Ancient coins are those from ancient civilizations. The very first known coins are from Ephesus, a city in Ancient Greece. Many of them feature the temple of Artemis, which is one of thew wonders of the ancient world. Many other early ancient coins are from Sumer, Lydia, Babylonia, and other places along the Greek coast.
Early Islamic influences were in coinage of the Seleucids, Parthians, as well as the Sassanians. Coins from ancient India were influenced by Greek coins, Islamic coins, and early Roman coinage. The early ancient coins tended to portray images of Lions heads, horses, or other animals. Some were struck in bronze, silver, or electrum, which is a mixture of naturally occurring gold and silver.
The Daric of Persia was seemingly the very first and most popular early gold coin. The Byzantine Empire closely followed Persia and Byzantine gold coins are, while still of value, are some of the most beautiful and available ancient gold coins.
The Ancient Greeks raised the striking of coins to a fine art and were very adept at creating images to honor their gods as well as their way of life. A type set of ancient Greek coins comprises many types and includes some beautiful coinage, including the highly popular and symbolic Athenian Owl coinage.
Roman emperors took it upon themselves to commemorate their reigns by striking coins throughout the years of power. They also struck coins to honor their golds, great victories, or battles as well as feasts or other celebrations. Many generals received quantities of coins from their emperor as a reward for gallant service or to be shared with their troops after a victory.
By the 11th Century, Chinese cast copper coinage was becoming available and popular. The use of coins in China and Asia became popular as early as the 11th Century BC. All Chinese coins of that era were cast and the majority of them were round with a square hole in the center to they could be tied together. All ancient coins were struck by hand using a hammer with a die enclosed and striking a blank against an anvil.