The Most Valuable Ancient Coins and How to Find Them: A Collector’s Guide

The Most Valuable Ancient Coins

Before we dive into where to find ancient coins, let’s take a look at some of the most valuable ancient coins in the world.

Aureus of Octavian

The Aureus of Octavian, also known as the “EID MAR” coin, is one of the most valuable ancient coins in the world. It was minted in 42 BC to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar. The coin features a portrait of Octavian, who later became Emperor Augustus, on the front and the words “EID MAR” on the back, which translates to “Ides of March.” This coin is extremely rare, with only about 80 known to exist.

Athenian Owl Tetradrachm

The Athenian Owl Tetradrachm is one of the most famous ancient coins in the world. It was minted in Athens, Greece, in the 5th century BC and features the image of an owl on the front and the Greek goddess Athena on the back. This coin was widely used in trade and is highly sought after by collectors. The value of this coin depends on its condition, with some specimens selling for over $100,000.

Brasher Doubloon

The Brasher Doubloon is a rare and valuable coin minted by goldsmith Ephraim Brasher in the late 1700s. It features the image of an eagle on the front and the words “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on the back. Only a few examples of this coin are known to exist, with one selling for $7.4 million in 2011.

How to Find Ancient Coins

Now that you know some of the most valuable ancient coins, let’s take a look at how to find them.


One of the most important things you can do when looking for ancient coins is to do your research. You need to know what you are looking for and where to find it. There are many books and online resources available that can help you identify different types of ancient coins and where they were minted.

Attend Auctions and Shows

Attending auctions and shows is a great way to find ancient coins. These events are often attended by dealers and collectors who are looking to buy and sell rare coins. You can find out about upcoming events by checking online or contacting local coin dealers.

Join a Club

Joining a coin collecting club is another great way to find ancient coins. These clubs often hold meetings and events where members can buy, sell, and trade coins. You can also get advice and tips from other collectors who have more experience than you do.

Tips for Collecting Ancient Coins

Collecting ancient coins can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be challenging. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Handle with Care

Ancient coins are delicate pieces of history and should be handled with care. You should never touch the surface of a coin with your fingers, as the oils from your skin can damage the surface. Always handle ancient coins by the edges or wear gloves when handling them.

Store Properly

Ancient coins should be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and moisture. You should also store them in acid-free, archival quality holders or albums to protect them from damage. Never clean an ancient coin, as this can damage the surface and reduce its value.

Learn the History

Learning the history behind ancient coins can make collecting them even more rewarding. Understanding the context in which a coin was minted and used can give you a greater appreciation for its value and significance.

The Importance of Authenticity in Ancient Coin Collecting

When it comes to collecting ancient coins, authenticity is of utmost importance. The value of a coin is directly tied to its authenticity, and owning a fake coin can be both financially and emotionally devastating to a collector. In this article, we will explore the importance of authenticity in ancient coin collecting and provide tips on how to ensure that your coins are genuine.

The Value of Authenticity

The value of an ancient coin is directly tied to its authenticity. A genuine coin is a piece of history that has survived for thousands of years and has a unique story to tell. Counterfeit coins, on the other hand, are often made with the intention of deceiving collectors and profiting from their lack of knowledge or expertise. Owning a counterfeit coin not only diminishes the value of a collection, but it can also be emotionally devastating to a collector who has invested time, money, and passion into their collection.

How to Authenticate an Ancient Coin

Authenticating an ancient coin can be a complex and challenging process, but there are several methods that experts use to determine the authenticity of a coin.

Weight and Size

One of the easiest ways to determine the authenticity of a coin is to compare its weight and size to other coins of the same type and era. Coins were minted to specific standards, and any deviation from those standards can indicate that a coin is a fake.

Design and Inscriptions

The design and inscriptions on a coin can also provide clues to its authenticity. Experts can examine the details of a coin’s design and compare them to other coins of the same type and era to look for inconsistencies or errors that could indicate a fake.

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Testing

XRF testing is a non-destructive method of testing the composition of a coin. XRF machines use X-rays to excite the atoms in a coin, which then emit characteristic wavelengths of energy that can be measured to determine the coin’s composition. This method can detect modern materials that were not available at the time of the coin’s minting, indicating that a coin is a fake.

Tips for Ensuring Authenticity

There are several steps that collectors can take to ensure that the coins they purchase are authentic.

Collecting ancient coins can be a rewarding hobby for those who are passionate about history and numismatics. The rarity and historical significance of ancient coins make them a valuable addition to any collection. By doing your research, attending events, and joining a club, you can increase your chances of finding valuable ancient coins to add to your collection. And by following these tips for collecting and caring for ancient coins, you can ensure that your collection will appreciate in value and be enjoyed for generations to come.

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