An introductory guide to identifying Roman coins

The suggested approach for identification or Roman coins.

 Work out the denomination of the coin using the information and pictures under denominations. Once you have established this you can roughly date the coin within the Roman period (i.e. if it is a radiate to AD 215-295). This will cut down the number of possible emperors that might appear on the obverse.
Go to 2(a) or 2(b)

STEP 2(a)
If your coin is one of the early denominations or a radiate the next step is to work out the emperor from the inscription and the portrait. Use the information and pictures under inscriptions and obverses.

Go to 3a

Step 2(b)
If your coin is a 4th century nummus, search the common types shown under reverses/common 4th Century reverse types. This will give you the date of your coin, and a list of the possibilities of the emperor shown on the obverse.

Go to 3b

STEP 3 (a)
Once you have established the emperor shown on the early denomination or radiate, use the information and pictures under reverses/understanding reverse designs to try and determine who/what is shown on the reverse. The inscription may help you work this out.

Go to 4

Step 3(b)
Once you have identified the reverse of a 4th century nummus, try to identify the emperor from possibilities listed with it.

Go to 4

Some 3rd century radiates and almost all 4th century nummi have mintmarks that indicate where they were produced. These normally appear around the margins of the design and at the bottom (the exergue). These are often difficult to read, but use the information under mints and mintmarks to help you.

Go to 5

If you could not fully identify the coin (i.e. you could not work out who/what was depicted on the reverse); record as much information as possible. Recording standing figure holding branch?', or the inscription P[]X[]V[] may help others identify your coin at a later date.