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The Rare Coins from the Classical Period

Updated on August 14, 2013

Old coins are interesting to look at, collect, and sell. They reflect a different time period. Who recalls the Buffalo nickel, the Indian head penny, the Kennedy dollar, the Liberty dime, even the two dollar bill?

Those are interesting to collect and can be worth considerable sums if in very good to near mint condition. But what about mankind's earliest attempts of producing money? Almost all of the ancient societies attempted to make coins, seldom was paper ever used. In ancient Greece and rome, coins were used to pay monthly wages for military personnel. Gold and silver coins were very valuable.

Perhaps the oldest of coins is the silver Greek coin from 465 B.C. There are only 10 remaining in the world and the coin is dedicated to the nymph Arethusa. The story is that she escaped from a male pursuer and had begged the god Artemis to protect her from sexual assault. The Greek god granted her the wish and turned this lovely woman into a stone statute. Other rare coins often depict other gods or creatures like the coin from 413-406 B.C. This depicts a fresh water crab and a female sea goddess Scylla in the water around the city of Akragas. On the flip side of this coin are two eagles that represent Zeus, who was appointed to protect the city. The reason was that city on Sicily was one of the richest in the region. From 326 A.D.,there is a coin commemorating Constantine who converted Rome from paganism to Christianity. From 137 A.D., there is a rare gold coin showing Hadrian's son, Aelius Verus.

When looking at these old coins, one cannot be amazed at the detail of them. The eagles are extremely detailed and artistic, the faces are well depicted and detailed. How did they make such coins with detail?

In ancient times, gold coins were only used to make large payments, silver coins were used to make modest payments and bronze coins were used for daily transactions.

The only museum dedicated to just rare coins is located at the Fine Arts Museum in Boston. No other museum in the USA is dedicated to just old coins and dedicated to ancient coins. The museum has 500 rare coins you can view out of a total of 7500.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      Yes, I use to have a collection. It is hard to make money off old money.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      I love rare coins especially from Rome. I have a modest collection of Greek and Roman coins. They are not worth a fortune but to me they represent a direct connection to ancient history and how can you put a price on that. Good hub. voted up.