Tag Archives: roman

Identifying Roman Coins on Micropasts

Micropasts is a web platform that hosts crowd-sourced collaborative research projects focused on archaeology, history, and heritage. The admirable goal of Micropasts is, in their words, to “improve how people traditionally distinguished as academics, professionals and volunteers cooperate with one another.” To this end, the website hosts a variety of projects that allow for contributions from enthusiasts, scholars, and the interested public on a wide variety of different topics. It is jointly run by the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the British Museum with support by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.


A relatively straightforward example of how the website works is a project that seeks to transcribe diaries kept by the noted Egyptian archaeologist, Sir Flinders Petrie. The project page includes a tutorial on how to contribute, which can involve either transcribing material directly from the scanned document, or reviewing the work of others to ensure its accuracy. A somewhat more complicated project is one by the British Museum that involves photo-masking medieval Pilgrim badges to create 3D models of the artifacts. All of the projects use the same simple interface which makes it easy to understand how you can help out, and there is a useful ‘Statistics’ tab for each that traces how the overall project is progressing.

There are a wide variety of different and salutary projects that users can contribute to, but we mention here because of a recently-launched numismatic one called the Roman Imperial Coin concordance.

ocreThis project was formulated by Daniel Pett of the British Museum and Ethan Gruber of the ANS to facilitate the addition of Roman coins catalogued in the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) to the NEH-sponsored ANS database Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE). The tutorial explains just how the process works, but the essential task is for users to try and identify more precisely what the RIC (Roman Imperial Coinage) number for a given coin drawn from the PAS database is. If and when a more precise identification of the RIC number is made and confirmed, it can then be integrated into the larger OCRE database. pasrgbsize4The PAS, which is a voluntary program that records small archaeological finds by the public in the UK, presently has over 200,000 Roman coins in its database so it is a potentially rich resource for additional coins and data for OCRE.

Denarius of Tiberius, ca. AD 36-37 Portable Antiquities Scheme
Denarius of Tiberius, AD 36-37 | NCL-294EF5
Portable Antiquities Scheme

Of course, objects like the denarius above can only be integrated into OCRE when they have been properly identified so if you have time to lend a hand, head over to the project website!

Architecture on Roman Coinage

ElkinsJacketThe American Numismatic Society is pleased to announce the publication of Monuments in Miniature: Architecture on Roman Coinage, a new book by Nathan T. Elkins that recasts the scholarship on this popular subject. Rather than focusing on the iconography, Elkins’ study seeks to contextualize these coins and understand the broader social and cultural context that informed these architectural representations. Although the emphasis is on Roman coinage, earlier Greek types are also featured for comparative analysis, including this sixth century BC silver stater of Zancle that shows harbor buildings on a sandbar encircling a dolphin.

ANS, 1957.752.592
ANS, 1957.752.592

In the Persian empire, city walls were a traditional symbol of power that were often represented on the coinage produced by the satrapies of Cilicia and Phoenicia. A particularly fine example of this tradition is this mid-fourth century BC tetradrachm of Tarsus, which depicts a lion attacking a bull above two rows of turreted walls.

ANS, 1947.81.4
ANS, 1947.81.4

The volume features over two hundred images and provides a comprehensive catalogue of Roman architectural coin types organized into Early, Late, and Provincial sections. I don’t want to step on Elkins’ detailed analyses here, but I do want to highlight one of the more spectacular coins, a cistophorus of Augustus from the mint at Pergamon that depicts the Temple of Mars Ultor on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.

ANS, 1937.158.454
ANS, 1937.158.454

As Elkins indicates, this particular representation likely bore no resemblance to the actual structure, which some historians argue was never actually built. Still, it is a lovely example of numismatic art (and architecture)!

For those looking to learn more about this fascinating topic, a PDF of the introduction is available to peruse here. To purchase, head over the ANS store.

Matthew Wittmann

Eight Antoniniani of Claudius Gothicus, 268-270 CE

Marcus Aurelius Claudius (213-270 CE) was an Illyrian of modest birth who worked his way up through the ranks of the Roman army during the tumultuous third century. According to the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, he was a fierce fighter and able commander who eventually became caught up in the imperial intrigues of the day. Claudius was commander of the the reserves of a force led by the reigning Emperor Gallienus in the summer of 268 that was besieging Milan, where the would-be usurper Aureolus had taken refuge. The supposed inefficacy of Gallienus as a ruler led to a conspiracy that ended in his assassination.

Worcester Art Museum, 1915.24
Worcester Art Museum, 1915.24

Whether or not Claudius was involved remains unclear, but he was the one chosen by the army to succeed Gallienus. In what was perhaps a related move, the Scriptores Historiae Augustae reports that the soldiers were promised twenty aurei each for their support. Claudius quickly made peace with Aueolus and then just as quickly betrayed and killed him. He then turned his attention to one of the many external threats facing the Roman Empire, namely an invasion of Pannonia by the Goths. It was in this context that Claudius earned the surname Gothicus (i.e. conqueror of the Goths) by which he is now commonly known after destroying a large Gothic army at the Battle of Naissus. Claudius thereafter quashed an incursion of Germanic tribes at the Battle of Lake Benacus and successfully campaigned to restore territories that had been lost by his predecessors to the Empire. The celebrated reign of Claudius Gothicus was ultimately brief, as he was felled by the so-called “Plague of Cyprian” (probably smallpox) in early 270.

The antoninianus was a new domination of silver coin that was introduced amidst the financial crises that gripped the Roman Empire in the early third century. Over the course of time it was debased until it was mostly bronze. As you can see by the mixed patinas of the eight antoniniani issued under the authority of Claudius at the top of this post, the metal content varied.


The common obverse features a radiate bust of the Emperor and Roman Imperial Coinage lists dozens of reverse types. The example above (RIC 168) was minted in Mediolanum (Milan) and its reverse features Spes, the personification of hope, holding a flower.

Matthew Wittmann


Bvlgari 4The ANS has a selection of rare Roman coins on display as part of an exhibition at Bulgari’s flagship store in New York City. “BVLGARI + ROME: Eternal Inspiration” reflects on the jeweler’s long association with the “Eternal City,” where the original shop was opened in 1884 by Sotirios Boulgaris. The exhibition includes a mix of contemporary jewelry and ancient Roman artifacts and coins.

Bulgari-JewelryBulgari has from time to time also used actual ancient coins in its line as with this choker embedded with a tetradrachm  of Alexander the Great.  New York magazine has a wonderful slide show of some of the items on display.

The American Numismatic Society loan comprises eighteen Roman coins, most notably a gold treveri medallion from AD 293–294. The medallion features busts of four Roman emperors; Diocletian and Galerius on the obverse and Maximian and Constantius on the reverse, each wearing the imperial mantle.

ANS 1967.153.38
ANS 1967.153.38

It was part of the so-called Beaurains Treasure, a rich hoard of Roman artifacts discovered in 1922 near the city of Arras in Northern France. The ANS holds over fifty pieces from that hoard, which you can learn more about here.

ANS 1944.100.4554
ANS 1944.100.4554

One of the other notable coins on display is a denarius of the infamous assassin Marcus Junius Brutus. The image on the reverse of a pileus, a cap given to freed slaves, between two daggers underscored the belief by Brutus and his supporters that the murderous act had liberated the Roman Republic from Julius Caesar‘s tyranny. The legend EID MAR or ‘Ides of March’ commemorates the day of the deed. The coin was minted in 42-43 BCE as Brutus and his allies were raising an army in northern Greece to march on Rome in what was ultimately a failed bid to seize power. It is rare to see an ancient coin so rich in symbolism and so directly tied to a notable event. Among the other coins featured are an aureus of Sextus Pompey and a dozen or so gold solidi, which will be display at the 730 Fifth Avenue store until November 22.

New Festschriften from the ANS

BooksThe American Numismatic Society’s reception at the International Numismatic Congress this evening is being held in honor of Basil C. Demetriadi and in memory of the late Richard B. Witschonke. Not coincidentally, the ANS has two new publications  celebrating the careers of these distinguished numismatists and collectors. The volume dedicated to Demetriadi, ΚΑΙΡΟΣ, features twenty-one new and fully illustrated articles on ancient Greek coinage. Witschonke’s volume, FIDES, brings together twenty new and fully illustrated articles on coins of the Roman world. Both are limited to 150 hand-numbered copies and were printed on heavyweight archival paper. The volumes are bound in Greek-blue and Roman imperial purple linen respectively and have the coins pictured below embossed on their covers in silver and gold. To order from our website, just click on the titles in this post. Alternatively, you can call Catherine DiTuri to place your order at 212-571-4470, ext. 117.


ANS, 1957.172.1462
ANS, 1957.172.1462

ΚΑΙΡΟΣ: Contributions to Numismatics in Honor of Basil Demetriadi, edited by Ute Wartenberg and Michel Amandry.

  • Patricia Felch–Basil C. Demetriadi
  • Friedrich Burrer–Die Hemidrachmen-Prägung von Gyrton
  • François de Callataÿ–A Long-Term View (15th–18th Centuries) on Prices Paid to Acquire Ancient Coins
  • Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert–Die Eule der Athena
  • Evangelia Georgiou–The Coinage of Orthe
  • Jonathan Kagan–Maximilian John Borrell (c. 1802–1870). Dealer, Collector, and Forgotten Scholar and the Making of the Historia Numorum
  • Sophia Kremydi and Michel Amandry–Le monnayage d’époque sévérienne frappé à Aigosthènes en Mégaride
  • John H. Kroll–Small Bronze Tokens from the Athenian Agora: Symbola or Kollyboi?
  • Catharine C. Lorber–The Beginning of the Late Facing Head Drachm Coinage of Larissa
  • Aliki Moustaka–Bendis and the Wolf: An Unpublished Numismatic Type from Thessalian Phaloria
  • Olivier Picard–Corpus et classement des émissions: les bronzes hellénistiques de Thasos
  • Selene E. Psoma–Did the So-called Thraco-Macedonian Standard Exist?
  • Pierre Requier–Une rare série de Cos sans portrait imperial du IIIème siècle
  • Kenneth A. Sheedy–The Emergency Coinage of Timotheus (364–362 B.C.)
  • Derek R. Smith–New Varieties of the Eleusinian Triptolemos/Piglet Coinage from the BCD Collection
  • Vassiliki E. Stefanaki–Corpus des monnaies aux dauphins attribuées à Potidaion/Poseidion de Carpathos
  • Peter G. van Alfen–The Chalkid(ik)ian Beginnings of Euboian Coinage
  • Hans-Christoph von Mosch and Laura-Antonia Klostermeyer–Ein Stempelschneider auf Reisen. Die Antinoosmedaillen des Hostilios Markellos und Hadrians Reise im Jahr 131/2 n. Chr.
  • Mary E. Hoskins Walbank–Prospectus for Palaimon
  • Ute Wartenberg–Thraco-Macedonian Bullion Coinage in the Fifth Century B.C.: The Case of Ichnai
  • Arnold-Peter C. Weiss–The Persic Distaters of Nikokles Revisited



ANS, 1967.153.5
ANS, 1967.153.5

FIDES: Contributions to Numismatics in Honor of Richard B. Witschonke, edited by Peter G. van Alfen, Gilles Bransbourg, and Michel Amandry.

  • A Bibliography of Richard B. Witschonke
  • Katerini Liampi — A Hoard from Thessaly Containing Aeginetan Staters and Thessalian Issues of the Taurokathapsia Type
  • Andrew Burnett and Maria Cristina Molinari — The Capitoline Hoard and the Circulation of Silver Coins in Central and Northern Italy in the Third Century BC
  • Peter van Alfen — A Late Third Century BC Hoard of Sardo-Punic Bronzes (IGCH 2290)
  • Gilles Bransbourg — Currency Debasement and Public Debt Management at the Time of the Second Punic War
  • David Vagi — Alliance and Coinage: South Italy during the Second Punic War
  • Andrew McCabe — A Hoard of Cut Roman Republican Denarii from the Second Punic War
  • François de Callataÿ — The Late Hellenistic Didrachms of Leukas: Another Case of Greek Coinage for the Roman Army
  • Andrew R. Meadows — Four Cistophoric Hoards?
  • William E. Metcalf — The Cistophori of Nysa
  • Nathan T. Elkins — “A City of Brick”: Architectural Designs on Roman Republican Coins and Second-Style Wall Painting
  • Liv Mariah Yarrow — Ulysses’s Return and Portrayals of Fides on Republican Coins
  • Clive Stannard — The Labors of Hercules on Central Italian Coins and Tesserae of the First century BC
  • Michael H. Crawford — Sextus Pompeius between Hispania and Germania
  • Philip Davis — Erato or Terpsichore: A Reassessment
  • Bernhard E. Woytek — The Aureus of Pompey the Great Revisited
  • David Hendin — Judaea and Rome: The Early Numismatic Commentary, First Century BCE
  • Patrick Villemur — De Quelques Émissions Coloniales Romaines en Sicile: Retour à Tyndaris
  • Sophia Kremydi and Athena Iakovidou — Corinth and Athens: Numismatic Circulation from the Late Republic to the High Empire
  • Jane DeRose Evans — The Third Neokorate of Sardis in Light of a New Coin Type Found in Sardis
  • Michel Amandry — Le Monnayage de la Res Publica Coloniae Philippensium: Nouvelles Données

American Journal of Numismatics 26 (2014)


The 26th volume of the American Journal of Numismatics is now in print. Subscribers should have already received their copies, but they are also available for purchase by individuals and libraries.

ANS, 1944.100.10426
ANS, 1944.100.10426

The first essay by Jonathan Kagan, “Notes on the Coinage of Mende,” examines the numismatic legacy of this important Greek city on the Chalcidic peninsula. Kagan’s piece ends with a consideration of the iconography of the bird found on many of the coins. Although traditionally described as a crow, some possible alternatives are proposed.

ANS, 1951.116.271
ANS, 1951.116.271

Evangeline Markou, Andreas Charalambous, and Vasiliki Kassianidou next offer a detailed chemical analysis of classical age Cypriot gold coins. The data derived from using an Innov-x Delta Engery-Dispersive XRF analyzer (pXRF) on 48 gold coins showed that the percentage of gold varied between 88.4% and 99.7%, which leads them to some interesting conclusions about the economic history of ancient Cyprus.

In “The Last Seleucids in Phoenicia: Juggling Civic and Royal Identity,” Panagiotis P. Iossif proposes that Phoenician cities were not as autonomous within the Seleucid kingdom as previously thought and suggests that coinage issued in this period was a form of annual tax payment to their Hellenistic rulers.

ANS, 1944.100.43617
ANS, 1944.100.43617

Elizabeth Wolfram Thill‘s contribution examines an innovative coin type that appeared during Trajan’ reign (AD 98-117). The article details fourteen new types of group scenes, i.e. ones that feature multi-figure action, and emphasizes how this reflected a connection between the emperor and the ‘common man.’ The relationship between the coins and monumental reliefs is also considered, and Thill suggests that it indicates that there was a remarkably integrated artistic climate during this period.

ANS, 1982.2.1
ANS, 1982.2.1

A die study of silver coinage of Cilician Aegeae during the reign of Hadrian (AD 117-38) by Florian Haymann shows that it was much more abundant than has been supposed, and leads him to argue that this was a kind of imperial beneficium by Hadrian, who took a special interest in the region.

Articles by Jack Nurpetlian and Dario Calomino also look at different aspects of coinage in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Working with limited data, Nurpetlian was able to construct a useful die link diagram and employs statistical analysis to offer insights into the production of silver tetradrachms under Caracalla (AD 213-217), primarily minted in Damascus. Calomino’s contribution is a fascinating study of bilingual (Latin and Greek) coins of Severus Alexander (AD 222-235).

ANS, 1944.100.38256
ANS, 1944.100.38256

Saúl Roll-Vélez’s detailed analysis of antoniniani (left) issued immediately prior to and during the Diocletian reform of the coinage that began in AD 293 corrects some problems in the relevant RIC volume. Roll-Vélez argues that the CONCORDIA MILITVM antoniniani might have been minted as forerunners of the reform and reflected the larger drive towards standardization.

Daniela Williams and Antonino Crisà each provide studies of coin hoards; one found in Rome’s historical port of Ostia and the other unearthed near Palermo. Williams details a set of fifty-one bronze coins found dated to the mid-fourth century while Crisà focuses on the 1869 discovery of a terracotta vase full of silver coins near Cerda, of which forty-nine were recovered. Both articles bring a wealth of archival material to bear in contextualizing and understanding the respective coins in question.

Michael Fedorov’s contribution to the volume looks at early mediaeval Chachian coins and offers a new classification schema for the tamgha type.

Last but not least, François de Callataÿ answers a question that we have all been wondering about: “How poor are current bibliometrics in the humanities?” Naturally taking numismatic literature as his point of departure, Callataÿ shows how existing search engines and digital indexes fail to capture much of what has been and is being produced by numismatic scholars. The article points to both the massive amount of numismatic research being published and some of the attendant problems in getting that material properly indexed by the powers that be.

books copy

The review articles by ANS curators Gilles Bransbourg and David Hendin focus on Le monnayage de Maxence (2013) by Vincent Drost and Gold Coin and Small Change: Monetary Circulation in Fifth– Seventh Century Byzantine Palestine (2012) by Gabriela Bijocsky.

Again, the AJN 26 is available to order on the website, or you can call Catherine DiTuri to place your order at 212-571-4470, ext. 117. The list price is $75; ANS members may purchase it for $52.50.

386 pp, 62 pls | ISSN: 1053-8356 | ISBN: 978-0-89722-336-2

ANS at the World's Fair of Money

ANS, 1983.156.7
ANS, 1983.156.7

The American Numismatic Society will be at this week’s World’s Fair of Money in Chicago. If you have an inquiry or a comment, would like to purchase some of our new publications, or need to renew or have questions about membership, please stop by to see us. Curator of American coins and currency Matthew Wittmann, membership associate Catherine DiTuri, and a team of able volunteers will be at our table so please stop by and say hello.

Matt will be posting occasional updates from the convention floor, so please remember that you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


The pin above is from the 1933 World’s Fair celebrating Chicago’s centennial. Its rather grand theme was “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts.” One of the more unusual legacies of the fair was Benito Mussolini’s gift of a 2nd-century column from the ruins of Ostia Antica, ancient Rome’s historical harbor. It was removed from a portico near the Porta Marina and shipped to Chicago, where it was unveiled in front of the Italian pavillion to much fanfare. The column was part and parcel of a fascist propaganda effort that also saw a squadron of Italian sea-planes commanded by Italo Balbo visit the shores of Lake Michigan.  The column stands today just to the east of Soldier Field in Burnham Park.

One of the neat numismatic connections in the ANS collections to the ancient harbor is a series of sestertii issued during the reign of Emperor Nero (54-68 AD). The reverse of these coins depict a bird’s-eye view of Ostia harbor.

ANS, 2011.21.545
ANS, 2011.21.545

Ostia (a derivation of “os,” Latin for mouth) was located on the south bank of the Tiber River, which flowed into the Mediterranean about 25 km southwest of Rome proper. The reverse depicts a busy port, and amidst the ships is a statute of Neptune set on pharos. In the foreground is the reclining figure of Tiber.

Hope to see you in Chicago!

Update: The American Numismatic Society table is number 1512, and here is the map. We are located next to Harlan J. Berk, and they actually have a sestertius with this Ostia reverse if you want to see one firsthand.

Trajan's Triumph

This is the first in a series of guest posts by students attending the Eric P. Newman Graduate Seminar in Numismatics.

From 101 to 106 CE, the Roman Emperor Caesar Traianus Divi Nervae Filius Augustus Germanicus Dacicus, more commonly known as the emperor Trajan, waged back to back wars in the ancient territory of Dacia, a region covering modern Romania, Moldova, and surrounding area. Trajan’s victory in these wars was a source of prestige and provided the Roman Empire with a supply of wealth in the form of imported slaves and newly accessible gold mines.

Trajan decreed one hundred and twenty-three days of celebration following the final conquest of Dacia and its conversion into a province. In the years that followed, the benefits of these campaigns reached Rome in the form of plunder brought back by the returning army. Precious metal objects were paraded in triumphant processions through the city before they were melted down and minted into imperial denarii. The coins from this period, which were produced in a variety of types and variations,  commemorated the victory and celebrated the might of Rome.

ANS, 1956.127.1592
ANS, 1956.127.1592

This silver denarius has a typical obverse showing Trajan’s portrait, identifying him by name (IMP TRAIANO), including his titles denoting his military victories in Germany and Dacia, and recording the year it was struck in the form of the number of his consulships. The reverse shows Nike, the goddess of victory, inscribing DACICA on a shield, which hangs on a palm tree (yet another symbol of victory). The legend S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI indicated that the coin was struck at the behest of the Senate and the Roman people for Trajan.


Like many Roman coins, the imagery and meanings duplicate and reinforce each other, presenting Rome as an invincible force almost predestined to add territory and expand. These images, together with the legend, follow patterns of inscriptions and iconography that were utilized in the construction of his forum and the famous Trajan’s column, which celebrated the discipline and strength of the Roman legions. The free-standing column wreathed in an elegant spiral bas relief was  completed in 113 CE and is about 100 feet in height. It’s dedication reads:

The Senate and people of Rome to the Emperor Caesar Nerva Trajan Augustus, son of Nerva of blessed memory, conqueror in Germany and Dacia, High Priest, vested with the tribunician power 17 times, proclaimed Imperator 6 times, elected consul 6 times, Father of the Nation: as an illustration of the height which this hill and place attained, now removed for such great works as these.

Interestingly, both the coin and the inscription on the column recognize the agency of the Roman Senate and people (Senatus Populusque Romanus), and acclaim their triumph alongside that of Trajan’s. As with other Roman emperors, the right to strike coinage was one that was technically granted by the Senate as representatives of the people. Moreover, the erection of the column, though organized by Trajan and his favored architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, was technically a Senatorial project, not an imperial one. The coin was struck five years after the wars, but predated the completion of the column and thus helped to keep the memory of the Dacian Wars alive until the grand monuments could be completed.

Jane Sancinito

Digitization Assistant Position


The American Numismatic Society is hiring a Digitization Assistant for the Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) project. The position will involve processing the data-entry of an online database of all Roman Imperial coin types as recorded in the Roman Imperial Coinage reference series. S/he will be part of the OCRE team, report to the Manager of the project and work closely with colleagues in the curatorial department. The project is supported by a 3-year grant of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Digitization Assistant will populate a spreadsheet encompassing all published Roman Imperial coin-types with the characteristics of each of them and systematically check the accuracy of the corresponding information pertaining to the Roman collection. S/he is expected to work proactively in order to ensure that the OCRE project is implemented at a satisfactory speed.

Specific duties and responsibilities of the Digitization Assistant include:

  • populating the master spreadsheet of Roman Imperial coin-types
  • cross-checking the main database with the actual coins of the American Numismatic Society to ensure its accuracy
  • updating the user manual for both internal and external use
  • suggesting functionality  improvements when needed
  • collaborating with the other staff members involved with the project, including the Assistant Photographer and the curatorial staff of the American Numismatic Society
  • helping and assisting the curatorial staff with data-entry tasks and database or actual coins checks linked directly or indirectly to the OCRE project


  • interest in ancient history and/or numismatics
  • knowledge of Latin desirable but not essential
  • excellent computer skills and solid knowledge of Excel spreadsheets and Filemaker software
  • ability to handle and manage large data sets
  • attention to detail

The position is ideal for a student in classics, history, archaeology or any related field willing to be part of a high-profile project while preparing for the next stages of an academic or non-academic career. The position is for one year.

Applications consisting of a cover letter, academic resume, and the names of 2 references should be sent to position@numismatics.org

The American Numismatic Society is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action employer.

Ask a Curator: Roman Mints

This is part an ongoing series that answers your questions about our collections. If there’s something you would like to know about, please use the ‘Contact’ form or email us directly here.

Poppy S. from San Francisco asks:

“What was the largest mint in the Roman empire?”

Although Roman authorities operated important provincial mints like Alexandria and allowed many individual cities to retain the production of local coinages, the mint of Rome itself dwarfed any other production center during the classical period of the Later Republic and the High Empire. The only brief exception to that rule was the mint at Lugdunum in central Gaul, which was hugely productive at the beginning of the 1st century. Below is an aureus bearing the bust of Emperor Tiberius struck there in 15-16 AD.

ANS, 1944.100.39239
ANS, 1944.100.39239

In terms of raw numbers, the American Numismatic Society has around 70,000 coins in its Roman collection. For those coins for which a mint has been attributed, 25,000 were struck in Rome. Coinage from Roman Alexandria accounts for the next largest mintage, with some 15,000 pieces, but these coins are also significantly over-represented in the collection, which skews the numbers a bit. Antioch (4,000), Lugdunum (2,000), and then sundry smaller collections from other Roman and provincial mints make up the remainder.


A useful tool for understanding Roman coinage is OCRE (Online Coins of the Roman Empire), an ongoing project to catalogue the holdings of the American Numismatic Society and other major coin cabinets. The database has a cool mapping option that allows you to visualize the mint and findspot data for the coins in the ever-expading database.

Gilles Bransbourg