There is a growing segment of numismatics (coin collecting) that specializes in ancient and medieval coinage. A surprising number of these coins still exist, and modern cleaning and conservation methods are revealing their beauty and wonder. You can actually hold coins from ancient Greece and Rome in your hand, and add old, old coins from Bible times, and even before, to your collection. Two of our favorite dealer sites for such coins are:
Many of these coins are very afforadable, and all are extremely interesting.
The coin in our primary picture (upper left) is a replica (COPY) of an Greek silver tetradrachm from Gela (Sicily). Since it is a copy, it is worth only small amounts. You can find these on dealer sites and on eBay for $10 US dollars or so. Were it real, it could easily fetch hundreds or thousands of dollars. The genuine coins in our secondary picture, comparing fakes to real coins, can easily bring $3000 or more. Very roughly, for genuine coins without problems such as scratches, stains, spots, and so forth:
worn: $300 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $1000
well preserved: $2500
Some interesting tid bits about these coins (gleaned from the Internet) are:
The bull-man is the river god Gelas
The charioteer is sometimes commanding a biga (a chariot drawn by two horses), sometimes a quadriga (a chariot drawn by four horses). The horses are always galloping right, being crowned by Nike (the Greek personification of victory) flying above.
The date of genuine coins is somewhere around 466-413 BC. For copies, the date is a few years ago.
You can see several other genuine coins like this at this link.
One online collector thinks that many coins like this were manufactured recently and distributed in the US to promote a Greek book. If you have not gotten the message already, do not spend lots of money on such coins without fully trusting the other party.