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Index Of All Titles


Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Glass
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Armenian Numismatics Page
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Greek Alphabet
Greek Dates
Greek Mythology Link
Helvetica's ID Help Page
Historia Numorum
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
Maps of the Ancient World
Mint Marks
Nabataean Numerals
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
The Temple Tax Hoard
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tyrian Shekels
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Widow's Mite




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Potin.-- This is one of the names given by French numismatists to base silver.  The writers of that nation have adopted both this denomination and that of billon, either indiscriminately, or in their endeavor to discover the difference between the nature of the alloys which form the materials thus qualified.  Potin is a composition of copper, tin and lead, of which some of the money of the ancients was fabricated.  "Its name" (says Millin) "is derived from the mixture of metals employed in the manufacture of pots." -- Savot denies that there is any silver in potin; an opinion not coincided in by Rinckens, who agrees in sentiment with Savot. -- Bimard asserts, that, "besides copper, lead, and a little tin, there enters into the components of that potin, of which medals were coined, about one-fifth of silver."  In which case there is but little distinction between potin and billon, the latter containing a slight portion of silver.

  "These discussions respecting the real meaning of modern appellations" (as M. Hennin justly observes) "lead to no result of any importance.  It is sufficient to know that silver was subjected to various degrees of adulteration, in different countries and at different epochas; and this species of ancient coinage is designated by the names of potin or of billon, always bearing in mind that the denomination of potin is more generally applied to Imperial Greek, and that of billon to Roman money."

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