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What type of collector are you?


What type of collector are you?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. What type of coin collector are you?

    • Have a target coin/type that you watch for a while before buying it.
    • Buy a coin that just comes your way.
    • Depends on the coin

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  • Poll closed on 06/14/2022 at 04:51 AM

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I tried to do a poll, but it didn't let me and showed me this 'Something went wrong. Check the values provided on the marked tabs and try again'.


1. Do you watch a coin/variety for a while before buying it, and do the research in the meantime.

2. Just buy the coin that comes your way.

3. It depends on the coin


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For my specialty Faustina mother and daughter collection, there are certain types that I have been looking for. When I see them, I buy them immediately, lest another collector snatch them up before I do. I definitely don't "watch it for a while before buying it."

But I'm still a magpie collector and I'll buy a coin that I happen to come across that tickles my fancy. This is often the case with Roman provincial issues, whose reverse designs have more variety than Such-and-Such Goddess seated left, holding this, that, or the other thing. Such was the case with this little chicken coin from Antioch in Pisidia!

Antioch Pisidia pseudo-autonomous assarion.jpg
Roman provincial Æ 13 mm, 1.2 g.
Antioch, Pisidia, time of Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
Obv: ANTIOCH, draped bust of Mercury/Hermes (head assimilated to portrait of Marcus Aurelius as Caesar), left; to right, caduceus.
Rev: COLONI, chicken walking right.
Refs: RPC IV.3, 7350 (temporary); BMC 19.176,1 (pl. XXXI, 1); SNG von Aulock 4916; Krzyżanowska 140–1, VII.7–9; cf. SNG BN 1067.

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I've been collecting ancient roman coins for a long time. I used to be in the "get a coin of every ruler and personage" club but since have focused on acquiring what pleases me and/or is rare or especially interesting, regardless of ruler. Coins of Roman Egypt and the 3rd century have been recent foci.

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So far, ive just been buying coins that came my way, because my buying options are limited to coin shops and markets, so i didnt really have much of a choice. In more recent times though, ive completely changed focus - my collection focus, and the way I buy coins. My new goal is to target certain types in a higher range and buy types ive been looking for instead of random coins that come my way. Im focussing on studying for now and will most likely not buy any new coins for a long time, I wont be able to because a lot of money goes to the Ukrainian refugees we are taking into our home atm. Hopefully this will help me to think my purchases through a bit more, though its difficult to not buy anything. Curious on other members answers!

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I enjoy my ancient historical specialties and niches.

I also just enjoy cool coins.

Again, I even enjoy some cool historical modern coins.

Oh, and Gold is always great.

i reckon I specialize in specializing in super broad categories.

Hmmm... I just like them ALL.


Marsic Confederation / Italian Allies
Social War 90-88 BCE
AR Denarius
19x17.9mm, 3.7g
Anonymous Issue, Corfinium Mint
Obv: Italia head, l, ITALIA behind
Rev: Oath-taking scene with eight warriors, four on each side, pointing their swords towards a sacrificial pig, which is held by an attendant kneeling at the foot of a standard. - Binding the Marsi, Picentines, Paeligni, Marrucini, Vestini, Frentani, Samnites, and Hirpini Tribes into the Marsic Confederation against Rome during the Social War
Comment: The reverse is based on the gold Stater and Half-Stater from the Second Punic War, and the Ti Viturius denarius...
Sear 227 SYD 621 SCARCE

Edited by Alegandron
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I may be making the typical mistakes a collector makes when collecting my ancients. Sometimes I think I might just be buying the stuff you experienced collectors consider quite common.

I might look for others with the same specifications, identifications, whatever you call it, and compare like example sold prices. If there are few to compare, I figure it might not be so common. If there are a lot, I compare the prices people paid.

None of that takes away from the fact that I like the coin.

My budget has been on average, probably $20.00 per coin. So of course, that tells me my coins are not rare.

I have become aware of those better coins I'd like to own. Those popular "Owls" and "Quadriga-zzzz". Owning an Alexander The Great would be awesome but I know as an experienced more modern coin and exonumia collector that I have to be more careful and informed before I pay the big money for the expensive ancients.

My only regret is that I didn't collect ancient or medieval coins much earlier in my lifetime. The history is so vast and interesting. I admire you knowledgeable collectors.

I gotta keep it interesting and fun and that is most important to me.

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I do not have a small niche to collect, but I don't buy whatever comes my way. For a while I contemplated the possibility to specialize on certain rulers, but I didn't find the idea that appealing. I like some rulers a lot - but not enough to buy more than, let's say, 10 coins/ruler. So if I want a new Antoninus Pius coin, for example. it needs to be an interesting reverse design or something similar. For a Pius specialized collector, obviously this doesn't apply.

So what I try to buy

- Greek coinage - interesting designs depicting animals or mythological scenes

- provincial coins - same themes; but when possible, I try to get rulers that are very expensive in Imperial coinage. Adding a provincial, let's say, Macrinus, just a quick example, with an interesting reverse, is better for me than a denarius with a common reverse. I also try to get coins with accurate portraits, as some provincial mints were not exactly well known for the accuracy of portraits

- Roman Republican - a theme I started recently because the average RR coin tends to be more expensive than the average Greek/Provincial/Imperial. I like historically important coins, one depicting mythological scenes in particular

- Imperial coins - same theme again. I focus on 1st-3rd centuries. For a while I wanted to deploy a 1 coin/emperor collection, but I don't like this idea anymore as some emperors are too expensive and for me, less interesting than others. I also tried to add as many empresses as possible.

Reverses are very important for me - after my collection grew I realized I want as few as possible reverses with "somebody seated or standing" as I want my coins to be as unique in my albums are possible. When I buy one of those (and of course I do) it's either an uncommon deity or a new emperor I wanted or a coin I just like.

Another rule I follow for my purchases - my wallet needs to like my coin as much as I do. I admire expensive coins, those that are very rare and in good condition but the financial effort needs to be proportional with my pleasure. I don't have expensive coins in my collection. A clear example - just witnessed a Julius Caesar dupondius, in a decent condition, hammering for 320 EUR. That is, probably, a good price. I would like that coin, but I don't like spending ~400 EUR on a coin. There are still plenty of attractive coins missing from my collection, that would cost much less.

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I collect English rulers and coins found in England. That means I have quite a restricted wish list (still enough to bankrupt me), but also a lot of scope for coins from different hoards to show up and tempt me.

For example, for Antoninus Pius, I originally had one coin on my wish list. But I ended up with a coin from Britain, a coin found in Britain and a coin associated with Britain...

Antoninus Pius As, 154-155


Britain or Rome. Bronze, 8.63g. Laureate head right; ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII. Britannia seated left on rock, resting head on hand, arms in background; BRITANNIA - COS IIII around, SC in exergue (RIC III, 934).


Antoninus Pius Denarius, 158-159


Rome. Silver, 16x18mm, 3.11g. Head of Antoninus Pius, laureate, right; ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P. Antoninus Pius, veiled, togate as a priest, standing left, sacrificing out of patera in right hand over tripod-altar left, and holding roll in left hand at side; beside altar, a prostrate, slain bull; VOTA SOL DEC II, COS IIII in exergue (RIC III, 291). From the Westbury Sub Mendip (Somerset) Hoard 2016.


Antoninus Pius As, 154-155


Rome. Bronze, 26mm, 10.41g. Laureate bust of Pius right, no drapery on left shoulder; ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII. Felicitas standing left, holding corn ears and winged caduceus; FELICITAS COS IIII, S C (RIC III, 937).

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I guess I'm a hybrid: eclectic enough to be interested in whatever tickles my esthetic and historical fancy, yet focused enough to have some area's that I frequently return to. So I do a lot of jumping around between different areas and era's: Greek, Aexander and Diadochi and satrapies, Roman before 211 BC.  What I buy depends mostly on a combination of budget, availability and mood. (Sadly, budget is the limiting factor here: my virtual wishlist is almost endless!😊)

Research? Depends. Beauty needs no research, it needs no justification. As for historical context: if a coin has been on my wishlist for a long time I usually already know what I need to know. Otherwise my rule of thumb is to do just enough research to confirm my interest in a coin, but not too much. This in order not to become too invested. Becoming invested means becoming attached, which, in turn, may lead to either paying ridiculous sums of money for a coin, or to severe disappointment when you end up the underbidder.. So, to protect myself, I postpone the fun of a detailed research until I'm sure the coin is mine.

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Started collecting British Colonial coinage about 30 years ago, still dabble now and then when something catches my eye....

Been collecting ancients about 10 years and my main passion is Kashmir although I will purchase anything that calls and especially like eastern mints. Abstract, slightly away from the norm, just something I find interesting....


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As a specialist I track coins and shoot immediately when a target shows up

As a generalist, when I see a coin that pleases my eyes, heart and wallet, I shoot immediately to snag it

Not sure it's a smart behavior though 😂


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36 minutes ago, DANTE said:

I guess I'm a hybrid: eclectic enough to be interested in whatever tickles my esthetic and historical fancy, yet focused enough to have some area's that I frequently return to. So I do a lot of jumping around between different areas and era's: Greek, Aexander and Diadochi and satrapies, Roman before 211 BC.  What I buy depends mostly on a combination of budget, availability and mood. (Sadly, budget is the limiting factor here: my virtual wishlist is almost endless!😊)


I'm pretty similar, especially the blue line, although I do have some specialties/favorites

Hellenistic Tetradrachms (esp. the large ones)

1st century Sestertii

Roman Egypt Drachms

Sestertii of 249-294.

nice patinas (any AE)

Byzantine; Justinian Year 12-early 700s.

Sassanian AR

Most of my buys are scoped out and bookmarked beforehand.  Some are opportunistic. 


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I often just buy what comes my way if it is interesting and a reasonable price.  But there are also certain coins I am looking for and have been waiting for the right one to come my way (for example, an Irish penny of king John - that’s been on the list for nearly 5 years now).  I also get distracted when reading books and wanting to get coins discussed in them, or coins that could be interesting examples of events I discuss in my classes.

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My collecting interests have shifted over the years. As a pre-teen in the 1950s American coins were my only interest because valuable & interesting coins could still be found in circulation ☺️. Mom worked as a bank teller & would bring me rolls of coins to search through every week. You could still find Indian-head pennies, V-Nickels, Barber coins, & commemorative half dollars in circulation in those days. As a young teen my father began taking me to coin shows & bought for me a Roman denarius of Septimius Severus, that coin triggered a lifelong interest in ancient coins 😃. In the 1980s I still collected American coins but took an interest in "crown size" world coins. When modern American commemorative gold coins appeared in the 1980s I went "hog wild" over these coins 🤣, buying MS70 & PR70 coins like there was no tomorrow. Boy, was I a jackass in those days 🤪... When I lost interest in those coins & began unloading them, I lost thousands of dollars of hard-earned money 🤑. Pictured below are a couple of those commemorative gold coins I kept.



Today I specialize in Diocletian era nummi, Roman provincial tetradrachms, Byzantine coinage, & Celtic coins, like the ones pictured below ☺️.








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I have never been one to focus on a specific set of coins, such as a one-per-ruler or 12 Caesars; only recently did I decide on obtaining a one-per-mint set of forward facing Justinian folles from the earlier years like 12, 13, etc. (basically the largest ones that are ~40 mm). I’ve instead always collected in a general manner from the historical areas and cultures that I am most interested in. I also have specific targets I am on the lookout for. 

That being said, these are the collecting areas I have the most interest in and focus on:

Early Greek (400s-300s BC)



Late Roman (Constantine I to Zeno)

Early Byzantine (491 to ~700 AD)

Migration Period/Germanic kingdoms

Western European medieval (up to 1000 AD)

Early Islamic caliphates


Edited by ValiantKnight
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I enjoy my ancient historical specialties and niches.

I focus on an historical approach to Ancients, with interest in pivotal junctures in Human History:

1) Roman Republic 
2) Those states, Empires, and entities that interacted with the Roman Republic
ie: Carthage, Makedon, Mamertines, Italia, etc.
3) Alexandrine

Other Ancients interests:
1) Ancient China
2) Ancient India
3) Egyptian Royal Scarabs

Areas of emerging Interest:
1) Celtic BCE
2) Sicily BCE
3) Fun issues

ETRURIA, Arretium (?). 
The Chiana Valley. 

Circa 208-207 BC.
Æ Quartunica .
Head of African right; monogram to left /
Indian elephant standing right, bell around neck; monogram below.
HN Italy 69; SNG ANS 41 (same obv. die); SNG Copenhagen 48 var. (no monogram on obv.). r

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My main collection aims for an overall view of world history from 500 BCE to 1500 CE.  (Well, only where coins were issued of course!)  I make checklists of important polities/people/events and try to get a coin to represent them.  You can see most of my spreadsheet sheets at the top here, and part of my medieval to modern Europe list (mostly I don't bother going past 1500).  A dark grey fill in a cell means "essential, need to get!!" 


But within those checklists there's still a lot of scope, so I can sort-of magpie it anyway; and if I like a particular area I might get more than one example. (Just bought another sceat, for example!)  Plus if I see a coin that's just super cool of course there will be a way for me to fit it into my historical scheme, right?! 😆

I pay a lot of attention to price... I hate to "overpay" compared to the market.  I never just "pull the trigger."  I do have a few "specialist" series I'm after where I'm willing to do this.  Plus a few essential slots left to fill in my original Rome/Byzantium emperor set where I might be willing to pay slightly over market if I have to.

Coin, along with my nearly completed Seleukid checklist:


Demetrios II Nikator. Second reign, 129-125 BC. AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 16.69 g, 1h). Antioch mint. Struck 129-128 BC. Diademed and bearded head right / Zeus Nikephoros seated left; Ξ to outer left, O below throne. SC 2166.2c; HGC 9, 1117b.


That checklist nicely illustrates how I can magpie things.  Antiochos IX wasn't originally on the list (you can tell, I switched to Greek spelling!), but I saw a cool coin for cheap so I bought it and added him in. 😏 This coin:


Edited by Severus Alexander
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Thank you for a great post, JayAg47

I love reading the comments about how forum members apply various strategies acquiring coins.


I collected Hendin numbers

I‘d thumb through David’s Hendin’s ”Guide to Biblical Coins Fifth Edition” using it like a shopping catalog — ”I want one of those and I‘m gonna‘ get one of those, and so on.) Ya'akov Meshorer’s ”Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum: Part 6: Palestine-South Arabia” is excellent also.

I collected exclusively Judaean coins until eventually branching out to Roman, Seleukid, Nabataean, and Indo-Skythian. 


A pie is worth a thousand words

This chart shows a guesstimate breakdown of my collection.


Edited by LONGINUS
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Like @LONGINUS, I collect mostly Judaean coins.  David Hendin’s Guide to Biblical Coins is like my Sears Wishlist catalogue from the 90s.  My wish list is long.  Lol

I also have a small collection  LRBs with Christian symbols like the Chi Rho.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our coin family, I now have coins in other areas such as other Romans and Greeks!

I’m going to take a slight detour from my main collecting areas for a bit and focus on coins with reptiles on them.  There’s one on the way now that I’m really excited about that replaces a coin I sold to my brother. 🦎

My brother collects randomly.  Lol  


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