Collecting ancient antiques seems like it could be an expensive hobby. However, you might be surprised that there are an abundance of super cool artefacts out there for casual collectors that won’t break the bank. Here’s a short guide to what you can find for those thinking about starting a collection. There’s a lot out there, from fossils of ancient sea creatures to coins depicting notorious Roman Rulers.
Fossil finds are commonly viewed as a rare occurrence. However, this is most likely due to media reports about rarer dinosaur fossil finds, such as bones and partial skeletons. In fact archeological expeditions have been known to unearth up to thousands of Orthoceras fossils in one dig site!
As a result, due to the high supply it’s possible to pick one of these puppies up for the meagre sum of $20 on ebay. Just make sure you don’t get scammed- look for visible defects such as cracks, asymmetry and other uniqueness (indicating natural formation and/or excavation marks) to ensure what you are buying is genuine.
One cool fact about Orthoceras is that they could jet around by expelling water from their shells. They could also use this ability for submarine-like vertical maneuvering by increasing or decreasing buoyancy.
This is what Orthoceras is believed to look like- quite odd. They were the ancestors of modern nautiloids such as octopi, cuttlefish and squid, and became extinct 200 million years ago due to the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event.
I would have thought that Roman coins dating back over 1700 years would be high value items. In spite of the age, many coins are up for sale at inexpensive prices in the bucketful. One could expect to pay more for condition, rarity and material- it looks like the base prices for coins from the 3-4th centuries are around $5 AUD plus postage.
Some people prefer to buy coins uncleaned and then polish them themselves. These are usually the cheapest coins on Ebay and in the roughest condition.
Here are some coins that have been cleaned
Coins that are in better condition with more detail intact [ie; that have a higher grade]- and are made out of precious/semi precious materials typically fetch much higher prices than the bronze coins.
It looks like coins from the peak of the Roman empire, from around the time period of Caesar through to the gladiator era are also usually priced higher than those around the late roman empire (4th century AD). With your higher priced targets, make sure they come with a certificate of authenticity.
Stone Age Arrow Heads
Stone age arrow heads can be found from $20 on Ebay. Some date back to the days of hunter-gatherers as far back as 10000 BC.
Here’s one from circa 3000 BC found in the British Isles- a period in history defined by a shift to farming/agriculture and a more sedentary lifestyle.
These artifacts really spark the imagination- it is captivating to imagine living in a period of history so radically different and primitive compared to modern society.
Materials used for the arrowheads changed over time. The earlier ones (20000-3000 BC) are usually made out of flint. Also for sale on Ebay are bronze age arrow heads which are roughly 3000 years old. It looks like there are some replicas and imitations, so just double check to make sure your arrow head is an original.
It’s possible to find some pretty cool artifacts on Ebay at reasonable prices. Although they are well aged historical artifacts, the concept of supply and demand comes into play- more commonplace artifacts are very affordable for the average budding collector. For pieces that have accumulated wear, the grade is also a factor.