By: Skip Marshall

Member  American Numismatic Association
American Numismatic Society
Georgia Numismatic Association

If you don’t have this bookmarked, do it NOW. David Surber has been putting pictures into a searchable data base to ID and attribute coins. Using Wildwinds and 1 or 2 references books, you should be able to get a general attribution for almost anything you come across. BTW, he has links to a lot of good, helpful ancient coin dealers (plug to help his site make some $ and continue to expand)
For Greek Imperial/Roman Provincial (the names are interchangeable). Haven’t used it yet, but looks very promising for these coins that are usually difficult to attribute.
Links on the left hand side lead to pages where coins be identified by legends, even if only part of it can be read. This is a must for a cleaner or zapper as many time, you can only make out a few a few letters. When I am trying to ID cleaned coins, I use this site, Wildwinds and my copy of Sear. This makes things so much easier than it was 10 years ago.
This site offers a translation of a standard reference for Roman Provincial. Probably better for an advanced collector, but still interesting and
Another attribution site. Has a page that lists Legends to cross reference emperors.

I’m sure there are additional sites out there. These just happen to be the ones that I frequent.


Wayne Sayles – Ancient Coin Collecting: 6 different books. Excellent references for the beginner. Each volume of approx 200 pages covers a different area such as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, etc. I have seen these at Barnes and Noble, so if your out, at one of the book stores, look for them and see if the are of interest. I bet that if you’re new to ancients, you’ll end up with all 6. About $25 each retail.

Van Meter – Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins: Good value, easy to use. Shouldn’t have to pay more than $35

Sear – Roman Coins and their Values: 2 new volumes, 3rd pert due out in the fall. I like the Sear books. Lots of good info. He is in the process of updating the series. If on a budget, a used copy his original 1 volume book may be available relatively cheap (I think I paid $60 for mine about 15 years ago) and is still a good book for the novice. Copies of the 2 new
volumes will run about $80 – $100 each

Vagi – The coinage and history of the Roman Empire: 2 volumes. 1 identifies coins, the other gives a history of the rulers, I don’t use it much for coin ID but the history volume is well worth reading the set retails for around $120

Sear – Greek Imperial Coins and their values. Same format as the roman coins. Good for Greek imperial or roman provincial if you prefer that term

Sear – Greek Coins and their values – 2 volumes, Europe and Asia Africa, about $75 each. The Greek coins cover so many issues, it is hard to capture
them in a single set of books. Sear does a nice job of putting together a reference that is reasonably easy to use, but as one becomes more involved
in Greeks, more specific references will be needed.

off list

Sear – Byzantine Coins and there values: Yes, David Sear is a busy guy and a Godsend to those starting out in ancients. Same format as above. About
$100 retail.

Roman Imperial Coinage: 10 volumes. Anywhere from $100 – $250 each. Known as RIC. You will see many coins referenced by RIC number. Not easy for the
novice, but these are the usual reference books used by the “experts” in Roman Imperial. I have a few of the volumes and am still learning how to use them. When you can use RIC to identify coins, you can consider yourself a knowledgeable scholar in Roman Coins.

OK, Even if you don’t buy an RIC set, you can easily drop a bundle of $$ on books to ID your Zapped or uncleaned coins. In my opinion, it is worth it.

Maybe some of the dealers on this list will have these books in stock. I believe in patronizing those that try to give something back to the hobby
such as setting up the Market or sharing tips and information on Identifying coins. If you are interested in buying some of these books and can’t find them through other sources, contact me off list and I can try to point you in the right direct.

My Plug for the American Numismatic Association (you can use my name as a sponser if you want to Join. James Marshall R-119240)

They also have a lending library for members with a moderate amount of books re: ancients.

Hope this helps

Skip Marshall

Membership is open, so come on in and join the fun!