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2024 Ancient Coin Resolutions


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One practice I've lived by for some time is to create a list of resolutions, make it public, and then measure myself against them at the end of the year.

With that in mind, here are the resolutions for this year. Feel free to share yours!

Looking back at my previous resolutions

  1. Improve my Cities of Philip II, Alexander III, and the Era of the Diadochi - My hope was to whittle my People of Philip II, Alexander III, and the Era of the Diadochi collection from 8 and to improve my cities collection. These I accomplished. I'm now down to 5 on my People collection (after expanding it by a few) and I've amazingly accumulated 336 of the 387 targets for my Cities collection. Not only that, but I narrowed down my Kingdoms After Alexander collection (32 target coins) to only one remaining. I also completed my Bithynian Bridge and 10,000 collections, so it was a phenomenal year.
  2. Redo my photography technique - Well, I technically accomplished this because I purchased some specialized plates and built a new setup for axial lighting. That being said, I still have far to go. 
  3. Redo my AncientCoinStories web site. Yeah, FWIW I did start this work. The new site will be data driven and I completed the database. I use this for auto-generating my album pages. However, I still have work to do on the authoring and page generation.
  4. Read 50 books - I read 67. Of interest on this forum, I completed I, Claudius, Herodotus, Terence's The Comedies, Platus' ComediesThe Elephantine Papyri in EnglishThe AeneidLeucippe and Clitophon, a book on Aramaic, Pindar's OdesDemetrius Sacker of CitiesEleusis and the Eleusinian MysteriesDelphi by Michael Scott, The Homeric Hymns, Polybios' Histories, CallirrhoeAn Ephesian Story, Aristotle's Politics, Sappho, Daphnis and Chloe, Justinus, MetamorphosesMiletos by Gorman, The Golden Ass, and finished Pausanias.
  5. Complete the drafts for my new 'Macedonians' novel and sequel - Yeah, this didn't quite happen. I got 150 pages into it but the readings just weren't as enthusiastic and I felt the work needed to be redone. I then transitioned to my upcoming book All the Wonderful People, which is heavily influenced by Homer and Ovid. Most of my writing time was spent helping my wife get her own book out - Real Estate Investing: Nothing Held Back

Resolutions for 2024

  1. Make further progress on my current collections. The 5 remaining (of a 119 total) people on my list will be tough, but I'd love to acquire one of them. Of the 51 cities remaining, I'd like to add at least 16. They're much tougher to acquire now. I've also started to  I've recently started two smaller collections that I haven't announced yet. For one, I have 4 of 9 targets, and I believe acquiring 4 more should be doable. For the other, I have 4 out of 36 and I'd like to add 10 more.
  2. Buy fewer coins. I simply added too many this year. As my targets have become tougher, I've been participating in fewer auctions. I need to continue that because the rate is not maintainable.
  3. Redo my photography technique again. I know what I need to do and have an idea how to build it out of Legos. Unfortunately my wife sold all my Legos, so I need to buy some.
  4. Complete by AncientCoinStories web site. I have no excuses now since a lot of the work is done. I expect to spend a lot of time authoring material.
  5. Read the full Plutarch and Josephus. I have both, but I just need to sit down and read them. They're the last major ancient works covering this time that I haven't read. 
  6. Complete the draft for "All the Wonderful People" and one other book. Again, this should be an easy one since I've already started.

Here's a coin since this is a coin site. It's my lone "triple hit" because it qualifies for three separate collections.

  1. Cities - Bizye, Thrace
  2. The 10,000 - Seuthes I or II
  3. Ordysian


Kings of Thrace. Seuthes I or II
Bizye, Thrace
405-387 BCE
Æ 12 mm, 1,13 g
Obv: Horse prancing right; crescent above.
Rev: ΣΕ/Β/Ι around cotyle; all within square incuse.
Peter ---; Topalov (2005) p.13 No 10; Youroukova ---


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Redo the photography technique?!  I wish I could achieve photographs like that.  My coin photographs are terrible. If I could buy a ready-made lightbox, I could probably fix that.  The vacation pictures were also great!  My regular photos aren't terrible, but nothing like that.

Here's wishing for successful resolutions! (I caught an unfortunate ? typo there).

My coin resolutions: Buy coins which strike my fancy.  With property tax re-evaluations and my new car bumping up my insurance a bit, I might have to cut back a little.  The insurance probably won't cause too much of a hit.

I guess having the Inner Sanctum/Pennywise house does have some advantages, less taxes.  Hey, it was free and the roof's good.  If it's free, it's for me.






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  • Benefactor
11 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Redo the photography technique?!  I wish I could achieve photographs like that.  My coin photographs are terrible. If I could buy a ready-made lightbox, I could probably fix that.  The vacation pictures were also great!  My regular photos aren't terrible, but nothing like that.

Thanks! For illustration, here are two examples with last year's technique (one bronze and one silver)


MYSIA. Plakia. (4th century BCE)
Ae 1.54g 11.80mm
Obv: Turreted head of Kybele right.
Lion, devouring prey, standing right on grain ear right.
SNG BN 2378-82; BMC 5



Paphlagonia, Sinope. Ariarathes I of Cappadocia
Circa 325 BCE
AR Drachm 5.53 gm, 17mm
Persic standard
Obv.: 'm in Aramaic, head of the nymph Sinope to left, her hair bound in a sakkos, wearing triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace; to left, aphlaston.
Rev.: 'ariyrth' in Aramaic, sea-eagle with spread wings standing on a dolphin to left.
HGC 7, 434; SNG BM Black Sea 1459; SNG Stancomb 761


In this case, I placed a small Lego piece on a Lego axel, then covered it with black felt and placed the coin on top. Lighting was done with a twin-light flash mounted on my macro. The reflection was handled by aligning a black reflective board next to the coin.

The bronze has definite problems. This is a pretty coin but the photo doesn't do it justice. The colors just aren't there and it's way too dark. The silver coin is a bit better, but this is also a very pretty coin and the image could certainly use more "oomph". In particular there are too many dark spots on the obverse. Both coins have a problem with overblown parts.

Here are two examples with this year's setup.


Adramytion, Mysia
360 – 340 BCE
Ae 12mm, 1.7gms
Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right
Rev: Forepart of Pegasos right; ADPAMY around
Klein 246



Boeotia, Koroneia
Circa 400-350 BCE
AR Obol 11 mm, 0.81 g
Boeotian shield
Rev. K (retrograde) - O Gorgon's head facing, of Classical style.
BCD Boiotia 171a (same reverse die). BCD Boiotia II 578 (this coin)
Ex Dr. Paul Peter Urone Collection
Ex BCD Collection
Ex Classical Numismatic Group 2006


Here, I've switched to Axial lighting using a glass plate purchased off EBay and an Einstein monolight. The platform is a bit bigger and still uses the black felt.

Maybe these are improvements, but there are just as many problems. The bronze is still too dark, though the overblown highlights are gone. The problem is I have difficulties increasing the brightness because the background no longer falls off the sides. That means it's bright enough that I need to manually remove it in Photoshop, which results in an unnatural edge. I'd solved that earlier by using as small a platform as possible (ideally smaller than the coin) so the black felt below would be "really black".

On the silver coin, the lighting is just as uneven. This is because it's difficult to find the right balance for the glass plate. I have to move it by hand and eyeball it. This should be a case where axial lighting is perfect, but my setup just didn't work out.

The answer is to do the following:

  • Create a contraption that allows me to adjust the angle of the glass plate in small increments and hold it there. I believe this should be possible with some Lego gears. Contrary to what's written everywhere, I don't believe it always needs to be at 45 degrees. I find that it differs by coin.
  • Similarly, allow the plate itself to be adjustable in the X and Y directions. There are contraptions that can do this, but again I suspect it will be cheaper to accomplish with Legos. Combined with moving the angle of the plate, this should help me achieve the perfect lighting per coin.
  • Switch the stage to a small one that can be changed depending on the size of the coin. This should dramatically improve the ease of separating the coin from the background and remove the hated jagged edges from manually doing this.
  • Put the camera on a stage to adjust it manually. I already know the parts necessary to accomplish this. I currently shoot handheld, so this will help me get much sharper images since it's difficult to not hold it at some angle.

The only problem right now is I've been spending too much on coins, so I haven't been able to budget for the stage and Legos yet. 🙂

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Excellent idea for a thread and excellent idea overall. 

My numismatic (and related) goals for 2023 were:

1. Buy less coins, less impulse purchases and snacks (especially if they are not very interesting). They cost money. And 5 random purchases are equivalent to a good, much more relevant coin -> checked. Although the number of acquired coins in 2023 is still large (57 coins plus a surprise on the way arriving next week, from an old friend) I can say I fulfilled this. In 2022 I have bough 109 coins. 2021 - 142. 2020 (and I started this hobby in October) - 110. 
57 coins is probably still a lot, but it is an improvement from last years. Of course, a reason is that I acquired coins that were on my bucket list so I am not tempted to buy this and this and this and that.

2. Acquire targets that were important for me. I am a generalist collector but there were some coin types/rulers/cities that were very important for me -> checked. I bought some Trajan types that were very important for me, a Thasos drachm with satyr and nymph, an Augustus denarius, a Galba from Alexandria (that closed my 12 Caesars set - this was not even a target), some RR important coins, to name just a few examples. Overall this went better than expected. 
3. Arrange and uniformize my own catalogue of coins -> checked. This meant uniformizing all my descriptions, to follow the same pattern - this sounds easy but it was hard work as I noticed I did not follow the same style when writing descriptions.  Measure/weight the coins when needed as I wanted these details for all the coins. Photograph all the coins as, even if my photography skills are not exceptional (unlike @kirispupis and other colleagues) I still feel it is "my duty" when I present a coin, to use my own work, not the seller's. Even if this was also hard work as some coins were difficult to photograph as I am total amateur in this area. 
4. (directly linked with 3) Create a catalogue of my collection, on paper. This was a random idea I had. I just wanted my collection as a book, with a book introduction written by me -> checked. I found a local copy center and the price for producing a book was not as bad as I was expecting. And the quality of the books is OK. I also designed the covers, using pictures of  my coins. I gifted a few copies to close friends. If and when I decide to quit acquiring coins, I will order a definitive edition, with hard cover. 
5. (and I am glad you mentioned this) - read books connected to antiquity -> I read a few. I find them very relaxing. I recently discovered the author Valerio Massimo Manfredi  and I am currently reading the 1st book in the Alexander trilogy. 

My goals for 2024 are:
1. Continue reading books (mainly fiction) related to antiquity. 
2. Buy less coins. I intend to limit the purchases to 25. Less would be better
3. Concentrate on the remaining targets/bucket list coins. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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I think for 2024 I want to focus more on quality rather than quantity. I'd also like to purge my collection of some 'dead weight' coins - ones that don't really contribute much to my collection.

I'd also like to slow down a bit on purchasing, and focus on finishing cataloging my collection.

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This is always a fun and interesting topic. Looking back in time, it seems that I made and published New Year Resolutions in December 2021 on Coin Talk, but I didn't publish any New Year Resolutions in 2022. However, my main resolutions for 2022 and 2023 were the same. To spend less money, and spend less time, on coins. I have a tendency to become obsessed with things, and coins has been 1 of those obsessions, since 2018 when I started collecting ancients and medievals. I have other interests, on which I hope to spend more time in 2024. However, I still enjoy looking at coin forums, almost every day.

During 2021, my peak year of spending on coins and coin books, I spent a huge amount of money, for me, on coins and coin books. I don't have a handy list, but I know it was a lot. In January 2022, I started keeping a handy list of coin purchases, and coin book purchases, and a monthly budget for coin and coin book purchases. That opened my eyes, to how much money I was spending on coins and coin books. In 2023, I have spent 29 percent, of the total that I spent in 2022, on coins and coin books. In other words, in 2023, I have spent less than 1/3 of what I spent in 2022, on coins and coin books.

For 2024, I plan to spend even less money on coins and coin books. I'm pretty happy and content, with the coins I have. I want to spend more time, learning about the history of the coins, which I have. Also, I've been buying more world coins lately, which often cost less than ancients and medievals.

For 2023, I was hoping to take more photos of my coins. In 2023, I was able to photograph all of my Byzantine coins, for @Severus Alexander's thread "The epic Byzantine portrait thread". That thread was good motivation for me, to take more coin photos, and to learn more about my coins. And, I really improved my photo process and technique. But, taking coin photos for that thread, took so much time, that I haven't photographed any of my coins since then. Even with my improved photo process and technique, it still takes me 6 hours to photograph a single coin, because I have such high standards for my coin photos. For my 2023 Top 10 list, I resorted to using seller photos, something which I had hardly ever done before. However, whenever I create my own thread, with 1 of my coins, then I still plan to take my own photos of the coin.

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Looks like my interest in ancient coins have plateaued for now, I added most of my want list coins, especially the coins of Nero, Caesar, Augustus, silver and gold issues of Cholas, tetradrachms of Athens and Alexander, including the Lysimachos coin with the actual portrait, and even a couple of ancient gold including that one of Basilisicus (totally unexpected) minted right around the fall of Rome. I don't know what more to look for given my interest and budget. Perhaps a 12 Caesar's set? other than a fourree Tiberius, I need Claudius, Caligula (purchased but not yet shipped by the seller), Galba, and Otho – the last one being unlikely to acquire anytime soon, if ever. May be an Aureus? staters of Greek cities? but the problem with the last two are budget and eye-appeal. For me, an aureus should weigh more than 7g, not drastically off-centered, no scratches but honest wear, and should be reasonably priced (although still beyond my budget range for now). As for staters and tetradrachms from Greek states, my primary reason for buying them would be for art and eye-appeal. I'm not going to spend 100s on a compromised coin just to tick off the city, a mistake I've made before and hope to avoid repeating.

Edited by JayAg47
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I'm sure I'll end up purchasing some interesting coins in 2024, that always takes care of itself.  The one solid numismatic goal that I will set for the new year is to finish cataloguing all of my collection, including the long-dormant Chinese cash section, into Excel spreadsheet format.  

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Add a few solidi of some more obscure Byzantine rulers, not just Heraclius or Justinian. 

Also, finally pick up a tribute penny of Tiberius. Maybe add an Aemilianus sestertius or ant in good condition. The last is one of the few "mainline" imperators that I don't have.


Edit: Also Gordian I and II preferably in sestertii

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Wow, that's a good number of resolutionss @kirispupis! Quite ambitious and I wish you all the best with accomplihing them. I also like reading other members' resolutions, including the "I wish to spend less money on coins". Good resolutions, untill the next auction arrives, or the favorite sellers list: "oh thats a nice coin, I'll guess I'll buy it then..." I've been absolutely guilty about that too 🤣

But on a serious note, last years has been a difficult year health wise. Next year I will cut down on my working hours, and undergo additional healthcare. So less income, which makes spending less on coins a fact in stead of a resolution, I'm afraid. I have no idea how 2024 will look like in that sense, I'll see. 

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1. Finish my Twelve Caesars collection.  As of this typing, I still lack Julius Caesar and Vitellius, and need a Caligula to replace one I bought which I am dissatisfied with.

2. Get an Akragas "crab" coin.  A tetradrachm if I can afford one.  But if not, a silver crab of some kind with nice eye appeal.

3. Get a gold "elephant" pagoda from the Gangas of Talakad in medieval India.  Again, with nice eye appeal, elephant's head all on the flan, etc.

4. Have fun and learn more.

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