Ancient coins

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Most people are amazed to hold an ancient Roman Empire coin believing it must be worth hundreds of dollars. Collectors know how common these are and what you should pay for them, if any.

An old scrap is in poor condition, corroded common imperial strike, like a Roman nummus (inferior cooper) coin of Constantine I, which was minted between 306 and 337. You can buy these on Etsy for $ 15:

These often show up at estate or online coin dealer auctions, some of which have been plated by NGC, though the $ 28 to $ 45 holding fee is more than the value of the item. Here is an example:

This nummus sold for $ 21 on HiBid:

In his honor, in addition to the publication on the auction site, the auctioneer has published four photos of this coin, which probably took 10-15 minutes of his time. After paying the consignor, he is lucky enough to get $ 5 for this effort. So he lost about $ 20 if you calculate the time and auction fees. The shipper paid $ 28 for slabing plus $ 15 for handling and shipping fees. He gets about $ 15 on the sale and loses $ 28. What about the buyer? He pays $ 25 for the buyer’s premium coin plus another $ 15 shipping fee. This is a $ 15 coin, so it’s worth $ 25.

The combined losses – auctioneer, consignor, buyer – amount to $ 73.

When you add all of that in, you have to wonder what these junk coins are doing in online auctions.

Any old man who refers to the Bible is likely to cost $ 30-40, regardless of value. Here is an example:

This is the only photo of this unidentified coin. But it sells for around $ 25-30. Why waste money on it when you can win a religious icon coin like this one at Great Collections for around $ 50 minus shipping:

Due to their indistinguishable condition, coins like the following cannot be offered in online auctions:

Such a specimen should be included in an inferior multi-coin lot, like this online example:

These are worth considering and are usually won with a bid of $ 30-35. They are great gifts for coin clubs for young numismatists, as they can spark a love for the elderly from an early age.

Conversely, do not bid on antique coin shards if you get intact examples as shown above:

If you’re interested in ancient coins and want an inexpensive one to add to your collection, consider a silver denarius, the Gordian III do this on Great Collections for around $ 50.

If you know your way around the ancients, like me, and discover a lot of them, you can get a great score:

I won this lot with a bid of $ 75, plated it NGC, and made hundreds of dollars in profit. I wrote about this for Coin Update in October 2020.

Have fun hunting, but know your prey before you bid.

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