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In Association with: DIR



The Virtual Catalog of Roman Coins was created to meet a need for a convenient, on-line catalog of Roman coins that could be used by teachers with limited or no access to ancient coins and/or numismatic materials. I have heard from many teachers that they would like to use Roman coins in Latin and history courses, but lack the background and, above all, the resources. My own experience has been that even when I had coins for students to examine I still lacked the materials necessary to help them identify the coins and put them in historical perspective. so, it was to meet these needs that the VCRC was planned.

The main challenge was to gain access to coin images and descriptions. The catalogs published by some coin dealers could be of only limited use--though their photos are often superb--because they are not comprehensive enough to allow identification of a few random coins. In many cases, they also lack historical information about the coins and help with legends or reverse types. The on-line dealer catalogs also are not complete, but often they do have links to useful resources. Their biggest advantage is that their material is digitized and can be manipulated in Web pages. So, with permissions from a few coin dealers who were willing to take a chance on this project, the VCRC was born. Relying on the participation of individual collectors, professional coin dealers, and classics teachers, the VCRC represents a creative solution to an educational challenge. I am grateful to those who were willing to try something new.


The VCRC is a personal initiative, and for that reason development will be slow. Time permitting, we hope to add 50 new images a week to the site. First priority will go to coins of emperors or empresses not yet represented. I also hope to welcome more partners into the project.

The main development goal for 1999 is to add as many images as possible into the database. Toward the end of the academic year more time will be spent editing the descriptions and providing standard references for each images. A more detailed timetable follows:

Tentative Timetable for Development:
  • 1998 October - November: initial database development; internal testing
  • 1998 November: public announcements and public testing
  • 1998 December: stabilize format of VCRC, add first education projects
  • 1999 January: hiatus -- no development
  • 1999 February - March: add backlog of new images and descriptions
  • 1999 April - May: editing and verifying descriptions; adding standard references
  • Update--As the project has grown, it has become difficult to hand edit, revise, and maintain the over 200 catalog pages in the VCRC. Project development between February and June ran a different course than the one predicted above, focusing on converting the static pages into a dynamic database of images and descriptions. On June 7, 1999, conversion of the existing catalog, coordination of the catalog entries with major numismatic reference works, and the addition of ancillary information for every entry was complete. The new version of the VCRC was announced on June 8. After a hiatus during the summer, I will resume my schedule of adding images every week. I will also return to the education projects and complete what is indicated on the student and teacher pages. I would be grateful for suggestions for additional projects from interested educators.

    For information about the VCRC, please contact me via e-mail ( or at the following address:

    Robert W. Cape, Jr.
    Project Director, Virtual Catalog of Roman Coins
    Associate Professor of Classics
    Classical and Modern Languages, #61653
    Austin College
    900 N. Grand Avenue
    Sherman, TX 75090-4400