Jump to content

Do you specialize in ONE emperor (or one theme) ?

Recommended Posts

Some collectors choose to concentrate on a certain theme, for example coins struck in a particular mint (Rome, Lugdunum...), a particular era (the Severans, the Tetrarchy...), a specific reverse (campgates, shields...), an emperor's family (Constantine, the Flavians) or sometimes on a single character. 

Some emperors represent a few tens of pieces, others several thousand. Constantin, for example, struck more than one hundred different types of reverse, by twenty workshops, up to 15 officinae per workshop,  with fifty different busts! Probus, with over 2000 different coins (200 reverse types, 50 bust types, around ten mints and up to 10 officinae … Hadrian, who visited the entire empire during his 20-year reign, produced in bronze and gold more than a thousand coins almost exclusively in the Rome mint. On the other hand, Titiane, wife of Pertinax, minted probably only one coin, with about ten copies known. Similarly, Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, has only two listed types, an antoninianus from Antioch and a tetradrachm from Alexandria, so a fairly simple collection to store!



I myself decided to specialize in the acquisition of the coins of the Emperor Victorinus, and I reached the threshold of 80 specimens very recently. The model for anyone dedicated to a single emperor is undoubtedly okidoki (Eric ten Brink), a Dutch Hadrian coinage lover who accumulated over 1,600 coins for that single emperor. (By the way, his entire collection will go on sale next July). 

I invite you now to tell us what emperor (or any theme) you collect, and how many coins you gathered over the years, If you can, show us a picture too. 


Edited by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix
  • Like 29
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

I was a one (or two) example of each emperor or personage collector. I have gotten much closer to this goal than I thought I would have been able to. However, I have to console myself on a few things. I will probably never get a Regalianus or (ahem) Sponsianus. I'm still missing Gordian I and II, Albinus, and Didius Julianus amongst others plus rulers after Honorius and Theodosius II.  If I am going to continue in the hobby I will need to specialize. So that becomes the $10,000 question. Whom to specialize in. 

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Myself, i try to collect a coin from each emperor, and have stopt collecting campgates ( from Constantine periode to Valentinianus III, have about 1400 of them ), my latest dada is monograms stopping at A.D.550. I am thinking of stopping with buying new material, i have to make an inventory from my collection.☺️

I will take a foto tomorrow.

Edited by mc9
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Myself I do not specialize in collecting the coins of just one emperor, however that being said I do have Emperors that for whatever reason I am willing to purchase yet more coins than what I current have one of these Emperors is Trajan. I have something like 20 coins of this emperor which makes him far and away the most coins I have of any emperor. 

Trajan Ae As 98-99 AD obv Head right laureate  Rv Victory flying left holding shield inscribed SPQR RIC 395 var Woytek 61a 12.43 grms 26 mm Photo by W. Hansentrajanas1.jpeg.64261cf5645db5eb1b20d38424e2d202.jpeg

What is curious about this issue is that the image seen on the reverse  essentially is a copy of the standard as struck by Nero. 

  • Like 20
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I primarily collect Constantine I (my avatar), but include his co-emperors and some tetrarchy as well.

I've currently got 1300+ coins, of which about half are Constantine himself.

Another Constantine specialist, Lars Ramskold, has just started putting his collection up for sale ... around 8000 coins, primarily Constantine, with about half of those just from the mint of Rome !

If you're not too familiar with Constantine's coinage it's easy to see it as boring - his 30 yr reign divided up into 3-4 time periods of numismatic stability where nothing much was happening ... but against this backdrop there are then numerous mint-specific and special-occasion types that add hugely to the variety. I'm not sure how many reverse types Constantine issued in total, whether for himself or others, but that 100+ number would be bronze only, and not including medallions. Maybe across all metals and including medallions it might be closer to 200 ?

Edited by Heliodromus
  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I collect one per emperor, but specialise in hoard coins (41 Roman hoards so far, so I have more of emperors who turn up in hoards - Hadrian, Gallienus, Tetricus, Probus, Constantius I, Constantine I, Magnentius, Julian, Gratian) and the London mint (so lots of the Tetrarchy and the Constantinians).

  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a generalist collector but I do have sub-collections that I concentrate on with different levels of seriousness at different times. Some examples:

- Peloponnesian War Coinage. 
- Nerva Antonine Denarii. 
- 12 Olympian Portraits. 
- Roman Republican buildings and myths. 
- 12 Caesars Denarii (new area for me)

Here is an example of my sub-collection of Nerva Antonine Denarii.


Edited by Curtisimo
  • Like 20
  • Clap 1
  • Heart Eyes 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm new enough to collecting that I haven't engaged in much specialization. I do have an interest in Constantinian history and coinage. Right now, I'm working on a portrait collection of Constantine's dynasty - so far, all from the Rome mint.

I'm less interested in collecting each Roman emperor than I used to be. I got as far as Commodus, but I have zero interest in shelling out $$$ for a poor Pertinax or Didius Julianus. And anyway I broke the continuity awhile back when I sold my Otho denarius. At this point, I'd much rather spend the money on a coin with an interesting story/history, than a mere placeholder in a list of Emperors. I've also grown to favor the Roman as (especially for mid-Empire coinage) because they are larger than the denarius but more affordable than the sestertius.


  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, Curtisimo said:

I am a generalist collector but I do have sub-collections that I concentrate on with different levels of seriousness at different times.

This is essentially me as well. I am a generalist who goes for what catches my interest but I have my favored areas, namely late Roman, Byzantine, and Ptolemaic.

Respect to those that can and do collect just one particular emperor, city, dynasty, etc., but I would get bored of this relatively quickly. Too many other interesting rulers, places, and history to ignore.


  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to do Gallienus, because cheap and interesting.

Lots of reverse types, lots of mints, and lots of different compositions, ranging from good silver to bronze, to silvered to plated to billon. Lots of fun


I like seeing how differently the portrait is depicted too, such as this funky nose here:


  • Like 13
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I specialize in the dopest coins I can find. As @Curtisimo has pointed out, it's way to fun to skip sub collecting. 

It's "hard" not getting a kick out of ancient nudity and sexuality. Especially on something as tangible as a coin. Coins that the pope refers to as boner and ass coins are a pretty fun sub genre. How many modern coins show men spanking it or pointing to the head of their massive erection?

 Here are a few:


I've also been having a good time buying coins of the Voivodes of Wallachia. This is where the REAL Vlad lll, better known as Dracula, comes from and what he was. My view, and most that know his story, is that he was a good guy living in a hard time. These guys were crusaders. I've none of him nor his father (though, I'm looking). But I do have coins of his grandfather, great grandfather, grand uncle, uncle and cousins!


Sex, horror, one of each emp, RRs, archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, medieval aside, yes I do have one area of study above all else. I have some 180 unique/different coins featuring the Macedonian shield. It's one thing to have 100 coins of the same thing. It's in the differences that we learn and can teach. 


Here's a fun golden, bronze age, shield boss to close things out:20230416_153710.jpg.bbc0ae444c386318589c54c71db91ba5.jpg

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm interested in too much to specialize too greatly.  Basically, if it's cool and it's ancient or medieval, I collect it.  However, there are genres which I like more than others, including:

imperial coins of Nero

Sestertii, Alexandrian Drachms.

Gallienus-era coins from Cologne.

Byzantine - Justinian Year 12 to 720s, 1092-1204.

Seleucid silver

3rd century Roman Balkan provincials

large AE's of the Ptolemies.

Roman republic; Sulla to 27 B.C.


  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When it comes to Roman coins, I tend to try a "one each" approach as much as makes sense - you can't just have one Trajan or one Marcus Aurelius, so I have several examples for them. I have incidentally collected a lot of coins of Constantine and Gallienus, because the supply of very nice coins is high while the demand is low - they come my way though group lots, and stay with me if they fail to sell.

My co-specialty, if you will, could be said to be coins of one emperor - Shahanshah Peroz I, or more specifically coins imitating his types, or more specifically, the types minted in India from the 6th to 13th centuries. I'm well over 2,000 by this point, and only missing about a dozen known varieties, which is counterbalanced by the roughly dozen unpublished varieties that I've discovered.

I took this photo while I was in the middle of moving my office around - it's grown a bit since then 🙂


My favorite type if Gadhaiya is my avatar - series 1.3.1 which was the "tipping point" coin that sent me down the rabbit hole to see what makes the series tick. It's one of the few types that I will buy even if it doesn't add anything new to the study. I have a few of them by this point...

(See if you can spot my avatar!) 20230416_192732.jpg.c781421384d73f43d6fcfbfc6cf7479d.jpg20230416_192746.jpg.8b57054865a7a4f9f305973c938c17c1.jpg20230416_192801.jpg.d45907369cb372352823670421d83562.jpg20230416_192814.jpg.7114732497e0c5731298a1b6d64b0e10.jpg20230416_192826.jpg.3419b7dbf79920309e0c988078a61795.jpg20230416_192842.jpg.14797a45dcca5a2d23f5dddf206d93e5.jpg

  • Like 15
  • Mind blown 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've moved from interest to interest over years as can been seen with the diversity of posts at http://www.sullacoins.com/ with 1st century Roman Republican denarii as home base.  A few themed sets have included a "provincial 12 Caesars"


and 2 sets of 12 Olympians

Roman Republican: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/12-olympians

Greek: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/12-olympians-greek-edition

Lately Islamic and Asian coins have been appealing and are often pulling me into the 13th and 14th centuries.


Islamic, Mongols, Great Khans, probably struck circa 618 until the early 620s, thus during Chingiz (Genghis) Khan’s lifetime AH 602-624 / AD 1206-1227

Æ Jital (23mm, 4.27 g, 3h) Badakhshan mint, undated issue, Album B1972





'Alā al-Dīn 'Alï (Ali Beg) (767-782 AH / CE 1366-1380) - Album 2324A AR akçe 1.61g, countermarked lillah in eye-shaped frame
on earlier type of the same ruler.  This coin seems to have a two sided countermark (both sides of coin) and is struck over this coin:




INDIA, Post-Mauryan (Deccan), Satavahanas (Andhras), Gautamiputra Satakarni, circa 53-78 CE

Drachm (Silver, 17 mm, 2.00 g).

Obv: Four-orbed Ujjain symbol overstruck on the portrait of Nahapana.

Rev: Three arched hill in center overstruck on Nahapana's bow and thunderbolt

Ref: Pieper 682

Notes: This coin was overstruck on a drachm of the Western Satrap Nahapana, probably a short time after Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated Nahapana, which according to R. Fynes took place sometime after 71 CE. Rare and beautifully toned. From the collection of Prof. Dr. Björn-Uwe Abels, privately acquired from Scott Semans in 1984.

Here's the latest coin from "home base": Plaetorius Cestianus 69 BC


M. Plaetorius M.f. Cestianus, AR denarius, Rome, 69 BC

Obv: Female bust right, draped and decorated with poppy heads; behind, control symbol

Rev: Winged caduceus; on right, M PLAETORI; on left, CEST EX S C

Ref: Crawford 405/3b; Plaetoria 6; Sydenham 805

  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

I have no one area of specialization, although I gave up a long time ago on any "one coin per emperor" ambitions.

I do happen to have a lot of Hadrian coins -- more than 40, including both Imperials and Provincials. Among them, I suppose one could say that I particularly like the Hadrian Travel Series coins, and coins from Roman Alexandria with interesting reverses such as those with animals and those reflecting traditional Egyptian religion/culture.  In fact, Roman Alexandrian coins with interesting reverses are a general area of interest regardless of the emperor.

I have more than 20 Trajans, and particularly like those related to Dacia.

Then there are my Gallienus animal reverses, whether from the Zoo Series, the Legionary Series, or the lion coins minted in Antioch. And there are the AD 248 animal reverses of Philip I and his family.

Late Roman AR Siliquae are another area of interest. 

And, of course, there are my 83 Roman Republican coins, all but two of them denarii.

I have posted examples of all or most of these fairly recently.


  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's interesting, to see what people collect, and how many coins they have. I'm a generalist. However, occasionally, I'll go off the deep end, in a particular area. I've been collecting ancient coins, and medieval coins, for 4 years. I've been collecting US and other modern coins, off and on, since childhood.

Here are my numbers, of my favorite coins, which I keep in 5 Abafil velvet trays. Each tray has only 1 compartment. Some categories overlap.
Greek And Nonclassical                  47       (47 Ancient)
Roman                                              47       (47 Ancient)
Byzantine                                         34       (34 Ancient)
China, Vietnam, Japan                    37       (12 Ancient, 20 Medieval, 5 Modern)
Medieval And Modern                     44       (11 Medieval, 33 Modern)
TOTAL ANCIENT                            140
TOTAL MEDIEVAL                            31
TOTAL MODERN                              38
TOTAL                                            209

Besides my favorites coins above, I also have a nearly complete collection of Lincoln cents from 1909 to 2009, which is my only "series" of coins, in which I ever wanted every coin in a series (in this case, every date and mint of the Lincoln cents). I also have some coins, which are less important to me, some ancient, some medieval, and some modern, in trays, in blue Whitman albums, in a small wooden chest, and in coin tubes. I also have some modern coins, which I keep, because they are made of precious metal, some of which I like to look at occasionally.
Here's my tray, which has my favorite Byzantine coins. Following a convention which many persons follow, I call all Byzantine coins "ancient", even though many persons call them "medieval". Partly because, in some ways, it seems like, time stood still, in the Byzantine Empire, which was the Eastern Roman Empire.


Edited by sand
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...