Recommended reading on Roman coins

The following books and catalogues are recommended and have been the source of much of the material in this guide. Some are still in print and are available from Spink. Books marked with an * are affordable and particularly helpful in identifying and understanding Roman coins.

Detailed catalogues

  • M H Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage ( Cambridge University Press) - Roman Republican Coinage is the essential reference work for Republican coins. It is well illustrated and easy to use, but at £165 it is very expensive. See Sear below for a cheaper alternative.
  • H Mattingly & others, Roman Imperial Coinage , volumes 1-10 (Spink) - RIC covers all Roman coins from Augustus down to ad 491 and is the most commonly used reference. Some of the volumes, especially V ( AD 253-94) are now outdated and all suffer from a limited number of illustrations. At a cost £630 for the complete set, RIC is beyond most budgets. Again Sear provides a cheaper alternative.
  • H Mattingly & R A G Carson, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum , volumes 1-6 (British Museum, 1923-62) BMC has more illustrations and information than RIC . It is in many ways easier to use, but it only goes down to AD 238.
  • R A G Carson, P V Hill and J P C Kent , Late Roman Bronze Coinage (Spink, 1960) - Within only 115 pages LRBC lists all bronze coins minted between AD 324 and 498 (covered in 4 volumes of RIC ). However, it is condensed, difficult to use and poorly illustrated.
  • D R Sear, Roman Coins and their Values volumes I and II (III in production) (Spink) * - This is the standard collector's handbook. It is less comprehensive than RRC and RIC , but significantly cheaper at £40 per volume. It benefits from providing RRC and RIC references (for all Roman Republican and Roman Imperial coins respectively).  

Books and background reading

  • R Reece & S James, Identifying Roman Coins , second edition (Spink, 2000) * - This is an excellent guide for the beginner with line drawing illustrations (misleadingly all drawn to the same size). It is particularly effective for the identification of 4 th century copper-alloy coins and is a bargain at just £9.99.
  • R Reece, The Coinage of Roman Britain (Tempus, 2002) * - A good introduction to Roman coins found in this country, coin hoards and site finds (only £10). A Marsden, Roman Coins Found in Britain (Greenlight, 2001) * - A useful beginner's guide to Roman coins, with helpful section on copies and forgery. It also contains lots of useful pictures and lists.
  • R A Abdy, Romano-British coin hoards (Shire Archaeology, 2002) - An excellent introduction to coin hoards in Roman Britain and readily available for just £5.99.
  • J Casey & R Reece (eds.), Coins and the Archaeologist (Seaby, 1988) - A good introduction to the study of numismatics. J M Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (1998) * - A good source of basic information about the denominations, inscriptions, imperial titles, personifications, deities and everything linked to Roman coins.