Starting from the twenty-ninth issue tetradrachms issues are divided in parts, they are distinguished on the reverse by letters in alphabetical order reported above the Panathenaic amphora, and handled by a different monetary magistrate that is supported by two other regular officials that follow the entire issue. Under the amphora, instead, a progressive number is reported that indicates the coins minting progress. To understand better this elaborated symbol system lets observe the figure here posted which reproduces some tetradrachms from the 166-165 BC. issue distinguished by the symbol with an anchor alongside a star. The letter
on the amphora on the reverse of the coins no.1 and no.2 indicates the third part of the issue with a series of 11 parts indicated with progressive letters from A to
. Reconstructing the whole emission with the anchor and the star symbol it is noted that within each part of the emission, distinguished by a different alphabetical letter reported on the amphora, a part of the coins have under the amphora the initials ME (coin no.1, fig.no.18), while the remaining part of the coins have the
sign (coin no.2). These two signs, interpreted as compound numbers and not like letters, reveal to be a numerical progression formed by two products: ME that is (5) x M (10,000)= 50,000 drachms (equal to 12,500 tetradrachms) -In fact, 50,000 drachms : 4 (value of each tetradrachm in drachms) = 12,5000 tetradrachms- while
is 200 (
) x 500 (
) = 100,000 drachms (equal to 25,000 tetradrachms). This meant that in each part of the issue there had to be 100,000 drachms and so, in reality, 25,000 tetradrachms. The coins on and on minted, then, contained a kind of “counter”, which meant that the progressive notation informed what point the mint’s production had reached, at the moment of their minting: they started with minting the first 50,000 drachms (indicated on the ME coins) and, once minted that quantity of coins, they aimed towards the 100,000 drachms amount (indicated on the
:Greek_Phi:coins). Once actually the amount of 100,000 drachms was minted (and so, practically 25,000 tetradrachms) they reset the “counter” and restarted minting a new series of 100,000 drachms (reported first with ME and then with
under the amphora) indicated in a new part of the issue, above the amphora with the following alphabetical letter. For this reason, the parts of the issue were indicated with an alphabetical numbering (the letters on the amphora) and the quantity of coins falling into each issue’s portion were indicated with the numerical progression (the numbers under the amphora).
Once minted all the coins falling within a given portion of the issue, then, as well as restarting the numbering of the pieces minted, even the third magistrate was replaced (the third name on the reverse in the bottom right field) it was set aside the two regular magistrate that followed the whole issue: in the specific case the magistrate
(coin no.1 and no.2), that had supervised the coinage of the coins in the
series adding his name to the other two regular magistrates
, it was replaced by
called to help the
series coinage (coin no.3).