Ancient Collector's Blog

26 May 2019

Building a Numismatic Library

Library | Ancient Collector

As I am having more free time, I thought I would start to write book reviews. But before I start, I thought I should put down my views of what constitutes a personal numismatic library, in general terms to make it appropriate for all collectors, but using the titles of actual books in my library to illustrate the different categories of books. I have over a thousand books in my library and more than 250 are numismatic or related to my numismatic areas of interest.

The first type of books you need are what I call Renewable Catalogs. These are books that give current prices for the areas of your collection and are published annually or so. For me there is the Red Book, Spink’s Coins of England and the United Kingdom, Sear’s two-volume Greek catalogue, Roman Coins (Vol. 1 and 2 is all I am interested in), Byzantine Coins, Roman Provincial Coins and the Standard Catalogs of World Coins.

The next type of catalogs is of major collections, either in museums or personal collections. This group includes Roman Imperial Coins (in the British Museum), the Weber Collection, Crawford’s Roman Republican Coins and Gruber’s Roman Republican Coins (both listing British Museum collections) and the Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles (British coins from Roman times to the present in museums and collections around the world – about 70 volumes in total of which I have 8).

The third type are the catalogs that try to include all coin types, regardless of where the coins are held. This group includes Hendin’s Guide to Biblical Coins, Bollender’s Early US Silver Dollars, Sheldon’s Penny Whimsey, Davenport’s series on German Thaler and Dalton and Hamer’s Provincial Tokens.

Next are the books about financial and numismatic history surrounding the coins, such as Carolingian Coinage and the Vikings and Kings, Currency and Alliances.

Then there are the general support books, such as Dictionary of Roman Coins, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, ANA Grading Standards, and COINS (a book on coin photography).

Next on the list would be history books about the time periods of your interests. Here we have Money of Their Own (on counterfeiting), Counterfeiting in Colonial America and Who Was Who in Ancient Rome.

Then you will need some “Coffee Table Books” like the 100 Greatest Ancient Coins, the 100 Greatest United States Coins and Kraay’s Greek Coins.

Next you will also have to include old auction catalogs like the Brand Collection, the John Adams collection of US large cents and NGC’s Triton auctions.

And last there are the books that you get as gifts or see and can’t resist, even if you cannot read them. Mine are Den Svenska Mynthistorien – Vikingatiden ca 995-1035 (in Swedish) and the real winner Kalkowski’s Tysiac Lat Monety Polskiej (in Polish).

I hope that I have not bored you all, but thought that for the relative novice looking to start a library of coin books, this might be helpful to give an idea of the types of books to be looking for and where such a project can lead you.



Level 4

Nice blog. I like to read everything that I can get my hands on to learn all I can about the coins I collect. Like you, I love Ancient Coins. You have listed some books that I do not have and will be getting them, now.


Level 5

Very nice blog. My book collection is as important to me as the coins. They explain the history behind the coins that we love.


Level 6

To me, a nice library is worth as much as the coins in my collection.


Level 4

Very helpful. Thank you!

A numismatic library is an important part of collecting... Thanks for your blog


Level 7

Well I did have many books. It's the secret to collecting. But my house was turning into the ANA library. . Since I have retired and collect only those that catch my eye we do have the house back. Some went to the library . Others to trends. The few I know who collect. Some went to the school up the block. But they all found a good home. I still keep a certain few. Once in a while I will page threw them.. Thank you for mentioning some of yours . I did like the coffee table ones the wife didnt. The kid down the hall has those. Thanks again insulted it.


Level 6

I wish Whitman would update Haxby's Canadian Coin Guide, seems it is way way overdue. I like to also collect auction catalogs from old ANA conventions. It seems like every time I go to a show, their is a Free table loaded with old auction catalogs, they are always fun to pick up. Thanks for your blog and I look forward to your reviews.

    No tags are attached to this post.
We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.