Numismatic and History Discussions > Celtic, Barbaric & Tribal Imitative Coins

Schnabelpferd type interesting size variation

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From what I understood this celtic type imitates tetradrachms of Phillip II. But there also seems to be a smaller denomination, probably di-drachm. The larger coin on the left is 9g, whereas smaller one is 6,45 g. So, is it celtic didrachm then?, or it is just a much later issue of imitative tetradrachm, which could take place after some sort of 'reform', when celts started minting a bit smaller and debased coins. Your opinions will be much appreciated.

Btw, it seems a small hoard came to the market. Sometimes i see that Schnabelpferds here and there. Very curious and beautiful coin. What an artistic interpretation of the horse!

Thank you for your time.


...I came across the same type with dimensions 3g - 19mm on internet. So, this coin is celtic drachm. So, it seems to be logical that I got tetradrachm and didrachm then (but not two tetradrachms of varying weights from earlier and later periods).

...I do enjoy talking to myself on the Forum...excellent getaway for introvert.

Hi timka,

it is hard to tell what the nominals are if you look at two or three coins only. The weight variation within the same nominal may be as much as 35% or even more if it was struck over a longer period of time. And that's probably also the case of schnabelpferd type generally. The haviest pieces are over 10 grams heavy and the lightest I have seen are about 6 grams heavy. And there are many pieces weighing anything in between the 6 and 10 grams, no clear difference like when you take a picture of the two extremes side by side.

It is also possible that some pieces were contemporarily trimmed. The coin number 2 is smaller but the image of horse is the same size as the one on the first coin. Not identical but same size which indicates it's the same nominal. The same can be said about reverse. Therefore I lean towards same nominal which is for some reason smaller than it should be.

The third coin is a little different. It looks like schnabelpferd. The size is about the same as the second coin but the weight is much smaller which is odd. Again, this might be just another extreme of the same coin type, with worn and re-cut dies. Do you have picture of averse? That might hint something.

Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for getting back to me on this post.

Since the time I made this post I came across many other examples of celtic drachms of different types in various auctions. So that it should be logical that a drachm of Schnabelpferd type should had existed too. I will try to find a pic of obverse of above drachm-size coin tomorrow.

Concerning didrach -looking coin, i agree with you that it is rather a size variation of tetradrachm, may be from the later pariod.

I also know there is a volume by Lanz about Eastern Celtic Tetradrachms. Unfortunately I dont have this book. I assume this book might have the answers to the questions we are discussing over here.



...following up on my above post, I would like to let you know that I could not retrieve the obverse of drachm-size coin. I saw it in facebook group, but it is impossible to find something in facebook for the second time. But what I would like to share here is the pic of ingot and instruments from which eastern celts minted the coins. Ingots were сast individually, and then this ingot was pressed/ hammered with dies. Therefore on some coins we still can see the signs of casting like below coin with side protrusion.  

So, my point is that this specific Eastern celt tribe could utilize the dies of the same size for ingots of various weights, ie approximately 10-8g, 6g and 3gr. I  cannot see signs of the trimming on the 6g coin itself. Basically the coins seem to be not trimmed as you mentioned, but instead ingot of various weight was employed  for minting of 6gr coin. Therefore, we can see the horse, or head on obverse of the same size across various denominations from 3 to 10gr. They did no bother preparing various dies for various denomination, they used the same dies for ingots of various weights/denominations. This is what I can observe across various coins of Schnabelpferd type varying from 3rg to 10 gr.


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