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Prices listed are approximate for NEW books, but many of these can be found for less through on-line used book sales.   For more in-depth study into coin topics,  please consult the "Bibliography for Universities," also on the ACE CD.

General about Coins:

1.  Money:  A History edited by Jonathan Williams with Joe Cribb and Elizabeth Errington

(St. Martin's Press: New York, N.Y., 1997)

A must-have for the classroom!  An invaluable resource to help an ACE teacher create a context for students to appreciate their late 4th century coins.  This book was published by the curators of the British Museum to accompany the HSBC Money Gallery.  Excerpted from the preface o the book,

This book  . . . addresses the subject of money from a historical perspective . . . and examines aspects of the development of money, such as its forms and manufacturing techniques, its purposes and cultural roles in broad blocks of time, from the earliest known forms of money in the third millennium BC down to the present day, paralleling developments in different parts of the world.  The book looks at these developments within the main monetary traditions.  More space is given to the European tradition and its origins in Mesopotamia and Egypt, because historically it has become the dominant tradition worldwide. (p. 7)

Approximately 70 pages pertain directly to the coin project, followed by chapters on medieval coinage and Islamic, then Asian, African, and modern.  Copious color illustrations throughout of reliefs, vase paintings, maps, and, of course, coins!  (Paperback,  256 pages, sells for under $20)


2.  Coins of the Ancient World, Medieval, Modern  by R. A. G. Carson (Harper Collins, 1962)

 "This is not a book specifically about ancients, but it is probably the best, most accessible overview of coinage in general from the earliest days until 1962. The book is long out of print and not particularly easy to find, but it is a wonderful introduction to the entire field.  Many plates allow for placing an unknown piece to an era or area fairly quickly, and the outlines on each general group of types is informative and fills one in on the relevant history without being overly long or pedantic."  ACE President Mark Lehman (Hardcover, out-of-print, used copies sell for $25 - 35)


3.   Eyewitness Books:  Money  by Joe Cribb

(Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc.: New York, N.Y.,  1990)

As with all Eyewitness books, Money holds a fantastic collection of images and passages that will engage teachers and students.  The first few pages, with artifacts of traditional barter from many civilizations, develops the "concept" of money, then traces early Mediterranean origins.  Although the rest of the book explores topics beyond the scope of ACE, ancient coinage appears throughout, especially in sections which illustrate the monies of particular European countries and Egypt.  This book has primarily a historical treatment which fits in well with the ACE coin project, and will be helpful when class discussions travel from Roman coins to the realms of modern and world coins.  (Hardback, 64 pages,  approximately $16.00)


4.  Coin Collecting for Dummies by Ron Guth

(Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2001)

A playful treatment of every aspect of coins from Ch. 1 "Understanding (and Pronouncing) Numismatics" to collecting, storing, and selling coins to appreciating the context of ancient/modern and U.S./world coins.  This would be a good book for students who are inspired by the coin project to collect coins themselves.  Ch. 11 "Showing Their Age:  Ancient Coins" is much too cursory (only 7 pages!), but might give ideas about how to describe the array of ancient coinage to a very young audience with a short attention span. (Paperback, 360 pages, $22.00)


Books About Ancient Coins:


1.  The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins:  A Complete Guide to the History, Types and Values of Roman Imperial Coinage by David Van Meter (Laurion Press:  Utica, N.Y., 1991)

Need a book to help students attribute their coins when the online data bases are not available?  Or, do you simply prefer to search for images in a book?  If so, Van Meter's catalog of all major coin types issued from 27 B.C. through 498 A.D is a true bargain compared to similar reference works which sell for much more.   In addition, the introduction contains background information to which an ACE teacher will refer time and time again, including topics such as how coins were made, the organization of Roman mints, denominations of Roman coins, the coin reforms of Aurelian, Diocletian, and Constantine, descriptions and roles of reverse types, emperor timelines, and abbreviation lists.  In the body of the catalog, each period of the Empire is preceded by a discussion of historical developments that affected coinage, and each emperor is preceded by a biography.  (Paperback, 334 pages, $25-$35)

2. Roman Bronze Coins:  From Paganism to Christianity 294-364 by Victor Failmezger and images by Doug Smith (Ross and Perry, Inc., 2003)

This book is just off the press, so from the publishers page, (http://www.romanbronzecoins.com/index.cfm)

"During the seventy-year period covered by Roman Bronze Coins, Christian symbols on coins increased as that religion gradually replaced the traditional Roman gods as the official state religion. Roman Bronze Coins begins with the Emperor Diocletian's empire-wide coin reform and his failure to establish price controls. It transitions into the fourth century where his successful reorganization of the Roman government paved the way for Constantine the Great's thirty-year rule that ushered the Christian transformation.

This convenient, one-volume reference uses the humble bronze coin to traces that story and provide coin collectors several different ways to identify and catalog the coin:

By ruler or personage, reverse type, reverse variety, mint and year struck, and historical context. (Hardback, 216 pages, $50)

3.  Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins by Zander H. Klawans and edited by Ken Bressett (Whitman Coin Products,  New York,  N.Y.,1995)

A recent combination of two primary references by Zander H. Klawans which were written to provide an overview of Classical coinage for beginners.  Illustrated throughout with coin images, the book is a particularly handy reference and great for taking with you to a museum with an ancient Mediterranean coin exhibit.   Part I "An Outline of Ancient Greek Coins" begins with maps and helpful black line drawings of the Greek minting process.  Part II "Reading and Dating Roman Imperial Coins" is particularly pertinent to the ACE coin-cleaning project, yet begins with a short background of coinage before the time of the Empire.  (Paperback, 288 pages, $15)

4.  Ancient Coin Collecting, Volumes I-VI by Wayne G. Sayles (Krause Publications: Iola, WI, 1996 - 2001) 

Vol. I Ancient Coin Collecting

Vol. II Numismatic Art of the Greek World

Vol. III The Roman World, Policies and Propaganda

Vol. IV  Roman Provincial Coins

Vol. V  Romaion/Byzantine Culture

Vol. VI  Non-Classical Cultures

Classical Deception:  Counterfeits, Forgeries and Reproductions of Ancient Coins

Volume I, designed as an overview for the beginner ancient coin collector, covers topics ranging from the beginnings of Mediterranean coinage, minting processes, and the history of ancient coin collecting, to providing a numismatic "tour" of the ancient world.  The second part of the book gives practical advice about how to collect, attribute, store, and market ancient coins.  Subsequent volumes specialize for particular interests.  The book Classical Deception outlines the history of falsifying ancient coins, then tips for avoiding deceipt on the market.  (Hardback, approx. 200 pages each, prices around $25)

5. Sold! The Origins of Money and Trade by the Geography Dept of  Runestone Press, Minneapolis, 1994).  A lavishly illustrated treatment of ancient coins for older elementary students (5th-6th graders) which begins with barter and ends with the Roman empire. 

"Sold! was exactly what I needed to get started the right way.  Every ACE teacher who knows nothing about coins before they start with ACE should buy it because it begins with basic descriptions of ancient coin minting and the evolution of coinage.  I can now set the historical context for my students before going on to the ACE

materials on specifically Roman coins and how to identify them."  Review by Leslie Perkins, ACE Teacher  (Hardback, 64 pages, approx. $31.50) 

6.  The Lerner Archaeology Series:  Digging Up the Past--Coins of the Ancient World by Ya'akov Meshorer (Lerner Publications Co., Minneapolis, 1974)

(out-of-print, but available through on-line used book sales for under $10, and often still found on library shelves)  Written for a student audience, this book traces the development of early Mediterranean coinage, featuring hard-to-find pictures of clay flan moulds, weights, scales, ingots, hammers and tongs, and plentiful coin illustrations.  A wonderful source of images for the classroom.  Also included are three chapters with particular focus on the Holy Land and the Roman/Jewish conflict.

7.  Coinage and Conflict by Henry Pollak (The Coin and Currency Institute, Inc., Clifton, N.J., 2001)

A great source of coin "stories" to capture your students.  Beautifully illustrated with color photos, this book traces political, military, and religious conflict depicted on interesting coins from Greek and Roman (fortunately for us, a heavy concentration on these!) to U.S. issues.  Included is the tale of how Aeginetan sea turtles, the coin symbols for Aegina's supremacy on the sea, became land tortoises after the Athenians defeated them, and also how Julius Caesar was murdered within 30 days of minting a coin with his own image,  a portrayal previously reserved in Republican times for deities.  (Paperback, 74 pages, $35.00)

8.  Monumental Coins:  Buildings and Structures on Ancient Coinage by Marvin Tameanko (Krause Publications, Iola WI, 1999)

Latin and Classical civilization teachers will enjoy this book.  As Mr. Tameanko discusses the depiction of buildings on Greek and Roman coins, he includes a well-researched study of the structures themselves, making it a wonderful resource for the classroom.  It is fascinating to read how coins contribute primary source evidence for our knowledge of ancient Rome.  This book allows a teacher to extend the coin project throughout the year, by alluding to coin evidence when teaching about the Acropolis, Roman triumphal arches and roads, the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, the harbor at Ostia, and the Temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, to name only a few.   Mr. Tameanko illustrates the book with his own drawings of the coins, building structures, and plans, followed by plates of coins.  (Hardback,  242 pages, price $20)



1.   Chronicle of the Roman Emperors:  The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome by Chris Scarre (Thames and Hudson:  New York, N.Y., 1995)

An excellent historical companion to the ACE coin project for quick reference and as a source for emperor essays.  In addition to well-written descriptions of emperors and the climate of Rome under their rule, timelines, maps, and chart summaries help students and teachers master the complex events of the Roman Empire.  Well-illustrated throughout with photos including black line drawings of the emperor coins.  (Hardback, 240 pages, $35)