flea market and one dealer had some ancients.  The first buy from him was a very pitted Trebonianus Gallus Antioch Ant.  My dad bought me some more coins from the local coin store and the hobby stuck.

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A brick and mortar shop got me started in the hobby. I used to frequent coin shops when I was a kid, but became interested in philately as a teen and young adult. I sold my coin collection (mostly US coins in Whitman folders with a few nicer coins) and delved deeply into stamps.

I used to frequent a good general coin and stamp store with coins and stamps from all nations of the world. They had a glass case of ancients as well as some antiquities.

I got into a situation in grad school where every stamp I needed was out of my budget. I was looking through the cases for something different one day and was struck by how inexpensive many of the ancient coins were. That started me thinking about taking up the hobby.

One day, this coin showed up in inventory and I bought it. Cheesy, I know, but I bought it because it was a tribute penny.

1880821576_TiberiusDenarius.thumb.jpg.42e268cb403d20d02ef4d9ce814838ad.jpg
In retrospect, I overpaid, but I have no regrets -- it introduced me to a hobby I love.

Every month or so, I added more coins, such as these three ...

Gallienus RESTITVT ORIENTIS Antoninianus.jpg
Nero and Poppeae.jpg
Claudius and Messalina Alexandria.jpg
I bought coins at shows from such firms as Jonathan Kern, Bill Rosenblum, and Pegasi, and got on mailing lists of various auction houses and fixed price dealers.

It was a fun time. The brick and mortar store is long gone, as are many of the dealers I met at shows back then.
 
 
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Since I was five or six I liked collecting foreign coins and paper currency. My mom often went on business trips, and my dad worked in Afghanistan on and off for several years so they'd bring plenty of that.

One time when my dad came back from Afghanistan he brought back a really ancient fibula which is what furthered my interest in antiquities. 

When I was ten my grandfather died, he left us a sizeable collection of world coins, Roman coins, Ottoman coins and others. I was always fascinated with history, but it was about two years after that when I really started reading extensively about it. Naturally I started to take more interest in that collection and it gradually developed into a really fun hobby.

I guess that all of these factors combined pretty much set the stage for the inevitable.

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Posted (edited)

Well, I first collected coins from pocket change as a kid in the UK. This was late 1960's - 1970's, pre-decimal, when one could still find 1870's "young victoria" pennies and the occasional gothic florin (2 shillings) in change. I'm not sure how that started though - I guess my Dad's idea rather than mine, with him having collected stamps when he was young. He'd go to the bank and get a couple of pounds worth of pennies (1 pound = 20 shillings x 12 pennies, pre-decimal), and we'd spread them out on the floor looking for rare dates, mints, etc. I think you're essentially born with the "collector bug" or not, and evidentially I have it or I wouldn't have found this interesting.

So, fast forward to adulthood, and one of my curiosities, being non-religious (scientific bent instead) was how come so many people were religious, and how did religions get started anyway - go from zero to millions/billions of believers?! Christianity seemed relatively accessible in this regard not being very old in the scheme of things, with a fair amount of surviving historical records, of one type or another, from the founding time period.

With that background, my adult/roman collecting started when I was browsing eBay about 20 years ago (probably looking for antique electronics, although I can't recall) and came across a Constantinian "Vrbs Roma" commemorative with the wolf+twins design... At that stage I knew next to nothing about ancient Rome, and certainly nothing about its mythical founders, but I did recognize the wolf+twins motif and was surprised it went back as far as Rome 🙄, so I bought it. With roman coins on my radar I now started looking for them deliberately (I think back then it was on Yahoo! as much as eBay), and next happened upon a Constantine I Soli Invicto type with an equilateral cross and star in field... That rather peaked my interest seeing what I assumed was a Christian symbol and pagan one on the same coin, so I bought that too!

I still have those first two coins:

image.png.9e43a2a1fecf4357f3a79a4e2c68dd64.png

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At this point I started looking into coins of Constantine and realized it was a very rich historical source, and understood how roman religion was changing during his reign, so made a conscious decision to collect his coins as a motivator to learn more about the time period (and earlier) and help address my "origins of Christianity" question.

So... at this point I've got over 1300 coins, mostly of Constantine, although I collect his peers as well. At the same time I've read what authors such as Ramsey McMullen, Rodney Stark and others have to say about the development of Christianity, as well as a ton of other sources, and have answered the Christianity question to my own satisfaction, but I still enjoy collecting! 😀 There's a ton that hasn't been written about Constantine's coins, and I think they do serve as an important primary source (in addition to the written, archaeological, etc sources), so my goal is at some point to write a book about them.

 

Edited by Heliodromus
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