Ancient coins are increasingly becoming a major player in the numismatic marketplace, and their affordability could make them an attractive option for collectors.
For the last few weeks, I have been preparing for the 2024 FUN (Florida United Numismatists) Show in Orlando, Florida. The show kicks off the numismatic new year in style with one of the largest bourse floors in the country, including hundreds of dealers from around the world.
As usual, we have a large and diverse selection of material for sale. Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries offers everything from Colonial coinage to Double Eagles. We also offer an interesting selection of ancient coinage.
When walking around most bourse floors at conventions these days, I am amazed by how many rare coin dealers now offer ancient coins. I would estimate that 20-30% of the tables at most shows have ancient coins as part of their inventory for sale. This is a huge change from just a few years ago.
In the past, most of the ancient and world coin dealers were closely grouped in a small section of the bourse floor. Now, ancient coins are sprinkled throughout the convention. Even the largest companies in the world (Heritage, Stack’s Bowers, APMEX and others) have staff and inventory devoted to ancient coinage.
There are many reasons for this huge change in the way American rare coin dealers view this important segment of the market. One of the most important has been the acceptance of third-party grading for ancient coins. The NGC Ancients coin program, led by David Vagi and Barry Murphy, has given buyers and sellers the tools to deal in this somewhat complicated part of the rare coin market.
Buyers are now more comfortable with ancient coins because of the expert attribution and grading that NGC offers. Some collectors and dealers of ancient coins wanted to hold and feel these relics of the past. Many, however, have decided the security of third-party certification far outweighs this single benefit.
Ancient coins are also extremely popular because of their historical importance. Most have great stories and colorful characters attached to them. Who can resist a silver tetradrachm struck around 300 B.C. by Alexander the Great? Few people in history had a greater impact on the world than this Macedonian King. He conquered most of the known world, and established Mints throughout his empire.
Julius Caesar is one of the best-known names in Roman history. The coinage of Caesar tells an intriguing story, including his ultimate fate, which is depicted on the famous "Ides of March" issue. The story of the Roman Empire is well told in its ancient coinage and collecting this area of the market is an endless pursuit.