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Bibliography - Colleges and Universities                 


The following is a "getting started" bibliography for ancient Mediterranean coins.  ACE hopes that you will have the good fortune to find some of these already on the shelf in your college library.  You may also be interested works listed on the "Bibliography for Younger Audiences" (ACE CD), particularly if you are in pursuit of introductory discussions of coins accompanied by lots of images.  Prices are listed for some works, but the books are often available for less through on-line sales.

You can find more in-depth numismatics bibliographies online at these sites:

Edward J. Waddell, Inc. http://www.coin.com/books/

Numismatic Bibliomania Society  website  http://www.coinbooks.org/

GENERAL:  Introductory Books on Ancient Coins of the Mediterranean

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

 "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

2.  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 for a beginner to take 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 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)


3.  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 gives tips for avoiding deceit on the market.  (Hardback, approx. 200 pages each, prices around $25)

4.  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 reserved in Republican times for deities.  (Paperback, 74 pages, $35.00)

5.  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.  Ancient Greek Coins by G. K. Jenkins (London, 1980)

            Revision of a 1971 edition.  (182 pages; many b/w and color photos)

2.  Coinage in the Greek World by I. Carradice and M. Price (London, 1988)

(154 pages, 24 plates)

     Greek Coins by Ian Carradice (University of Texas Press, 1995) (112 pages)

3.  Dictionary of Ancient Greek Coins by John Melville-Jones (London, 1998)

 A highly recommended companion to Jones' Roman Dictionary.  Typical alphabetical format covering topics such as denominations, types, mythology references, moneyers, etc.   (Hardcover, 248 pages, illustrated throughout)

4.  Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol.1 (Europe) by David Sear (London, 1978)
(3395 coins listed; 1500 illustrations throughout text, values, table of ancient alphabets, 13 maps, and an index)

5. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol.2 (Asia Minor and Africa) by David Sear (London, 1979)
(Over 4500 coins listed, 2000 illustrations, values, 4 tables, 11 maps, and an index).

These 2 books above by David Sear are the standard non-specialist handbooks for the beginning and intermediate collector, the "generally used and quoted" reference books for ancient Greek collections of "more commonly available ancient Greek coins"  such as shown at wildwinds.com.

 For the specialist collector there are the  " Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum"  - expensive sets of books showing the images and details of coins from various European Collections - these are in numerous books sorted by collection /where held.  These are commonly referred to as "SNG" xxxxxxx.    The American Numismatic Society has its own SNG ANS series sorted by the issuing city/state areas of the coins.

6. Greek Coin Types and Their Identification by Richard Plant (Seaby Publications Ltd.:  London, 1979)
Identification by illustrated image type - tremendously useful for those starting out to collect ancient Greek and Greek Imperial ( Roman Imperial Provincial coins issued in Greek speaking lands).

7.  Ancient Greek Bronze Coins, Vols. I, 2, 3 by Henry Clay Lindgren (Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., 1993))
These volumes cover Greek Imperials (see above definition)  as well as ancient Greek coins.

8.  Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions by Icard Severin (Obol International, 1979)
Identification through inscription or part inscription (no illustrations) for Greek Imperials and ancient Greek coins - more useful than you might think - allows you to track down the issuing city state where you can only see part of the inscription.

9.  Historia Numorum:  A Manual of Greek Numismatics by Barclay V. Head (A. M. Hakkert, 1887, 1911, but reprinted in 1963, 1967 by Spink)  A huge resource (over 950 pages!) for the more advanced coin student. This work may be on your school library shelf, but there is now an online version almost complete at http://www.snible.org/coins/hn/ which allows for searches and hyperlinks.


 1.  Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins by John Melville-Jones (London, 1990)
329pp. with 204 b/w coin photos and tables of alphabets. Created on thetraditional A-Z format, this volume lists deities, denominations, and manyother topics.

2.  History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators, 49-27 B.C. by David Sear (London, 1998)

3.  Roman Coins and Their Values, 280 B.C.-96 A.D. by David Sear (London, 2000)

4. Roman Coins and Their Values, 96 AD - 235 AD by David Sear (London, 2003)

5.  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)


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

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


7. Roman Silver Coins (RSC) Volumes 1 through 5 by H. A. Seaby and revised by David R. Sear & Robert Loosely (Publication dates from 1978 to 99)
Covers Roman silver coins from the Republic to Postumus.


8. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire:  Vol. 1 - History; Vol. 2 - Coinage by David Vagi (Amos Press, Incl, 1999)

A reference work which will be great for the teacher working towards a more "coin-oriented" classroom and an appreciation of how coins illuminate events of Roman history.  The history volume is detailed and inclusive, yet full of coin references.  The coinage volume focuses more on aurei and silver types than on bronze coins. 

Covers the imperatorial age, c. 82 - 27 B.C. and the Empire 27 B.C. - 480 B.C.

(Hardback, Vol. 1 638 pages; Vol. 2 656 pages)

 9. Late Roman Bronze Coinage by R.A.G. Carson, P.V. Hill, and J. P.C. Kent, (Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications:  New York)

Part I:  Bronze Coinage of the House of Constantine, A.D. 324-346

Part II:  Bronze Roman Imperial Coinage of the Later Empire A.D. 346-498

An invaluable aid for classifying coinage of this era, especially as a prelude to the immense and much more expensive catalog Roman Imperial Coins. The images are few, however, and the format which involves sets of tables with code indices to lists, is better suited to the more experienced coin attributor than to beginners.



1.  Greek Imperial Coins and their Values by David Sear (Seaby Publications Ltd.:  1982 (reprinted 1991, 1995, 1997)

2.  (see also Lindgren's Ancient Greek Bronze Coins, above)



1. Guide to Biblical Coins (3rd edition ) by David Hendin (Amphora:  New York, 1996)

 An informative reference book, but also accessible and engaging for a beginner audience.


1.  Byzantine Coinage by Philip Grierson (Washington D.C., 1982)

2.  Byzantine Coins and Their Values by David Sear and S. Bendall (London, 1987)
This is the standard handbook on Byzantine coins for the collector.

3.  Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius by Harlan J. Berk (1986)

Black line drawings make attribution of bronzes easy with this useful book available for under $25.  It is a worthy prelude to purchasing the much more expensive Sear reference work.

4.  Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383-1453  by Harlan J. Berk (1986)