15 Rarest And Most Valuable Roman Coins Ever Sold

Old coins are usually made of precious metals, they are heavy and smaller than many modern coins. But when you hear these coins from a time so ancient it’s hard to believe were sold for whopping amounts, you begin to wonder what would make anyone pay that much for them.

The rarity of Roman coins is mostly caused by the fact that few of them are known to exist now. Many of them were made right after the Roman people dumped the archaic idea of trade by barter. This change became imperative as the world of people got bigger and trade transcended the shores of towns, and little cities and began to include transatlantic travel.

In this article, you would be learning about the rarest and most valuable Roman coins. You would also learn that their value is beyond the simple fact of their metal.

15 Rarest And Most Valuable Roman Coins: List

No
Date
Name
Grade
Price
1
450—420 BC
AR Tetradrachm
MS 5/5
$5,760
2
320—300 BC
Siculo-Punic tetradrachm
XF 5/5
$3,360
3
336—323 BC
Alexander III the Great Stater
AU 45
$6,000
4
277—239 BC
Antigonus II Gonatas Tetradrachm
AU 5/5
$5,520
5
336—332 BC
Star Amphipolis Alexander the Great Tetradrachm
AU 5/5
$4,320
6
179—168 BC
Macedonian Kingdom. Perseus Tetradrachm
AU 5/5
$4,080
7
After 54 BC
Scythia Geto-Dacians Coson
MS 5/5
$3,600
8
475—465
Attica Athens Tetradrachm
AU 5/5
$7,800
9
Mid Second Century BCE
Aeolis Myrina Tetradrachm
AU 4/5
$4,320
10
CA. 225—150 BCE
Troan Islands Tenedos Tetradrachm
XF 5
$3,360
11
550—450 BCE
Mysia Cyzicus Stater
XF 5
$3,840
12
120—63 BCE
Pontic Kingdom Tetradrachm
AU 4
$7,200
13
AD 198—217
Cilicia Isaura Caracalla Bronze
MS 5/5
$1,800
14
AD 235—238
Cilicia Tarsus Maximinus
Choice Fine 5/5
$4,320
15
AD 244—249
Phoenicia Tyre Philip I
Choice Fine 4/5
$5,400

1. AR tetradrachm

Grade: MS 5/5

Price: $5,760

AR tetradrachm

Here’s a Roman coin that features the head of Apollo on the obverse and the head of a lion known as Leontinon on the reverse. The styles evident on these coins are the prevalent ones back in the fifth century before our common era. This one originated in Sicily. Like all the Roman coins you read about in this article, this one has come to us from a long way out in history. It sold at Heritage Auctions for $5,760.

2. Siculo-Punic

Grade: XF 5/5

Price: $3,360

Siculo-Punic

This is a Punic made between the years 320 and 300 BC. This coin bears the head of Tanit Persephone wearing a wreath of reeds on the front and a horse head on the left. The Romans were lavish people who designed their coins unabashedly with Greek gods of repute.

Persephone wears a necklace of pearls and earrings with triple-drop pendants hanging from it. The word Siculo is related to Sicily. This was a coin spent by the people of Sicily in the years indicated.

3. Alexander III the Great Stater

Grade: AU 45

Price: $6,000

Alexander III the Great Stater

This is an extremely rare coin from old Macedonia, a province of the Roman empire. It was struck around the years 336 to 323 BC. It features on the front the head of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet and on the other side of the coin is a woman having wings on her back. She holds a wreath in her right hand which she stretches out. This coin went on sale on Heritage Auctions in 2022.

4. Antigonus II Gonatas Tetradrachm

Grade: AU 5/5

Price: $5,520

Antigonus II Gonatas Tetradrachm

This Tetradrachm also belongs in Macedonia. It was struck between 277—239 BC. It features the head of Pan on the front and Athena on the other side with her back to us. The shield in Athena’s hand has a decoration of aegis on it. She holds a thunderbolt in her hand.

The coin is a perfect example of an ancient coin that was struck properly. The color of this coin is deep and clear which means it was well preserved. It was sold at Heritage Auctions on August 25, 2022.

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5. Star Amphipolis Alexander the Great Tetradrachm

Grade: AU 5/5

Price: $4,320

Star Amphipolis Alexander the Great Tetradrachm

Heracles wears a headdress made out of lion skin on the front of this coin. On the other side of the coin you see Zeus seated on his throne with an eagle in one hand and a scepter in the other. This coin, like many Roman coins, is littered with monograms and symbols. The Romans were deeply religious and traditional people. They let their beliefs come through in their currency. This specimen was sold on August 25, 2022, at Heritage Auctions.

6. Macedonian Kingdom. Perseus Tetradrachm

Grade: AU 5/5

Price: $4,080

Macedonian Kingdom. Perseus Tetradrachm

This coin was struck and dedicated to Perseus whose head is on the front and on the back there’s an eagle perched on a thunderbolt with wings spread apart. Here too you have a consistent use of monograms. This coin sold well because it shows great eye appeal.

Perseus was the last king of Macedonia. He inherited this independent kingship from his father Philip V.  Philp had his own son executed which paved the way for Perseus.

7. Scythia Geto-Dacians Coson

Grade: MS 5/5

Price: $3,600

Scythia Geto-Dacians Coson

On the front there are three people who look similar but aren’t. The one in the middle is the Roman consul L Junius Brutus. He is accompanied by two lictors. There are a few monograms too present on the surface. There’s an eagle on the back perching on a scepter.

The example is a well-centered one. It was sold on August 25, 2022.

8. Attica Athens Tetradrachm

Grade: AU 5/5

Price: $7,800

Attica Athens Tetradrachm

This coin features the head of Athena on the front of it. And what you see on her lips is an intentional smile. Her hair is decorated with ornaments of laurel leaves. On the other side is a peculiar looking owl facing you. There’s an olive sprig behind it and a monogram. This coin originated from Athens, a Roman province too. The coin was sold at Heritage Auctions on August 25, 2022.

9. Aeolis Myrina Tetradrachm

Grade: AU 45

Price: $4,320

Aeolis Myrina Tetradrachm

Myrina was a Roman province in the second century BCE that was founded by Myrinus. At one point it was also called Smyrna. It was once occupied by Philip V of Macedon until the Romans made him leave the place and it was declared a free city.

This coin was spent in those days by the residents of that city. Between 1880 and 1882 there were excavations on the site that used to be this city. Perhaps this coin was found in that period. As you can see it shows great preservation and still spots most of its colors. It was on sale for $4,320 at Heritage Auctions in 2022.

10. Troan Islands Tenedos Tetradrachm

Grade: XF 5

Price: $3,360

Troan Islands Tenedos Tetradrachm

Troan or Troyan is a town that was named after the Roman emperor Trajan. This coin shows the head of Alexander lll. He is seen here wearing the horn of Ammon and of course, there’s a dash of monograms on the back of the coin where Athena is seen sitting on a small throne. Here she has irregular legs belonging to a lion, Nike on her right hand, and the other hand resting on a shield. The town of Troyan is now in present-day Bulgaria.

11. Mysia Cyzicus Stater

Grade: XF 5

Price: $3,840

Mysia Cyzicus Stater

A stater was a Greek coin and Mysia was a Roman province in Asia Minor. Its largest city was Pergamum. In Greek mythology, the Greek fleet landed on Mysia thinking it was Troy. Before they left the place Achilles injured the king of the city. This coin is a peculiar one with a simple design which is a far-removed sample from the rest on this list. There’s a winged horse on the front and quadripartite grooves on the back. This coin was struck on a beautifully colored flan.

12. Pontic Kingdom Tetradrachm

Grade: AU 4

Price: $7,200

Pontic Kingdom Tetradrachm

This coin shows the Mithridates Vl, the ruler of the kingdom of Pontus from 120 to 63 BCE. He was a formidable enemy of the Romans until the city fell and became a Roman province. The back of the coin features an array of monograms, a stag grazing, and a star on a crescent. For a coin that is many centuries old, the strike on this coin is sharp and well executed. This coin was sold at Heritage Auctions in 2022.

13. Cilicia Isaura Caracalla Bronze

Grade: MS 5/5

Price: $1,800

Cilicia Isaura Caracalla Bronze

The Romans encountered the Isaurians in the early first century BCE. By 76 BCE they were partially under Roman control. The Isaurians joined pirates in the war of the Cilician which provoked the Romans to compel the people into submission.

This coin was from this general period. The image on the front is that of Roman emperor Caracalla in his youth, also known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus who ruled from 198 to 217 BCE. The coin features impeccable coloring and preservation.

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14. Cilicia Tarsus Maximinus

Grade: Choice Fine 5/5

Price: $4,320

Cilicia Tarsus Maximinus

On the front of this coin, you have the head of Roman emperor Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Thrax who ruled from 235 to 238 BCE. On the other side of the coin is a depiction of the judgment of Paris, a story derived from Greek mythology.

Judgment was one of the issues that led to the Trojan war according to the lore. Some versions also include this event as what led to the creation of Rome. This coin is an altogether storied one. Paris is seen sitting on a rock, he wears a Phrygian cap and holds an apple in one hand and a pedum in the other. Also included here is Athena, Hera arms Aphrodite. This coin was sold at Heritage Auctions in 2022.

15. Phoenicia Tyre Philip I

Grade: Choice Fine 4/5

Price: $5,400

Phoenicia Tyre Philip I

The front of this coin shows the head of emperor Philip I and on the back, there is a depiction of Cadmus’s presentation of the alphabet to the Greeks. The alphabets are written on a papyrus which is seen in his right hand. This is a provincial coin and it was used widely in those days as was the intention of the Romans. This coin was on sale at Heritage Auctions in 2022.

History Of Roman Coins

Roman currency was one of the most popularly used for many centuries, from classical times to the middle ages. The era in which it rained influenced the metallurgy of the coins. It went from gold to silver to bronze and copper coinage.

Coins were also frequently replaced. From emperor Diocletian who stabilized the empire to the Byzantine empire, the coins have borne the face or image of one emperor or the other, sometimes even for very short periods. For instance, emperor Quietus reigned for about two years but had 13 coins made with his image on them from three different mints.

Roman currency didn’t die with the reign of emperors. You can find remnants or signs of Roman antiquity even in modern currencies. The Roman currency became the standard for Muslim caliphates and the European states. For example, the Arabic Dinar is from the denarius coin. So are the British pound and the peso of the Americas, they are both from the Roman libra.

The impact of Roman currency is reflected in American currency culture as well. The origin of the word mint is taught to date back to 269 BCE in Rome during the manufacture of silver around the temple of Juno Moneta. The goddess was associated with money hence her name was applied to places where money was manufactured.

Roman coins differ then from modern coins in that they had more intrinsic value but coins usually had a slightly higher value than the metal content. As time went by though, this changed as the weight of the metals reduced.

Roman coins borrowed style from the Egyptian system of coinage. Coinage was at one point based on the Tetradrachm, a coin that has the value of four drachma. It had lower precious metal, and was equivalent to the denarius. Sometimes a coin would have precious metals, at other times, it would have only a little. For example, there was little bronze available during the republic of Rome, so until the time of Augustus, bronze coins weren’t produced at all.

Roman coin
Source:itv

In the Diocletian era, Roman coins went through more changes. New denominations were created to replace the double denarius. The use of coins was not only for transactions anymore but also to convey ideas. It was a time when Diocletian established a type of rulership that involved four emperors with four territories to rule. It was called the tetraarchy.

Images on coins at this time didn’t serve the primary purpose of showing the emperor who ruled, but it was to give people an idea of the power of the emperor. The reverse of the coin also ideated the power of Rome. Themes like peace, the glory of the empire, the vanquishing of barbarians, and the greatness of the Roman army were themes found on the reverse of Diocletian coins.

Hence, images showed an authority figure that could be any emperor at any time. This style of coinage continued through the time of Christian emergence. At this time Roman coins even featured the monogram of Christ’s name.

Constantine brought some changes to the Roman coin but with only a little variation in themes. There were portraits advertising ideals of the state that were hardly different from one another, and the constant proclamation of Roman greatness.

See also  15 Most Valuable Modern Quarters: Complete Value Guide

Roman currency and coinage have different segments and batches in history. Certain emperors impacted the design, value, and pervasiveness of the Roman currency.

How Much Is A Roman Coin Worth Today?

Roman imperial coins are some of the most valuable old coins experts love to collect. If you are new to coin collection and you have the opportunity to come across them, you just might have hit a gold mine of ancient coinage.

Most old Roman coins are valued on average between $10 to $100 on eBay. These prices are mostly for ungraded coins. More reputable auction houses have recorded more expensive prices for Roman coins. The list of prices in this article suggests that your Roman coin specimen can be worth more than a few dollars.

Cleaned Roman ancient coins average between $50 and $100 on eBay. Prices are higher when cleaned coins that feature important emperors or special Roman history.

NGC says coins that have historical interest can be bought for less than $100. And some can even be acquired for between $5 to $25. Sometimes a collection of 14 coins of Roman historical interest can sell for more than $200 which would bring each piece to $16. At other times one coin can sell for the price of 14 or more coins. As the chart in this list shows.

14 coins of Roman
Source:pinterest

How Rare Are Roman Coins?

In general, they are not as rare as you might think. Rarity can be attributed to periods, particular coins bearing the image of a particular emperor or whose reverse is of historical interest.

On a wider basis, roman coins are dug all over Europe, Asia Minor, and North Africa, the places where the currency was heavily used in trade in the past.

Another issue that affects the rarity of ancient coins is the production of fakes. If you want to purchase from, say, eBay, make sure you are buying from a verified seller. Also, buy Roman coins that are verified by NGC or PCGS.

Furthermore, antique coins—not only Roman—abound. So do Roman coins. Ancient coins also have a history that is so far back—2000 years or more—that the interest in them is not as appealing to modern minds as coins from the 1800s.

Folks now living can relate better to the events from the 1700 and 1800s than to the ones that occurred in the year 200 BCE. The times and people are just so different from us that they hardly influence today’s decisions, politically or socially.

A few coins have religious sentiments for only a fraction of the world’s populace now living. For example, certain Roman coins have the monogram of Jesus Christ on them. But even then, not all who profess the religion find any significance in that fact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Roman coins so cheap?

They are so cheap on account of how much demand there is for them, and how much is there to sell—demand and supply. There are a lot of Roman coins in the world and more are still being dug from archeological sites. The number of people who want them is few. So the demand for them is low, while the supply is high.

What Roman coin was worth the most?

It is the Eid Mar aureus of Brutus from 42 BC. It sold at auction for £2.7 million.

Do people still find Roman coins?

Yes, people still do. In 2015 a molehill yielded more than 4000 bronze and silver coins from the third century CE. In 2021 a clay pot was found with 1,260 coins in Switzerland.

How much would Roman money be worth today?

If an ounce of gold is $1000 an aureus would be $300. A silver denarius would be $12. A sesterce would now be worth $3.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, coins of any make an interesting subject to research. If you are not new to coin collection but haven’t been interested in ancient coins, you should definitely begin with Roman coins. Every coin has a story to tell. And if you do find one, it is important to research the background of that coin before selling it.

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