Coin mintage collapsed the Roman Empire. Is history repeating itself?


The antoninianus can be an interesting theme for coin collecting. It can also be part of a collection of coins minted by the Roman emperors, because many of the third century rulers, especially after 251, minded only these coins (a classical example is the emperor Marius, who ruled for 3 days in 267 but minted only antoninianus). Another interesting theme is collecting the coins minted by only one emperor, like the so called “animal series” minted by Gallienus (253-268) and showing different kinds of animals like lions, eagles, centaurs and so on.

ancient roman

Also, coins minted by emperors or usurpers such as Regalianus, Nigrinianus, Julian of Pannonia or many others are very rare and surprises can appear. For example, the emperor Macrinus ( 217-218) is rare but not as rare as the emperor Macrianus Senior (259-261) or his son Macrianus Iunior.

Vasilita Stefan

June 2009

Romans were not the first to use gold and silver as a means of payment but they were one of the first to debase their own currency. Are we following the ancient Roman Empire

Their usual method was to mint coins at the same face value but with a reduced metal content thereby increasing the amount of money available. This had a massive inflationary impact on the Romans.

Overtime the metal content of silver coins decreased until it was only around 4% of the ‘silver’ coin. So while for hundreds of years inflation was non existent around 30 yrs after the silver content was reduced inflation rose at an average of 9% a yr.

So we are copying the ancient Romans in inflation also

That sounds terrible but these days its even worse as the federal reserve can just print more bank notes, at least in the Roman dayscurrency still hadsome precious metal backing. Governments with large debts always have the incentive to debase their currencies, this hasn’t changed over time. The best way to protect your own hard owned money is to make sure it is just that money! Money was is and always has been gold and silver, you alwaysneed insurance against government actions.

The Roman empire in the 3Rd century Ad was too large and many miles of borders to patrol and this stopped its expansion.

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And this caused many of ancient Rome’s problems

With military expansion halted, the cost of maintain of a large standing army was alibility on the Empire.

But when in expansion times the army was an asset to the Empire as it bought it assets and labour for the Empire a s long .Also expansion added new tax payers taxes from new conquests.

The army was now operating a huge hole in the budget and no funds were available for public works.

So the Empire opted to buy time by currency debasements.

Silver coins were made with less silver resulting in unrest and loss of confidence in the Roman coinage of the day

This resulted in the worlds first fiscally driven inflation crises.

Update 2015

The Modern western world is currently printing money at faster rate in its history.

The western private sector debt blew up in 2008 and is known as GFC.

The Government sector debt is also due for large correction as governments keep printing money.

In 2012 worlds leading economies have 7.6 Trillion of debt maturing this year, according to Bloomberg

A far worse scenario than what the Roman empire had to face!

Japan owes 3 trillion. and USA 2.8 trillion

Romans printing presses were not electronic as today’s Government printers mass produce currency at a flick of a switch.

But in 2011 Standard and Poor’s credit rating has downgraded USA and now in 2012 many European nations will be downgraded so borrowing costs will dramatically increase and borrowing costs for G-7 nations could increase up to 39%

Higher borrowing costs will now weaken value of printed money.

Austerity measure will be a necessity and not a choice.

Many nations face prospect of recession in 2012 basically due to borrowing costs

2012 most western nations are insolvent and if they were business they would be in receivership or under administration.

History is clear in that when any country has a large percentage of GDP that economic growth is nearly impossible.

These nation can either default or hyper inflation.

Our modern society is not unique and can or will suffer the same consequences as ancient empires.

The Roman Empire, for example, began its decline shortly after Augustus became de facto emperor in 27 BC.

He was followed by a long series of dismal failures and social unrest and financial upheavals - Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, etc

But Rome muddled along for hundreds Years

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