Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by -monolith-, Nov 28, 2023.
Actual Size (7 mm, 0.38g)
Actual Size (5 mm, 0.25g)
Log in or Sign up to hide this ad.
Yes, going just by the photos can be risky - always check the denomination, diameter and weight.
Really small ancient coins, obol and below, are a collecting specialty on their own. I don't collect them because of this, plus the fact that my eyesight isn't all that good, without the help of high magnification, to view and admire these small works of art.
I only have one obol, given to me as a "thank you" gift by a seller from whom I purchased a tetradrachm.
Bactria, Eucratides I, 171-135 BC, AR obol.
MIG 181a; Bop 9C.
Obverse Helmeted bust of king right
Reverse Palms and caps of Dioscuri, Greek legend on left and right: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / EYKPATIΔOY, monogram below
I also avoid sellers who neglect to add diameters and weights to their coins, as these are critical elements for ancient coins.
Love the wolf. I have hounds.
Lycania - Laranda
Baal / Wolf 324/3BC
Obv. Baaltars seated left, holding grain ear, grapes, and sceptre
Rev. Forepart Wolf
Must admit, great detail on the coin. Was little smaller than I at first gauged while bidding.
These were purchased from an old collection and were shipped in the original old style paper envelopes. So when I opened them I thought "where is the coin". I don't know how the engravers were able to achieve such detail with primitive tools, lighting and no magnification.
So your two coins are hemitetartemorions, as noted earlier, based on the diameter information. What do they weigh?
I updated the photos with the weights.
Below is a similar variety of Hemitetartmorion (my particular type now attributed to the Satrap Hekatomnus by Konuk). The OP coin should be a Kasolaba Hemiobol (= 2 Tetartemoria = 4x larger)?
This one is 4mm, 0.12g:
Ex Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Collection = HN Online 1922 (specimen 3 = this coin)
If you look to the right of the bust, there is an inscription, EK (unlike the OP coin, which has Carian script, probably for Casolaba). This cannot be seen with the naked eye (and went unnoticed by numismatists until recent years). It is not only a mystery that they were able to engrave so finely, but that they would do it all, since the result was essentially invisible.
I have quite a lot of Greek AR fractions that small or even smaller.
A few more from a group lot from the H.A. Cahn Collection (not even the smallest of them, which didn't show any detail at that distance). There's a considerable difference in size between the small coins in the top row and the tiny coins in the bottom:
Honestly, it never occurred to me that the physical measurements could be considered the "fine print" or that people bid without checking it. Even if I'm very familiar with a type and bidding on dozens or more coins in an auction, I always look at the measurements, if nothing else (e.g., to know if it's small or large for type).
Aside from the photo and the provenance, that's the only information the seller has that you can't know independently (unless you recognize that specimen), so I consider it the most important.
@-monolith- Even though the "standardized image size" of online auctions can be deceiving, you obtained two excellent miniature works of art!
@robinjojo, @JayAg47, @Homer2 and @Curtis - great tiny coins.
The detail can be exceptional. In addition to small AR fractions, gold fractions like obols and litrae are very small diameter. I have several obols/litrae from Kyrene, but here are the smallest:
Kyrene AV hemiobol 300-275 BC
0.43 g, 5.5 mm, 4h
O: ship prow right
R: silphium plant
BMC Cyrenaica 224a
Barke AV hemiobol 435-331 BC
0.43 g, 6 mm, 4h
O: horse head right
R: ram head right
Here is my previous post with some of my smallest AR coins: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ti...ings-in-small-currencies.382858/#post-7737791
Safe storage and handling of small coins can be an issue, especially if you have ever dropped one! I used folded polyethylene envelopes inside a non-PVC flip but couldn't see both sides of the coin well without removing. Usually the smallest acrylic coin capsule is 14 mm internal diameter but I recently found 10 mm acrylic coin capsules (10 x 2 mm internal 14 x 5 mm external) on eBay from Armour Coin Capsules. The problem with the capsules is that smaller coins can "rattle" around. How do others store these tiny treasures?
I don't have one single method, but I usually have them in two containers. (Or in big groups inside bags/boxes for ones I don't consider individually important.)
I happened to have a few on my desk when you commented. Three of these 9 are in capsules inside flips, 2 of them with fitted gaskets I trimmed, one a "rattler." One is in a small flip in a big. A few are inside thin archival pouches for cards (or stamps) folded over, one then inside a flip. A couple are just in regular plastic flips.
(I usually don't leave really small ones loose in trays. A few weeks ago I dropped the middle left one above on the carpet & spent hours literally with a comb to find it!)
Yes, the auction sheet had the sizes and weights mixed up. I just received these and haven't had time to catalogue them yet (to verify auction information).
Separate names with a comma.