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Which is the best book to start about ancient greek coins ?


Kosmas
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8 minutes ago, Etcherdude said:

@Kosmas

As a novice relative to many members here, I found this book to be a useful introduction for the coins of Alexander and the for Diadochi and it’s priced reasonably.

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Has it also Alexander the great lifetime coinage ?

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An excellent starter book that's inexpensive is ANCIENT COIN COLLECTING II, Numismatic Art of the Greek World, by Wayne Sayles. The book is 197 pages with excellent illustrations & useful info. I've seen used copies for sale around $15.00.

1913262533_AncientCoinCollectingII.jpg.ad6ba69e202d9310209d9aa2b21ef0a7.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Al Kowsky said:

An excellent starter book that's inexpensive is ANCIENT COIN COLLECTING II, Numismatic Art of the Greek World, by Wayne Sayles. The book is 197 pages with excellent illustrations & useful info. I've seen used copies for sale around $15.00.

1913262533_AncientCoinCollectingII.jpg.ad6ba69e202d9310209d9aa2b21ef0a7.jpg

Thank you !

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Posted (edited)

I highly recommend Archaic and Classical Greek Coins by Colin Kraay. It's a little more advanced than a "starter" book and not cheap, but imo it is absolutely the best single volume overview of Greek coins ever produced. If this isn't a typo or other mistake, this listing of a 1976 first edition at $69 is an absolute steal; even the 1993 Durst reprint is generally twice that:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=31204716296&searchurl=isbn%3D9780416123104%26n%3D100121503%26sortby%3D17&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-image1

Edit: The book recommendation stands of course, but I notice that the underpriced copy in the link is now sold. Hopefully to a member of this forum!

Edited by Phil Davis
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There are some excellent titles in this thread, but I think the OP's key word is "start." At the very beginning stage, I think it's best to have a good, pedagogical book rather than a specialist's tool or an exhaustive tome.

I would recommend two books: the Sayles work (which I still need to finish reading) mentioned above, and Paul Rynearson's "Collecting Greek Coins." 

In fact, I recommend Rynearson's work very highly. It doesn't overwhelm the page with dense, tiny text, and the book features beautiful colour photographs on nearly every page, if I remember correctly. And yet despite the easy-on-the-eyes layout, this book will teach you a lot. It gives a very broad overview of both ancient Greek coins and the collecting of them. And don't be fooled by the subtitle about 25 coin types; in fact, many more are discussed. 

In contrast, Sayles' work is much more text-based, and I feel that it would be better as a second book, to be read after Rynearson. I haven't opened it up in a long time because of life issues, but I remember being very impressed by how much that book had to teach. But I still think you should buy Rynearson first.

The only problem is that it appears that the Rynearson work, which is quite new, is out of print. I recommend searching Abebook for a used copy. It will be very much worth your while.

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9 minutes ago, NathanB said:

I recommend Rynearson's work very highly

My web page I recommended above says,

Collecting Ancient Greek Coins: A Guided Tour featuring 25 Significant types, by Paul Rynearson. This is a far better book than I expected. This book has a misleading title. It is better than the title suggests because it discusses far more than 25 "types". By the usual use of the word "types" he discusses 180 types. For example, he calls coins of Alexander the Great one type, but discusses eight coins with significant differences within that one "type."
   Rynearson makes numerous observations about quality that most books don't mention. His comments are not just about the type of coin but about the particular coin he has illustrated (in color, with excellent larger than life size photos). His comments about style and surfaces should be of interest to anyone collecting very high quality coins. I think it is a little like having an experienced expert at your side telling you how to evaluate a high-quality artistic coin.
   At the back he has one side of each of the coins illustrated again, life size, so you can get a feeling for their sizes (each large photo has the size in mm, but collectors might appreciate seeing the actual sizes).
   It is a very good book if you can find it for a low price, but I just searched for it (Sept. 2021) and found amazingly high prices. I got my copy on eBay for much less than the $35 I'm seeing as the lowest price on eBay or Amazon or AddAll.

 

One consideration is that Rynearson dealt in high-end coins and emphasizes outstanding coins. I think even a beginner on a low budget will enjoy the book, but there are books which are more general, such as John Anthony's book which I reviewed this way:

Collecting Greek Coins by John Anthony is a well-illustrated and inexpensive introduction. It is not a price guide, and not quite a "how to collect" book either, but it  discusses the coins of the most prominent city-states (Athens, Corinth, Syracuse, etc.), the Hellenistic Kingdoms, the East, and has a chapter on thematic collecting. I recommend it.

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