The Celator Oct. 2006-Coins For the Holidays
Vol. 20, No. 10, Page 29, October 2006
Coins for the Holidays
By Souzana Steverding
Every year it catches us by surprise…. the HOLIDAYS are around the corner, and we begin to think about gift giving. Last year I tried something new - a combined present of a book with a related ancient coin, and it was popular, so I have compiled a list at the Ancient Coins for Education website under Special Projects in the hope that it will work for others.
We who read the Celator are already “sold” on ancient coins, but from our experience at ACE, those little pieces of ancient metal need an “introduction” to pave an entranceway for non-coin collectors into this fascinating dimension of the past world. The details of many ancient coins are not that clear to the uninitiated ( ACE uses much enlarged images in its school Ancient Coin Museums so that the viewer has a better sense of what s/he is looking at!), and I would recommend such an image accompanying the coin gift. The information tags in the flips often lack the historical background needed to stir the imagination and the coin should be presented in a “new light” to those who have previously seen coins only at a distance in museum display cases.
There are really exciting “pairings” to be made with a book (or in some cases a DVD) and an ancient coin, and the quality of the gift does not depend on the value of the coin! Think about it –- you could put together a book about Alexander the Great and one of the Alexander coins, be it AR or AE. A novel suitable for teenagers, such as Imperial Governor by George Shipway, “marries” perfectly with a coin of the Emperor Nero. For a younger relative, pair one of the superbly illustrated basic books on “Ancient Rome” plus an Urbs Roma /Shewolf reverse. For history buffs – I Claudius by Robert Graves with an early Julio-Claudian coin. More arcane history and travel lovers might like Neal Ascherson’s The Black Sea with a coin of Cotys For architects, Marvin Tameanko’s Monumental Coins with one of the many temple reverse coins. For travellers to Britain, we suggest various books on our ACE list, and a coin of Claudius or Hadrian, or for that matter Allectus or Carausius. For those planning tours of Italy, Greece, the Mediterranean…. a guide book plus a coin from an ancient place on their itinerary.
You see that the list can go on and on. Have a look at the lists at the Ancient Coins for Education website (Special Projects section) – there are titles and suggested coin gifts for a cross section of recipients, from ages 8 to 80. One is never too old to learn something new! Our ACE motto “Putting History into Students’ Hands” actually applies to all ages - one just needs to open the door, stimulate the imagination – and not surprisingly, often another collector is born ! Click here to see the lists