Coins & Money

Are Ancient Coins Good Investments?

Coins of the ancient world have been collected for centuries. Images of Roman civilization and biblical references come to mind minted on precious metals like gold or silver. Remarkably these coins were hammered as the primary form of minting in history.
Collectors Dashboard evaluates and analyzes collectibles as an alternative asset class, and it has become undeniable that collectors and investors are competing for the exact same assets in many of the top auctions. In fact, money that would have otherwise been invested into stocks or bonds may just as easily be invested into coins, stamps, fine art, sports memorabilia and so on. Ancient coins have their place within numismatics and historical investments.
A process of placing the planchet onto what will become the coin and striking it with a hammer was generally used to create the image on ancient coins. Each ancient coin is therefore created by human hand rather than by massive machine operations of the modern times.
The Byzantine Empire is the branch of Roman Empire that survived in the East when the Western Empire fell in the West in 476 ACE. Coins from this era depict images of Christ as the empire had adopted Christianity as its primary religion. Byzantine gold coins are all sold in the thousands of dollars.
NGC is a top grading service for Ancient coins and considered an industry standard built on investment trust. Ancient coins can be novelties but gold ones do command premiums. The website currently has several coins listed from the era:
  • Byzantine Empire Justinian II AD 685-695 AV Solidus (4.50g) First reign. Facing bust. rv cross-potent on steps. graded CH/MS — For Sale $3,295.00
  • Byzantine Empire Justinian II AD 685-695 AV Solidus (4.27g) First reign. obv Christ. rv Justinian II w/cross. graded MS — For Sale $4,195.00
  • Byzantine Empire Justinian II AD 705-711 AV Solidus (4.35g) Second Reign. Scuff. Christ/Just.II & Tiberious. graded MS — For Sale $5,395.00
Heritage Auctions is a resource to both find and better understand the price adjustments of ancient coins. The first understanding is how many times the land changed hands in places like Greece, Turkey, and the surrounding region. Coins sold through Heritage offer a spectrum of these locales. Here are recent sale prices of ancient coins and their descriptions:
  • Ancients: Roman Empire. Claudius – Philip I. Lot of three ancient plated coins, sold April 10, 2014 for $1,116.25
  • Ancients: Ancient Lots Roman Imperial. Julia Domna (AD 193-217). Lot of four (4) AR denarii. NGC grade XF, sold September 30, 2020 for $504.00
  • Ancients: Ancient Lots. Roman Imperial. Julia Domna (AD 193-217). Lot of two (2) AR denarii. NGC grade Choice VF, sold September 30, 2020 for $156.00
  • Ancients: Ancient Coin Jewelry. Eastern Roman Empire. Theodosius II – Zeno (AD 402-491). Pair of AV solidi mounted in cuff-links (22.41 g…, sold January 6, 2014 for $940.00
The popular auction site eBay also has many sales to track. There have been many sales which are surprisingly not up in the stratosphere considering the age and history:
  • June 17, 2021 Byzantine Constantine IX Monomachus 1042-1055 Gold Histamenon Nomisma NGC grade Ch. AU, sold for $1,299.99
  • June 17, 2021 Ptolemaic Kingdom ~ AR Tetradrachm Ptolemy I ~ 305-282 BC ~ VG ~ Alexandria NGC grade VG, sold for $250.00
  • June 17, 2021 Roman Empire Antoninus Pius AD 138-161 Silver Denarious Rare NGC grade CHMS Superb Coin, sold for $997.88
  • June 17, 2021 134 Hadrian NGC AU Roman Empire Denarius Felicitas 5/5 5/5 (18082602C), sold for $895.00
  • June 17, 2021 Justinian I, AD 527-565, Gold Tremissis, Victory, NGC grade AU, sold for $595.00
What is quickly learned about collecting ancient coins is that by and large all of the genuine ancient coins have value. One issue which may seem hard to fathom, and despite the melting and remelting of metal over time, is that ancient coins are also fairly common due to how many were produced in history. And there may still be countless examples of undiscovered ancient coins which are in the sea or which have been buried for centuries.
What separates the value and creates a lasting price is whether or not the coin is a verified grade by such companies like NGC. Ancient gold coins trade at premiums, sometimes significant premiums. Like modern numismatics condition greatly affects value.
Buying raw ungraded coins may come with a nasty surprise as these have been produced as counterfeited trinkets over the centuries for mere decoration and also to dupe unsuspecting travelers visiting historic sites and ruins.