Julius Caesar made several extremely influential decisions during his time as emperor of Rome, but one of his most influential decisions was to use his own image on his coins. This decision shifted the way the ancient world saw coins, and as a result, it had a huge impact on the value of Roman coins as we see them today. For collectors, this means an easy way to tell when a coin was minted and, therefore, what it's approximate value might be.
Valuing Coins Based on Imagery
Julius Caesar was one of the first rulers of the ancient world to put his image on coinage as a form of propaganda, so this gives historians a good turning point where the ancient world switched from using state and nature imagery to using imperial imagery during and after the rule of Julius Caesar. Therefore, without any further examination, you can know whether a coin was minted before or after the reign of Caesar, which lasted from 47 BCE to 44 BCE, just based on who or what is on either face, provided you have been assured of the coin's authenticity.
Of course, the shift from images of bulls or olive branches on ancient coins to emperors makes tracking these later coins much easier. In fact, one can tell the age of a coin to within a couple of decades based on the emperor on its face, which is good news if you're specializing in later Roman coinage. A key of images is useful when trying to discern the ages of these coins, as the writing on the coins hardly ever contained the name of the emperor, much like American coins today. For best results, use a timeline with pictures of coins confirmed to be from each emperor's reign to better figure when the coin in question was minted, and as always, beware of fakes.
Building Your Collection
A great coin collection is built by setting goals and constantly looking to expand, and one great way to expand your ancient coin collection is by collecting pieces from either side of this ideological divide, therefore being able to feature a series or two of coins that tell the story of how Caesar came to use his empire's money as his own source of propaganda. For history buffs and numismatists alike, this well thought out care is what distinguishes a curated collection from an amateur one.
For more information about ancient coins, contact a company like Harlan J. Berk, LTD.Share