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This is the definitive illustrated reference to the world's greatest coins and a professional guide to building a spectacular collection, featuring over 3000 colour images. This is the ultimate expert guide to coins and coin collecting. This is an in-depth introduction to the origins, anatomy and usage of coins looks at the birth of the world's first currencies. Practical advice on evaluating grade and condition that will enable the amateur to gauge the value of their latest acquisitions, and step-by-step techniques show how to restore and preserve coins of all ages. The fully-illustrated country-by-country directory contains concise and lively histories of modern-day territories and ancient regimes, plus engrossing stories of some of the most remarkable coins in existence. This is a full-colour global guide to world coinage, from its origins in the 7th century BC to the present day, featuring coins and collectables for 200 countries. It provides an expert guide to understanding the value and identity of coins, with insights into dates, metals, denominations, shapes, mintmarks, and portraits. This thorough introduction details the history of coin production around the world, from the origins of coinage in the seventh century BC, to its subsequent development by Alexander the Great, Cleopatra and Napoleon, through to its role in today's society. It includes over 3000 life-size colour images of wonderful coins, including the boat-shaped issues of ancient Byzantium, the bronze tokens of the Chinese dynasties, the emergency World War One issues, the Vatican coins, and many more.