A Tiny coin, Really Tiny

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Bing, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    This is the smallest coin I own. I wasn't even sure my scale would register the minuscule weight. But the devises are engraved so well, even with the wear, there is no mistaking what they are. The coin was struck slightly off center, but in truth, I can't image how they could strike such a small flan.
    AR Tetartemorion
    OBVERSE: Lion's head left with reversed foreleg below
    REVERSE: Lion's scalp facing, flanked by leg on both sides, in incuse circle
    Struck at Mylasa, 392-376 BC
    .2g, 6mm
    SNG Keckman I 837-846 (lion left) I do not own this reference so am relying on internet sources.

    Struck by Hecatomnus of Mylasa or Hekatomnos (Greek: Ἑκατόμνος) who was an early 4th-century BC ruler of Caria. He was the satrap (governor) of Caria for the Persian Achaemenid king Artaxerxes II (404–358 BC). However, the basis for Hecatomnus' political power was twofold: he was both a high appointed Persian official and a powerful local dynast, who founded the hereditary dynasty of the Hecatomnids.

    In a previous thread, someone said these small coins were carried in the mouth in order to hide them from robbers. I would probably swallow it and have to search for it at a later time. Yuk!

    Post your small coins of any era.
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I always remember that an almond weighs a gram...you have 1/5 of an almond! I love those tetartemorions...amazing how folks used them to trade. I could not keep them in my paws!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
    galba68 likes this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    That is tiny, neat. Don't have any that small either.
  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Nice runt-coin @Bing !

    My little runt!

    upload_2016-2-15_23-28-34.png upload_2016-2-15_23-28-57.png
    Ionia, Kolophon, 6th-century BC

    AR tetartemorion, 0.15g; 530-520 BC
    Obv.: Archaic head of Apollo left.
    Rev.: Incuse punch.
    Reference: SNG Kayhan 343

    I keep mine in a US Dime capsule, then in a Safeflip in my album. Else, I would lose it. Just amazes me how tiny these coins are!
    Deacon Ray, galba68, Okidoki and 20 others like this.
  6. brandon spiegel

    brandon spiegel Brandon Spiegel

    how in the world could they produce a coin with such precision, its just amazing!
    Pellinore and stevex6 like this.
  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    It is just amazing, I agree. I am near-sighted, but I am sure I would never be able to cut those dies!
  8. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I am doing the same. If I have to handle it much, I will lose it for sure.
    galba68 and Alegandron like this.
  9. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    I have 1 or 2 that small from India 2-3mm. now if i could only find that pic...
  10. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Engraving such small dies is one thing, striking them is another story. I imagine the guy involved loosing at least two fingers everytime he would punch the dies with his hammer : they must have been slaves and change them frequently :D

  11. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    That one's in great shape, Bing. These little Greek fractions would really make a neat sub-collection that one could build on the cheap.

    IONIA, Teos
    Circa 540-478 BC
    AR Tetartemorion
    0.14g, 4.7mm
    Cf. CNG 63, lot 506
    O: Head of griffin left.
    R: Quadripartite incuse square with raised central pellet.

    Perspective shot, next to a grain of rice...
    galba68, Okidoki, Nyatii and 19 others like this.
  12. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

    Small? - Here is my Gold Haga, or one-quarter Fanam next to an 1883 Morgan Dollar. (My smallest coin at 2.28 mm.)
    Obv: Cross
    Rev: Cow

    quarter Fanam.jpg
    Okidoki, Nyatii, randygeki and 15 others like this.
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Everytime this comes up I show the same coins since I so rarely get a new one. You are paying more than I will. My favorite is in poor condition but I like it because it is related to a famous coin. This Syracuse hexas is 1/300 of their famous dekadrachm. While not pretty and not at all in demand, the hexas is quite scarce. Search and see how many you find compared to the big guys.

    Syracuse AR hexas, 0.05g but exfoliation has removed half of its original weight
    Arathusa head rt./2 dots 485-476 BC
    The hexas is 1/6 litra; a litra is 1/5 drachm; that is 300 in a dekadrachm. I paid $54 for this one which is 1/300 of $16,200 or roughly the price for a low grade dekadrachm. Mine is not for sale but I would like an upgrade.


    I am embarassed by my Athens tetartemorion. At 0.15g it is too big. I really wanted the hemitartemorion or half of it but have not found one yet. This is so off center that all we got was the helmet crest on Athena. A little imagination shows the A and theta above the crescent. I would not have bought this one but for the fact that I have not seen that many and decided on a space filler.

    Three times as big is this 0,5g 3/4 obol (tritartemorion) presented without apology (ex NFA 1990 - the same sale had a nice tetartemorion on which I was outbid). g01310bb0462.jpg
    galba68, Okidoki, randygeki and 13 others like this.
  14. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    What a tiny coin! I don't know how the ancient Greeks weren't losing them all the time.

    The technical skill involved to produce something that small is truly a marvel.
    brassnautilus likes this.
  15. brassnautilus

    brassnautilus Well-Known Member

    what vespasian70 said.
    It's not that difficult to understand their creation, Miniature tools and lot of magnification, but very difficult to imagine how they were circulated and handled. Magnifiers weren't affordable by normal people, even rich people...
    Plus, however small they are, they actually carried quite a bit of value, few bucks of today's dollar in a 5mm.

    My other question, how does one tell the value if they were that small, and with varying weights and sizes Didn't people get ripped off all the time? How does one know he had a Tetartemorion or Trihemitartemorion or even Hemiobol without being able to see what the graphics were?
    Mikey Zee, TIF and David Atherton like this.
  16. ancientnut

    ancientnut Well-Known Member

    vespasion70 said "I don't know how the ancient Greeks weren't losing them all the time."

    Doug didn't mention it, but this is from his site:

    "Evidence in literature suggests that these coins were carried in the owner's mouth." I would imagine they were placed between the cheek and gum...less chance of swallowing them than dropping them. I wonder what a saliva patina looks like!

    Ah, I see Bing mentioned it in the OP.
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  17. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    how neat bing! little coins are very cool!

    so are big coins.

    and medium coins as well.:woot:

    i posted my smallest recently, but here is a view of it in hand (on finger...7mm at widest).

    galba68, Okidoki, randygeki and 12 others like this.
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    They did. That is how we got the ones we have. Relatively few hoards were made up of thousands of tiny coins compared to those of larger ones. Don't we wish there were more EF specimens from pot finds but what we have were well circulated an often field finds. I wish I could upgrade my favorites with smooth surfaced coins.

    Hektatomnos Satrap, Caria, AR tetartemorion, Lion/Apollo
    The CNG coin sold for over 10x mine and correctly due to my poor surfaces. What would the coin be worth if the entire surface were like my cheeks?
    galba68, Okidoki, randygeki and 10 others like this.
  19. Ancientnoob

    Ancientnoob Money Changer

    Man i just dont have anything this small. 0.2 is darn small and some are smaller as seen in this thread. Wow don't loose it (@TIF )
    TIF likes this.
  20. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Just for contrast:
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  21. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Holy crow, Big-bro ... that's an amazing OP-coin (very small and amazingly cool)
    well, okay then ...

    => here are a few of my lil' babies ...

    Island off Thrace
    8 mm
    0.56 grams
    Islands Off Thrace Thasos Hemiobol.jpg

    Ionia Ephesos Tetartemorion
    5 x 8 mm
    0.17 grams
    Ionia Ephesos Tetartemorion.jpg

    Troas Diobol
    8 mm
    1.16 grams
    Troas Kebren Diobol.jpg

    Troas Obol
    7 mm
    0.61 grams
    Troas Kebren Obol.jpg

    Ionia Erythrai Hemiobol
    6 mm
    0.29 grams
    Ionia Erythrai.jpg

    Macedon Mende
    10 mm
    0.62 grams
    Macedon Mende on Deck.jpg

    Macedon Eion
    10 mm
    0.37 grams
    Macedon Eion Double Geese.jpg

    Pamphylia Side
    9 mm
    0.64 grams
    Pamphylia Side Lion.jpg

    Satraps of Caria
    9.5 mm
    0.82 grams
    Satraps of caria Pixodaros.jpg

    Arkadia Arkadian League
    10 mm
    0.74 grams
    Arkadia Arkadian League.jpg

    Sweet, eh? => yah, a few of those babies are definitely some of my favourite coins (thanks for letting me show-off my stuff, coin-bro)


    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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