Ancient Coin Book Review: ERIC

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ERIC is an encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins recently published by Rasiel Suarez of Dirty Old Coins. It is used to positively attribute and identify Roman coins minted between the reign of Augustus up until the reign of the byzantine emperor Anastasius I.

The key feature of ERIC is its ease of use. Combining a logical referencing system with high quality pictures of most coin types allows even the beginner collector to attribute their coin with ease. Another bonus for the beginner collector is the extra information inserted into this reference guide such as: overview of different types of coinages; overview of different denominations; ruler biographies; market guide for each ruler; rarity guide for each ruler. These features make ERIC an informative as well as interesting read.

As mentioned, attribution is an easy process. However, ERIC depends on the collector recognising the ruler on their coin. If the collector does not recognise the ruler, they are required to browse through the extensive guide until they can find a face or legend that they recognise. However, after the ruler is established, it is quite easy to locate the coin by matching the reverse type in the picture. Then, upon determining the denomination of the coin (the overview of the denominations can be used here if in doubt), the collector scrolls through the list of coins under the appropriate denomination heading until they find coins that match the reverse type. If there is more than one match, the search can be refined by matching any of the following: obverse inscription, reverse inscription, bust type. Though relatively easy, it can frequently be a time consuming experience. Obviously, not all coin types are covered, but this should pose little if any problem for most collectors.

As alluded to above, ERIC's ease of use is mostly attributable to the high quality colour photos. The disadvantage however, is that there is not a picture for every coin type covered. The author has shown great initiative however in recognises the aforementioned limitation and grouping similar coin types together. Thus in most instances, if a picture for a reverse-type cannot be found, a variant of the reverse-type usually is. All the collector has to do then is locate the correct reverse description which would be located near to the description of the picture used.

There are many alternative Roman Imperial Coin references available at a cheaper prices than ERIC (retail value of seventy five American dollars). However ERIC stands out as a book of quality, with pictures of far better quality than most guides, a nicely set out format, and enough additional information to allow for an quality read.

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