Home InfoVault Resource Center Ancient Coin Guide Common Types Of Ancient Coins

Common Types of Ancient Coins

Common Types of Ancient Coins
Category: Ancient Coin Guide
Author Name:
Posted: 01-21-2020 04:49:00 PM

This entry will cover some of the most frequently seen Ancient Coins from the Roman, Greek, and Byzantine Empires.

Common Types of Ancient Coins Featured Image

These are the most common denominations of ancient coins.

Greek Coins

Electrum Staters

Greek Ancient TetradrachmThe first coins of the world, minted in electrum, were staters and their fractional parts. The most common size of the earliest coins was the 1/6th stater – called a “Hekte.” These small coins were about 10 mm in diameter and were not the smallest denomination. Interestingly the ancient die cutters were able to put intricate design details into coins as small as 5 mm.

Silver and Gold Staters

When the first silver and gold coins were minted, there were both silver and gold staters. Although these terms referred to weights of the coins, there existed different weight standards for these coins in different cities. Gold staters remained the main denomination of gold coins for most of the Greek era.

Drachms and Tetradrachms

The basic Greek silver coin in the Greek Empire was the drachm. By the time that these coins appeared, the weight standards were more consistent. The drachm was approximately 3.5 grams, and the tetradrachm (4 drachm coin) was 14 grams.

For further reading on common types of Greek ancient coins, read this Info-Vault article about the Coins of Alexander the Great.

Roman Coins

Silver Denarius

Roman Denarius Ancient Coin TypeThe denarius was the major Roman silver coin for over 400 years until economic pressures led the emperors to gradually devalue the coins. The Roman Republic coins were minted from 200 BC until the time of Julius Caesar. Though the designs changed drastically beginning with Emperor Augustus – the Roman Imperial denarius coins continued to have the same 3.5-gram weight. In the years 200-275 AD, the amount of silver in these coins decreased from 95% down to 2-3%. In the end, the coins were most bronze with a silver coating.

For further information, read this Info-Vault article about the Roman Silver Denarius.

The Aureus

The gold aureus began in the first century BC with a weight of about 8 grams and was equal to 25 denarius coins. By the year 200, during the reign of Caracalla, the weight was reduced to 6.6 grams. During the time of Constantine the Great, it was later replaced by the Solidus with a weight of 4/5 grams.

Byzantine Coins

Gold Solidus

Byzantine Ancient Coin Type Just as there is no clear change from the Roman to the Byzantine Empire, there is no clear move from Roman to Byzantine coins. The Solidus remained the gold coin of the Byzantines for a few hundred years until it was replaced by the Numisma. (Note that the Numisma is the basis for the word for the study of coins – Numismatics.)

Bronze Nummis

Although there were millions of bronze coins minted during the 1000 years of coins before the Byzantine Empire, most of the bronze coins did not have specific denomination names. But in the Byzantine Empire, the main coins were bronze and were called by the amount of Nummi in each coin. For example, the large 40 nummi coin had a large M (meaning 40) on it.

For further reading on Ancient Coins, check out this Info-Vault article titled Top 5 Ancient Coins for Beginners.

ModernCoinMart® is a retail distributor of coin and currency issues and is not affiliated with the U.S. government. The collectible coin market is unregulated, highly speculative and involves risk. ModernCoinMart reserves the right to decline to consummate any sale, within its discretion, including due to pricing errors. Prices, facts, figures and populations deemed accurate as of the date of publication but may change significantly over time. All purchases are expressly conditioned upon your acceptance of ModernCoinMart’s Terms and Conditions (www.moderncoinmart.com/terms-conditions.html or call 1-800-362-9004); to decline, return your purchase pursuant to ModernCoinMart’s Return Policy. © 2019 ModernCoinMart. All rights reserved

© Copyright 2020 ModernCoinMart (MCM). All Rights Reserved. MCM does not sell coins and numismatics as investments, but rather as collectibles. Please review MCM's Terms and Conditions, Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using this website and prior to purchasing from MCM. All website content is for reference use only and does not constitute investment, legal or financial advice. We encourage the sharing and linking of our information but reproduction of our news and articles without express permission is prohibited. Instead of reproducing, please provide the link to the original article or use the share buttons provided.

About The Author

ModernCoinMart (MCM) ModernCoinMart (MCM) sets the standards for online sales of bullion, US coins and world coins with free shipping, competitive pricing, a large selection and customer service that will amaze you. Confidence. Trust. Reliability. That's the MCM way.

What are your thoughts? Common Types of Ancient Coins

X