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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Type| ▸ |Weights & Scales||View Options:  |  |  | 

Weights and Scales

Weights are among the more common objects of the ancient and medieval world. Weights and a balance were essential for measuring quantities of many commodities and for evaluating coins. Probably the most common class of weights are those for evaluating coins. Balance weights were made of metal (most often bronze or lead), glass, or stone. If the mass of any small solid object conforms to an appropriate weight unit, it is likely to be a balance weight. Many excavated weights have been wrongly identified as game pieces or tokens.

Mediterranean Region, Lead Shell Weight, 1/5 Libra (66.2g), c. 4th Century B.C. - 2nd Century A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Mediterranean| |Region,| |Lead| |Shell| |Weight,| |1/5| |Libra| |(66.2g),| |c.| |4th| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||weight|
Hendin lists several such shell-shaped weights. They are found throughout the Mediterranean Region.
AS112250. Lead weight, Hendin Weights 276, Manns-Kloetzli p. 22, 37; Alvarez-Burgos P29; 1/8 Libra lead weight molded from bipod shell, aVF, bumps, cuts, weight 66.206 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, 4th century B.C. - 2nd century A.D.; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00

Byzantine, 2 Bronze Square Coin Weights, c. 300 - 900 A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Byzantine,| |2| |Bronze| |Square| |Coin| |Weights,| |c.| |300| |-| |900| |A.D.|
Based on weight, c. 1 gram each, these are 1 scripula weights. Both are labeled with N, believed to indicate Numisma. The expected weight for a numisma is, however, c. 4 grams. Weights like these are exceedingly common with great variation in their actual weight, but we remain perplexed by the conflict between the very low weight of these specimens and their markings.
AS43875. 2 Bronze Square Coin Weights, cf. Bendall 103 & 104, Collectible, green patina, each c. 1g, ex Ancient Treasures (Plamen Arsoff, Granada Hills, CA, 2011); $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00

Late Roman - Byzantine, Square Bronze Coin Weight, 3 Scripula (3.155g), c. 330 - 800 A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Late| |Roman| |-| |Byzantine,| |Square| |Bronze| |Coin| |Weight,| |3| |Scripula| |(3.155g),| |c.| |330| |-| |800| |A.D.|
AS111489. Square bronze 3 scripula coin weight; Hendin Weights 358 (3.13g, marked with Γ); marked with a diagonal line, Average, green patina, some patina chips/corrosion, 3.155g, 10.6mm x 10.6mm x 4.1mm, ex Ancient Treasures (Plamen Arsoff, Granada Hills, CA, 2011); $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00

Persian Empire, Samaria, Bronze 1 Shekel Weight, c. 375 - 332 B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |Bronze| |1| |Shekel| |Weight,| |c.| |375| |-| |332| |B.C.|
According to David Hendin's, Guide to Biblical Coins, weight standard and silver content differences in the Persian Period existed as follows:
Type                      Weight    AR %    AR g
Edomite Sheqel    15.96g   96.4%  15.38g
Judaean Sheqel    11.33g   97.0%  10.99g
Samarian Sheqel  14.52g  91.8%  13.32g
Philistian Sheqel  14.32g  94.3%  13.50g
AS111501. Judah, bronze 1 shekel sphere weight, Hendin Weights -; Tushingham -; Kletter 1998; sphere with two flat surfaces, Choice, 14.427g, 15.7mm diameter, c. 375 - 332 B.C.; ex Archaeological Center (Robert Deutsch, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2012); rare; $640.00 SALE PRICE $576.00

Phoenician, Bronze Trapezoid Cube Weight (Ayin - 21.595g), c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Phoenician,| |Bronze| |Trapezoid| |Cube| |Weight| |(Ayin| |-| |21.595g),| |c.| |7th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|
This weight is the usual shape for the type, an inverted truncated pyramid - a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top. The type dates from perhaps as early as the the 9th century B.C. to the end of the Persian period. They were undoubtedly used to weigh silver bullion for transactions. Kletter lists nine weights with circle marks, ranging from 2.55g to 80.67g. Some, like ours, were incised with straight lines or punches. Most were found at Akko.
AS111486. Phoenician, bronze trapezoid cube weight; cf. Hendin Weights 245 (21.63), Kletter 2000 25 (21.17g), Hecht A 47 (20.03g), Choice, 21.595g (3 shekels?), 14.3x16.6x12.9mm, c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.; inverted truncated pyramid (a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top), incised circle (Phoenician ayin) on top created with a 8 short straight line cuts, ex Shick Coins (Max Shick, Israel, 2012); $640.00 SALE PRICE $576.00

Western Asiatic, Black Stone Duck Weight (7.736g), Bead, or Amulet, c. Early 1st Millennium B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Western| |Asiatic,| |Black| |Stone| |Duck| |Weight| |(7.736g),| |Bead,| |or| |Amulet,| |c.| |Early| |1st| |Millennium| |B.C.|
Carved hematite weights were made in Mesopotamia in from the Old Babylonian period until Neo Babylonian times, c. 1900 - 1600 B.C. Hematite is widely found in Syria and Turkey, but was imported into Mesopotamia because it was not found locally. After about 1600 B.C., weights made in Mesopotamia were carved from a black stone that looks similar but which is not hematite. Similar ducks were also carved in lapis lazuli, agate, carnelian and other stones. Pierced ducks may have been used as beads or amulets.
AS111496. cf. Hendin Weights p. 147, 64 (similar, but hematite, 10.29g, 30 giru) and 67 (8.06g, shekel, but hematite and unpierced), Choice, surface chips, 7.736g, 12.6x22.7x14.1mm, c. early 1st Millennium B.C.; reverse carved black stone (not hematite), the form of stylized duck, its head and neck turned back, hugging the body with the head resting flat on the center of the back, pierced crosswise below the neck and head, flat base; ex Collector Antiquities (Dr. Bron Lipkin, London, UK, 2012); $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00

Syria - Persia, Bronze Bull Head Amulet or Weight (7.717g), c. 1500 - 650 B.C.

|Amulets|, |Syria| |-| |Persia,| |Bronze| |Bull| |Head| |Amulet| |or| |Weight| |(7.717g),| |c.| |1500| |-| |650| |B.C.|
Bull head pendants were popular across the ancient world. The Hilprecht Collection of Greek, Italic, and Roman Bronzes in the University of Pennsylvania Museum, pl. 4, fig. 46 is a very similar Etruscan bull head pendant. The referenced amulet from Luristan is not as similar but, according to an old handwritten tag, this pendant originated in Iran.

Hendin notes that zoomorphic bronze weights adhering to various standards have been found throughout the Aegaean and Levant, as well as Cyprus. Hafford suggests a Syrian origin for some or even most of the zoomorphic weights (Hafford 2002, p. 505 - 7). This bronze might be a weight but, we believe, it is more likely simply an amulet.
AS111480. Bronze bull head amulet or weight; cf. Holmes Expedition pl. 175, f (Luristan, pendant); Hendin Weights 161 (9.40g, weight), Choice, nice green patina, 7.717g, 21.8mm, attractive style with well modeled horns, eyes, nose, and mouth, looped for suspension at the back of the head, ex The Time Machine (Mark E. Reid); SOLD

Medieval Europe or Levant, Square Bronze Weight, Ducat (3.470g), 1350 - 1500 A.D.

|Medieval| |European|, |Medieval| |Europe| |or| |Levant,| |Square| |Bronze| |Weight,| |Ducat| |(3.470g),| |1350| |-| |1500| |A.D.||weight|
Ducat is from Medieval Latin ducatus, "relating to a duke (or dukedom)," and initially meant "duke's coin" or a "duchy's coin." Roger II of Sicily, who was also the Duke of Apulia, struck the first gold ducats in 1140. The Venetian ducat, introduced in 1284, officially contained 3.545 grams of 99.47% fine gold, the highest purity medieval metallurgy could produce. The Venetian ducat was widely imitated. Papal coinage included ducats. Venice struck ducats until Napoleon ended the Venetian Republic in 1797. Hungary struck ducats until 1915.
BZ90826. Bronze weight, Square bronze coin weight; 10.0mm x 9.3mm, 5.0mm thick, weight 3.470g, obverse D with serifs (style similar to the D in inscriptions on c. 15th century Venetian ducats) and three pellets around, within dotted square border, within square incuse; reverse blank; SOLD

Islamic, Glass Weight, 9th Century A.D.

|Sasanian| |and| |Islamic|, |Islamic,| |Glass| |Weight,| |9th| |Century| |A.D.|
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AA32477. Islamic large glass disk weight; 4.1 cm (1 5/8"), clear green, Arabic central stamp and four oval stamps around, Choice, SOLD


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