3 Characteristics to Consider When Purchasing Ancient Coins

17 June 2020
 Categories: Finance & Money, Blog

Almost every civilization throughout history has relied on some type of monetary system to standardize trade. The pervasiveness of monetary systems gave rise to multiple coins in varying denominations and styles.

Collecting these coins can give you a unique connection to ancient societies. Ancient coins were not manufactured in the same way as modern coins. No centralized mint existed in most ancient civilizations. As a result, individual coins can vary in their quality and design.

These variations make evaluating the coin more complex than evaluating modern coins. Detail, strike, and surface quality are three characteristics that must be taken into consideration if you want to invest in a quality ancient coin.

1. Detail

Ancient coins were produced in mass quantities, despite the lack of manufacturing equipment available in ancient times. Special dies were created to help ensure a standardized image appeared on all coins from the same civilization. The quality of these dies can have a direct impact on the value of an ancient coin.

Some leaders commissioned the most renowned artists of the time to create the dies for the coins. Other leaders relied on basic tradesmen to create their dies instead. Some people think the dies that were created by skilled artists contain more detail and nuances than those created by tradesmen.

Detailed ancient coins can be classified as miniature masterpieces. You want to look for coins that have clear and precise detail in the design on both the front and back of the coin. The better the detail of the coin, the more likely the coin will retain its value over time.

2. Strike

Striking was integral in the creation of ancient coins. Blank metal rounds were created in a variety of sizes and materials during the ancient coin manufacturing process. The approved die would be placed on the metal round, and a hammer would then be used to strike the die.

When done correctly, each strike would create a clear image on the surface of the metal rounds. Strikes can have a significant influence on the value of an ancient coin. When you are looking to add a new coin to your collection, you want to evaluate the quality of the strike carefully.

A good strike will feature a design that is centered on the metal round. There will be no blurring of the image outline, but a sharp and defined image. All of the impressions should be roughly the same depth on an ancient coin that has been struck properly.

The strike has a direct impact on the value of an ancient coin because it is the strike that helps determine the clarity of the image printed onto the coin itself.

3. Surface Quality

Ancient coins have had to weather the sands of time for thousands of years. Methods of evaluating the surface quality of ancient coins can vary drastically from the methods used to assess more modern coins as a result of this age.

You want to look carefully at an ancient coin to determine if any mineral deposits are present on the surface. Mineral deposits can obscure the imagery on the coin, reducing its overall value.

You should also look closely at the edges of each ancient coin you consider purchasing. It was common practice for vendors to file the edges of ancient coins in order to collect some of the valuable metal. Filed coins have a lower resale value than coins whose edges are intact, so look for this type of surface damage before committing to a specific coin.

To learn more about ancient coins from various civilizations, visit a store that offers ancient Egyptian or byzantine coins.