Tuesday, June 16, 2015

References for Roman Republican coins

I bought my first Roman coin in the 8th grade. It was a Gallienus with a stag reverse, see below. I bought my second ancient coin after my children graduated from college, about 31 years later. It took some time to decide a collecting area. I became a Friend of the Rice library. They have an excellent selection of ancient coin books. I remember working hard to get the right RIC # for several 3rd century coins. When I decided to concentrate on RR coins, I started buying books. For the first couple of years, I spent about as much on books as I did on coins. I have the following list and a few more. My thoughts on references for collectors of Roman Republican coins and pre-coin money are:

·         Roman Republican Coinage, Michael Crawford, 1974, two volumes. This is the standard reference and by far the best book on the subject.
o   Crawford has several other books that should be added later.
·         Coins of the Roman Republic in the British Museum, H. A. Grueber, 1910 (reprinted in 1970), three volumes. Lots of interesting facts / stories to go with descriptions of the coins. I use Grueber for history and stories to supplement the information in Crawford. A good companion for this book is the British Museum web site listing of their coins. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/publications/online_research_catalogues/rrc/roman_republican_coins.aspx
·         The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 – 27 BC, David R Sear, 1998. The go to book for the Imperatorial period.
·         Italian Cast Coinage, Bradbury Thurlow and Italo Vecchi, 1979. The go to book for cast Roman Republican / Italian coins.
o   Italian Cast Coinage, Italo Vecchi, 2013. Revised with some new information and better pictures.
·         Roman Coins and their Values (Republic and 12 Caesars), David R Sear, 2000 (older versions can be found for lower prices). One of the Sear books is a good starting place for a new collector.
·         Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, Republic to Augustus, H A Seaby, 1967. Later publications are by David R Sear. I have an older version because it was $10.
·         The Coinage of the Roman Republic, Edward A Sydenham, 1952 (reprinted in 1975 & 1995). Sydenham numbers are still found in many auctions.
o   Aes Grave, Edward A Sydenham, 1926. An excellent reference, but not available and a bit pricey.
o   Collection of E A Sydenham, Aes Grave … This 1974 reprint of a 1928 auction catalog written in French has some excellent pictures. I am reminded that being mono-lingual is a problem when collecting coins produced in Europe.
·         Coins of the Roman Republic in the National Museum of Warsaw, Janina Wiercinska, 1996. I used this book a lot when I started collecting. It lists many of the common RR coins and has good pictures. It was helpful before pictures became more available on the internet. If I ran across a coin that did not have an attribution, I would start with this book.
·         http://www.acsearch.info/ This web site lists coins sold by over 100 companies. The pictures are exceptional. A good fraction of the coins are high end and the prices are thus skewed. You need to have a good guess to start searching, or finding something in 2.5 million files can be overwhelming.
·         http://www.cngcoins.com/Coins_sold.aspx CNG has sold ancient coins for many years and has a good archive. I have trouble at times making their search engine work.
·         http://www.deamoneta.com/history_search/index This is a smaller auction site, but has excellent archives. Cost to subscribe is modest.
·         http://stevebrinkman.ancients.info/anonymous/#H75-1c This web site shows how to differentiate anonymous denarius by Crawford number.
·         http://stevebrinkman.ancients.info/anonymous/AnonymousVictoriatii.html  This web site shows how to differentiate anonymous Victoraiti by Crawford number.
·         Essays in Honour of Roberto Russo, Ed. By P G van Alfen & R B Witschonke, 2013. Chapter IX by Andrew McCabe gives a provisional arrangement of struck anonymous bronze coins.
·         Aes Grave, E J Haeberlin, 1910, two volumes. An excellent resource, but is expensive and not very available. Reprints can be found at http://www.fornieditore.com The book can be downloaded online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/Search?ArianeWireIndex=index&p=1&lang=FR&q=Haeberlin
·         Le Monete dell’Italia antica, Raffaele Garrucci, 1885. Garrucci. I looked for this book because several pre-coin pieces (cast bars, aes rude, etc.) were described using plates from this book. The book is old, large and not very available. But… it can be downloaded online https://archive.org/details/lemonetedellital00garr
·         An excellent web site on Roman Republican Coins and Books by Andrew McCabe  http://andrewmccabe.ancients.info/ Be careful, I think this web site is the entry point for a black hole. I enter the site looking for a single piece of information and hours later I emerge better informed, but also dazed and confused. 

My Gallienus coin was similar to one listed by Forum Ancient Coins:

A couple of recent additions thanks to NAC. I will add more information as time allows.
 Denarius, Cr 89/2

Quinarius, Cr85/1a