Guide to buying Roman coins

Looking to start your very own ancient Roman coin collection? That’s absolutely fantastic! It’s a great hobby that will teach you stacks about ancient Roman history and coinage. Not to mention, it’s possible to put together quite valuable collection. Considering there’s so much money in this industry, you have to be careful that you don’t buy coins that are impossible to clean or worse yet, fake. This comprehensive guide has been put together to help you distinguish the bargains from the scams.


askforancientcoinsphotosMake sure that your seller either has or is willing to give you loads of photographs. Do the coins look too perfect or blurry? Is the seller unwilling to show you the coins in different lights, angles and  levels of detail? Run away in that case. Genuine sellers will not be afraid to get caught out, so they will be as helpful as possible. After all, they’re looking to make a sale.

Beginner? Spend little

Don’t get taken in by “bargain” offers if you’re just starting out. Imagine spending a couple of hundred dollars on a lot job only to find that they are either all fake or completely worthless. It’s a painful lesson to learn. The best thing is to buy small from several sellers that look reputable. Geting fakes is not actually a bad thing in this case, as you’ll be able to personally study them. As long as they’re not too expensive!

Ask lots of questions

Sellers are often passionate collectors themselves and are not looking to scam you. So just ask a lot of questions and you’ll be able to distinguish the genuine sellers from those looking to make a quick buck.

Watch out for FAKES!

Fake ancient Roman coins are a huge problem. It can be quite difficult to figure it out, especially if you’re looking to buy online. Even I still make mistakes. However, there are still a couple of easy to spot warning signs! Firstly, understand that most of the fake ancient coins are produced through medal castings into moulds. This results in a different surface to the real thing. For example, you might be able to see pits or bubbles on the surface of the fakes. You’ll also see that sellers (stupidly) offer the same exact coins. This is a fantastic indicator as real ancient coins will never look exactly the same.

Patina? Good!

patina-coinPatina is something that you’ll see plenty of on ancient Roman coins. It develops over time as a result of oxidation. It’s tempting to think about buying at a nice shiny coin being offered on Ebay. However, this usually means one of two things. It’s either fake or the cleaning has actually damaged the coin and its value. Additionally, there’s even the problem of ‘fake’ patina. Told you that collecting ancient coins is a risky business! If the patina found on your prospective coin is perfectly uniform in color and layering, be very suspicious. It’s very possible this has been added on purpose to make fake coins look more realistic. It’s funny to see the extent that a scam artist will go to!  

Hope you’ve found this guide useful. If you have any questions, please let me know. Looking for a  reputable seller? I’ve found a lot of good stuff on this website. They’re one of the leading sellers online and they have loads of good info.

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