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Books & References about Ancient Coins

Greek Coin References

You can understand the designs and legends on the ancient coins in your collection better as well as learn about the history of the ancient world by with help of the books on the list below.

Coinage in the Greek World, by Ian Carradice & Martin Price
Good general introduction to Greek coins linking history with the evolution of coin denominations.
Dictionary of Ancient Greek Coins, by John Melville Jones
Very handy for quick reference on the coin you’re researching. Dictionary of terms relevant to denominations, moneyers, types, mythology, games, economics, and much more.
Greek Coins, by Ian Carradice
An excellent introduction to ancient greek coinage. It is written in an accessible style that’s more dense than it seems at first glance. Overview of Greek coins and their regions of origin, from the 7th to the 1st century B.C.
Greek Coins and Their Values, Vols. 1 & 2, by David R. Sear
Contains a brief overview and then complete detailed listings. Volume 1 catalogues European Greek Coinage. Over 3,300 coins listed, with 1,500 illustrations. Volume 2 catalogues coins of Asia Minor, Africa and the Hellenistic Empires. Over 4,500 coins listed, with 2,000 illustrations.

Roman Coin References

Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins, by John Melville Jones
Very useful and comprehensive guide for coinage of this era.Traditional A-Z format, this dictionary lists deities, denominations, titles and many other topics.
Ancient Coin Collecting, Vols. 1-4, by Wayne Sayles
For anyone interested in collecting ancient coins, this book is a priceless resource and excellent teaching aid.
Extremely readable book with a ton of reference material and an index for further research in particular fields of study. Four separate volumes that give an in-depth overview to collecting ancient coins.
Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, Vols. 1 & 2, by David Vagi
Invaluable study of more than 550 years of Roman history and numismatics, in a two-volume set. Biographies of the emperors and their families based on current historical information. An indispensable set, destined to be a classic!
History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators, 49-27 B.C., by David R. Sear
Great reference work for the coin collector specializing in this pivotal period in history. It is also a well written history book. Offering lots of background information about the times and the people involved. Exceptional book that covers 435 coin types during this turbulent period of Roman history. Contains a wealth of historical and numismatic information.
Roman Coins and Their Values, Millenium Edition (in five volumes), by David R. Sear
One of the most highly acclaimed multi-volume, comprehensive references that catalogues thousands of Roman coins, spanning nearly eight centuries. Useful information on emperors, denominations, reverse types and mints.
Volume I: The Republic & the Twelve Caesars, 280 B.C. – A.D. 96
Volume II: Adoptive Emperors to Severans, A.D. 96-235
Volume III: The Third Century Crisis and Recovery, A.D. 235-285
Volume IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine, A.D. 284-337
Volume V: In preparation

Roman Provincial Coin References

Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt, by James W. Curtis
Essential reprint of a long unavailable reference that lists over 2,100 tetradrachms. Supplemented with article reprints, price lists and auction catalogues.
Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values, by David R. Sear
Very useful reference book for those really obscure coins that cannot be found online.Coverage of Greek coins during the 1st century Roman period, as well as Judean and Parthian coins.

Byzantine Coin References

Byzantine Coins and Their Values, by David R. Sear & Simon Bendall
There are many books on Byzantine coins, but most are very specialised with a hefty price tag. Sears’ book is the only one that covers the entire series in a single volume and is essentially complete.New comprehensive revision of the 1974 edition. Over 2,500 coins listed with extensive illustrations. This is the standard handbook on Byzantine coins for the collector.

Other Ancient Coin Books

Roman Base Metal Coins Guide, by Richard Plant
This guide is an affordable alternative to some of the seminal guides in the field. It is relatively easy to use, has a readable text, and some excellent illustrations. Includes hundreds of artists’ renderings accurately depicting bronze coins by emperor. This comprehensive book covers Rome’s Imperial period of coinage, from 27 B.C. – A.D. 476.
Guide to Biblical Coins, by David Hendin
For decades this has been one of the top references on the subject. This recent edition has many updates, including new discoveries, major auctions etc. Fifth edition of the most widely used reference in the field of ancient Judaean and Biblical coins. Describes over 525 coins in detail with current values, charts, line drawings and translations. Interesting and easy to follow.
100 Greatest Ancient Coins, by Harlan Berk
An insightful guide to the beauty and historical significance of ancient coins. Part of Whitman Publishing’s “100 Greatest” series, this is the first volume dedicated to non-U.S. collectibles. Handsomely illustrated in full color, this edition chronicles each ancient coin’s location in history. Glossary depicts featured coins at actual size for comparison. Hardcover, 144 pages.
Coins, Bodies, Games, and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece, by Leslie Kurke
Innovative, well-documented study of the ideological functions of ancient metals and money. Demonstrates how rival political groups in ancient Greece used coinage to imprint their views on the world, and reveals fascinating aspects of ancient Greek culture. Hardcover/softcover, 384 pages.
Classical Deception: Counterfeits, Forgeries and Reproductions of Ancient Coins, by Wayne G. Sayles
Book about ancient counterfeits made by ancient counterfeiters ( not to be confused with modern fakers creating fraudulent replicas of ancient coins). Very helpful to the modern collector, appraiser and general enthusiast.. Traces the history of well-known forgers, common fakes and manufacturing techniques. Tools and methods of detection are described, and a catalog of unpublished work by renowned coin reproduction artist Peter Rosa is included. Softcover, 196 pages with over 200 illustrations.
The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins, by Karsten Dahmen
Illustrated presentation of portraits and representations of Alexander the Great on ancient Greek and Roman coins for over 700 years from 320 B.C. to A.D. 400. The posthumous appreciation for Alexander’s legend on centuries of coinage is unique in numismatic history. Hardcover/softcover, 179 pages