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Features And History Of Antique Roman Coins

Aug 26, 2008
Most new collectors of Roman ancient coins often find it interesting and sometimes difficult interpreting the words or letters on their coins. The reason for this is that the celators that carved dies used to create the coins were forced to used abbreviations in order to fit the entire legend on the flan of the coin. By using abbreviations, they were able to fit an amazing amount of information in a relatively small space.

It is believed that coins played an important part in spreading news and information to a mostly illiterate population. The citizens of Rome and its provinces may not have been able to read, but a coin in hand could send a message almost as well as the written word. By placing representative visual messages on it's coins, the Roman rulers could convey almost subliminal ideas to the people. Such messages could serve as a warning or a way of establishing imperial authority.

For many years roman citizens used the barter system to exchange goods. This system worked well enough in a fairly simple society that dealt mainly at the local level, with villages in a relatively small area trading back and forth with each other. However, as society grew more complex, and trading over a larger area became more common, a standardized system for trading became more desirable.

How the coins were made

The Production of a coin started with the metal from which the coin was to be struck. The metal would either be rolled into a sheet, and then stamped into round blanks, or poured into molds. The dies used to produce the coin were most likely created by first engraving a crude image into iron, which was then annealed, or heated and then allowed to slowly cool. This rough image was then stamped onto a working die, and was then finished by the celator, or die-carver, who would have used hand tools to add the fine details that would complete the die. This final carving must have been the most time-consuming task in the process, and probably required the most skilled workers. Once both dies were completed, one would be mounted on an anvil, and the other on a hand-held punch.

The fact that the coins were all struck by hand, each coin is different from all others. No two coins are exactly alike. Some are more round than others, some have cracks or splits, and many are slightly off-center. This is what makes Roman antique coins so unique and valuable.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for pottery, antiques, and figurines. When shopping for pottery, antiques and figurines, we recommend these online stores for pottery, antique coins, and figurines.
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