One book is far and away the best for identifying worn late Roman bronzes. It is by Guido Bruck, Die Spatromische Kupferpragung.. Lest you be put off by the German, let me explain. It does not comment on the types. It is just an excellent aid to identification. It consists of many large and very accurate type drawings in black and white, organized alphabetically by reverse legend and well-indexed by pictoral design. If you can see part of the design, you can identify the type. Here is a typical page -- this one on the AE2 galley type with legend GLORIA ROMANORVM.
Here is how it works. At the beginning there are pages with drawings
of all the possible late Roman AE designs (without legends, just the designs)
beginning about AD 310. Similar designs are grouped together and keyed
to the legends, so you can identify all the legends associated with the
pictures somewhat similar to, say, Victory left. Then, the larger part
is in much greater detail. You look up a type by its legend. Each
type is then attributed to emperor and mint(s). If a single type from
different mints has different possible arrangements of details, say different diadems, or different positions of the fallen horseman, there is a clear drawing of each variety. Every variety lists the emperors, possible mints, and the number of pieces of each in the very strong Vienna collection (long ago). So that gives a rarity indication.
Say you have a type with two figures standing. Find the similar picture
in the index of possible designs and see which legends go with that design.
Then go to the legends to see all the varieties clearly drawn, and the
attributions. If different emperors with the same type can be distinguished
by, say, details of their busts, then the book will have the possible bust
types lined up so you can see the difference. This book incorporates
a huge amount of work very well organized. It won't get you an RIC
number (or any ID number at all), but it will get you the emperor, legend,
and possible mints. You can tell I strongly recommend it
for anyone interested in late Roman AE.
The book is occasionally found on the used book market at about $35 (but this recommendation may cause all copies to disappear and drive up the price!).
Back to page 3 of "Ancient
Roman and Greek Coins, FAQ."
A page with more recommendations of books on Roman coins.