Where to Buy Ancient Coins Online
The aim of this guide is to provide a database of online sources for buying ancient coins online.
One of the great things about ancient coins (and one of the most surprising things for the new collector) is that, even though they can be thousands of years old and can provide a direct connection to a time of legend and fascination, many high quality coins can be brought for a surprisingly low amount. And in the age of the internet you can order them from your desktop and have them delivered into your hot little hands from the other side of the globe without much more effort than a few mouse clicks and opening the door when the courier arrives.
This creates all kinds of opportunities for lovers of numismatic art, but also some risks. This guide focuses on the opportunity side of this dichotomy, but a prudent and ethical collector should bear in mind that online coin trading is rife with problems ranging from misdescription (accidental or otherwise), forgery, and even darker potential problems pertaining to provenance, such as archaeological looting, unlawful exportation, possible links to organised crime. and even (some say), terrorism. These are topics that I hope to touch on at a later time, but I would strongly encourage collector to educate themselves on these issues before buying.
The links below are to differing auction houses and coin dealers. These links have been selected by me (indeed, this database is for my own use as much as yours!) but that should not be considered an endorsement of the site linked toor any coins that they sell. Even the best dealers and auction houses will occasionally make mistakes about identification, provenance or authenticity, and of course the best fake coins are intended to be hard to detect. On top of that some of the general auction platforms are more or less unregulated. So be guided by the principle of Caveat Emptor, or, better yet, as the great Joe Sermarini (owner of Forvm Ancient Coins), says, “If you do not know the coin is genuine and/or do not know the expertise or honesty of the seller, then DO NOT BUY”.
eBay is probably the largest single platform for coin sales (ancient or otherwise) on the internet. This is a double edged sword as on the one hand it allows collectors access to a huge selection of coins and there are bargains to be had. However it is also a hotbed of coin fraud, misdescription and over pricing, and it is definitely not recommended for novice collectors. Many reputable dealers however have eBay stores and make good vendors to begin your eBay experience with. Some are listed below (in alphabetical order)::
DIsclosure: I am an eBay affiliate which means that if you buy an item from eBay after clicking on a link from this website I may be paid a commission by eBay. If you find my site useful, and if you are considering purchasing items from eBay I would be grateful if you could click through via my site as it helps to keep the lights on
Catawiki hosts weekly specialist auctions across many different categories including ancient coins. While the selection is less than that available on eBay the quality of coins available tends to be somewhat more consistent. The auctions are also overseen by specialist auctioneers. Although they don’t appear to inspect the auctions in the flesh they do claim to review consignments and this certainly seems to weed out most obvious fakes before they hit the auction listings (although as with all auctions mistakes do happen).
Trademe is a general online auction site available to New Zealand and Australian sellers and buyers. It boasts active coin auction listings, which includes a small section of ancient coins (from time to time including the odd sale from the collection of yours truly).
Stores/Online Market Places
Forvm (Joe Sermarini) is a great coin vendor who takes utmost care with the coins he sells. He guarantees authenticity for life. He also hosts one of the more active ancient coin forums on the internet which is a fantastic repository of information and frequented by some very knowledgeable members who are happy to share their knowledge (so long as you are polite and stick to the forum rules). Members auctions are run through the site as well.
MA Shops hosts many vendors and hundreds of thousands of coins sold at buy now prices.
Vcoins hosts over 150 coin dealers on the one site offering a great selection of coins at “buy now” prices.
Roma Numismatics holds itself out as the UK's premier auction house for ancient coins. It’s auctions include some very high end coins and they require their consignors to affirm that their lots are their lawful property to sell, and where cultural property restrictions may exist, that it meets the requirements to be legally imported into the United States and Germany.
An international coin auction house and online shop, CNG is host to may high quality online and offline auctions and coin sales
Directories and Auction Platforms
NumisBids is a great, independent online resource that lists current and upcoming coin auctions and allows collectors to not only browse across their catalogues but search too.
Biddr is a live bidding platform that serves as an interface between numismatics Auction Houses and online bidders offering real time streaming of room auctions to an internet audience as well as live online auctions. Several major coin auction houses use the biddr platform for their premium auction events so it proves great access to high end content.
Sixbid is an online auction platform used by many major numismatics Auction Houses that allows collectors easy bidding, search and watchlist features across a number of auctions, as well as advance notice of the same.