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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Greek Coins (Moderators: Dino, Meepzorp)  |  Topic: Heavy Greek struck bronze coins 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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glebe
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« on: June 02, 2014, 09:43:56 pm »

The heavy Ptolemaic bronzes are well known.
Apart from them the heaviest Greek struck bronze coin that I know of is the extremely rare litra of Lipara shown below, which weighs 70 gm, equal to all but the very heaviest Ptolemaic types.
This is not really my field, so are there any other struck Greek bronzes in this weight range?

Ross G.

P.S. It is also possible that there are heavier versions of the Lipara litra, since the (much commoner) half-litrai often weigh c. 55 gm. In principle then this litra could match the heaviest Ptolemaic types.
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2014, 12:27:44 pm »

. . . so are there any other struck Greek bronzes in this weight range?

There is a Carthaginian AE that has examples approaching 100g!

This item, recently sold, comes in at a whopping 98.59g and 46mm.

Carthage, c.201-175 BC Æ 15 Shekels.
Obv: Wreathed head of Tanit left.
Rev: Horse standing right, uraeus above.
MAA 104; SNG Copenhagen (Africa) 400.

Walter Holt
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2014, 01:03:27 pm »

Below are a couple of Roman struck bronze monsters, an anonymous as weighing 70.7 grams, and a caduceus as weighing 68.0 grams. Seems as if at this size they were approaching the technical manufacturing limit.
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2014, 01:23:12 pm »

While the very largest Ptolemaic types (mean weight ca. 91 grams) apparently ceased production at Alexandria in mid 3rd C., some of these very large/heavy coins were still produced on Ptolemaic Cyprus into the 2nd C.  One wonders if Ptolemaic coins traveled a bit and became the substrates for coins struck elsewhere.

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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2014, 01:27:39 pm »

Below are a couple of Roman struck bronze monsters, an anonymous as weighing 70.7 grams, and a caduceus as weighing 68.0 grams. Seems as if at this size they were approaching the technical manufacturing limit.

What are the presumed dates for these two?  These are both close enough to the mid-late 3rd C. Ptolemaic drachm weight (average ~68.5 grams) to be interestingly parallel.  Fabric and production technology clearly different but weight interestingly close.

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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2014, 01:38:54 pm »

Later, sorry. 214-212 BC. In the mid 3rd century BC all the heavy Roman aes were cast not struck. 70 grams does seem to be the upper weight limit of these struck bronze coins, and most were struck at about 55-65 grams, with a standard weight of probably 1/5 a Roman pound or 65 grams. Flans were made in two-sided closed moulds which we can see both from the edge seam on the lower coin and also from the casting hole defect on the upper coin. These heavy struck coins (and their heavy fractions), are one-tenth of an early denarius of 4.5 grams silver. It is possible that some of these heavier coins were struck over Ptolemaic heavy drachms, but I haven't seen evidence.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2014, 03:17:31 pm »

Here are two more of the big Carthaginian type, weighing slightly less.
I note that ordinary Ae Carthaginian shekels of the time weighed c. 6 gm, while Ar shekels weighed c. 8 gm.
If the denominations are to be taken literally Carthaginian bronze seems to have been hyper-fiduciary in this period. But I rather doubt that the two types are meant to be equal in value.

Ross G.

P.S.  Do we know what terms the Carthaginians actually used for their bronze coins?
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2014, 11:33:06 pm »

Here is yet another, at 95.13g, from an antipodean auction.

Walter
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2014, 02:04:53 am »

Later, sorry. 214-212 BC. In the mid 3rd century BC all the heavy Roman aes were cast not struck. 70 grams does seem to be the upper weight limit of these struck bronze coins, and most were struck at about 55-65 grams, with a standard weight of probably 1/5 a Roman pound or 65 grams. Flans were made in two-sided closed moulds which we can see both from the edge seam on the lower coin and also from the casting hole defect on the upper coin. These heavy struck coins (and their heavy fractions), are one-tenth of an early denarius of 4.5 grams silver. It is possible that some of these heavier coins were struck over Ptolemaic heavy drachms, but I haven't seen evidence.

Possible some very small temporal overlap with the last of the Alexandrian 68.5 gram coins, or, as in the case of Antiochos IV 'Egyptianizing' types, more imitative.

The flans are indeed clearly a different construction than Ptolemaic ones.  There is one very odd coin with clearly Ptolemaic features known with this 'roman' flan construction.  A photo of one is in Pitchfork's book on the Hosking Collection, right at the end.  It's a very strange coin indeed.  One turned up in the USA a few years ago.

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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2019, 08:05:25 am »

This is my heaviest STRUCK coin.

Carthage.
Circa 201-175 BC.
Æ 15 Shekels
45 mm. dia. 7.5 mm. thick. 102+ gm.
Obv: Wreathed head of Tanit left
Rev: Horse standing right; uraeus above.
Ref: MAA 104 ; SNG Copenhagen 400.
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2019, 06:22:45 pm »

I also have a Carthage "15 shekel", aka Peanut Butter Cup  Grin.  It was a fortuitous find in 2013, for sale in a mostly US coin auction venue.  That auction company slabs everything... but this one was returned unentombed with a card indicating the reason:  size Cheesy.  Somewhere I have the NGC photo cert.

ZEUGITANA, Carthage
early 2nd century BCE
AE 15-shekel, 45 mm, 95 gm
Obv: wreathed head of Tanit left
Rev: horse standing right, left foreleg up; Flying Spaghetti Monster solar disk with uraei above
Ref: Alexandropoulos J (2000) Les monnaies de l'Afrique Antique, 103; Müller L (1861) Numismatique de L'Ancienne Afrique, 131; Luynes 3782; Jenkins GK and Lewis RB (1963) Carthaginian Gold and Electrum Coins, Royal Numismatic Society, London, pl. 28 12

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Jay GT4
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2019, 07:31:02 pm »

 Shocked
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