Bit stuck on Greek / Carthage / Sicily bronze coin

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roerbakmix, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit stuck on the bronze coin below:
    Weight: 11.56g, diameter 23mm. Holed.

    An appealing coin despite the hole, IMHO. Yet, I find it difficult to pinpoint the origin. I've looked into similar bronze coins from Sicily, several Greek cities and North-African coinage (all very unfamiliar for me).

    According to the seller, it's a bronze coin from Kyme, 200-180 BC. However, in my opinion, the coin shows more resemblance to Carthage trishekels during and after the second punic war, e.g. this one (which shows the most resemblance so far):
    Bronze trishekel, cf. Viola CNP 63a; Müller Afrique 245; SNG Cop 411; Alexandropoulos MAA 105e, F, nice style, some pitting, marks, flan cracks, Carthage mint, weight 17.885g, maximum diameter 27.5mm, die axis 0o, c. 200 - 146 B.C.; obverse head of Tanit left, long hair, wreathed in grain, earring with one pendant; reverse horse striding right, Punic letter alef below.
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I think the big difference here is the size... The trishekel is a bit bigger and heavier than your coin. And I feel the style of the obverse (wreath in particular) isn't exactly right for Carthage.
  4. Alegandron

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

    Here are a couple of my Carthage TriShekels:

    CARTHAGE TriShekels
    Carthage AE Trishekel Tanit Horse 220-215 BCE 2nd Punic War 30mm 17.6g Lot 35

    Carthage AE Trishekel Tanit Horse 220-215 BCE 2nd Punic War 30mm 19.7g Lot 36
  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Here are a couple others similar from Carthage

    Zeugitania, Carthage, 201-195 BC
    AE Trishekel

    Obverse: Wreathed head of Tanit left.
    Reverse: Horse standing right, left foreleg raised. Faint area behind head may be worn uncertain mark.
    References: MMA 105a
    Size: 28mm, 18.3g
    Notes: Coin likely broke after casting when separating the coin from the casting “tree”.

    Zeugitania, Carthage, 203-201 BC
    BL 1½ Shekel or Tridrachm, Second Punic War

    Obverse: Wreathed head of Tanit left.
    Reverse: Horse standing right, head left; pellet between hind legs.
    References: SNG COP 396, MAA 81c
    Size: 25mm, 10.0g
    Notes: Black surfaces; The billon of this issue has extremely low silver content, such that nearly all examples appear to be bronze.
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  6. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    @Roerbakmix the animal in the reverse if your coin looks like a horned horse to me. Goat horse? I'm not sure if it's the photo or what...o_O:wacky:
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Question for our Carthage specialists: Are the various poses seen on these horses significant in identifying the denomination or do they have any other significance (date period, workshop?)? Given a number of photos of coins with no size/weight data, how easily would a skilled student be able to sort them by size? The coin below is 27mm, 17.17g. Is that surprising or did you know that when you saw the photo? Perhaps someone would favor the beginners among us with a summery of what we see when looking at various horses from Carthage.
    AE20 5.0g sold as 'Sardinian'
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  8. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    I think it is already implied that this is a fantasy coin and I tend to agree since horned horses appeared on Seleukid coins and the overall appearance of the coin in discussion points to being fake.
  9. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    In examining the site further, there appears to be a lesser known, smaller version of this trishekel type, showing one very rough example, but you can make out the similar striding horse reverse motif and if you squint can imagine the obverse is similar to the larger one.
    22.1mm, 6.37g

    OP coin:
    23mm, 11.56g

    It's possible that yours is a non-corroded, tiny bit bigger flan, moderately heavier (due to the previous characteristics) coin of this type?

    The size of the horse on yours though appears larger on a larger flan, so still I'm uncertain.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  10. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    I agree with @Justin Lee and @dougsmit that both weight and diameter are different compared to the trishekels. Just to be sure, I've measured both weight and diameter again, as it was a bit late yesterday: weigt 11.54g; diameter 23 mm at smallest, 26mm at widest.

    The style of the horse is indeed very comparable to the coin shown by @Justin Lee, although the horse seems a bit larger.
    And, as @Jwt708 mentions, it may be horned as well. Initially, I thought it to be an artefact (still not sure about it though).

    Although I'm not opposed to calling it a fantasy coin, as per @pprp's suggestion, I'm not really convinced of it either. There are no obvious signs of it being a reproduction: no signs of casting, and a nice and even brown patina.
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  11. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

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  12. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Weight, size and reverse pose are indeed similar to this Dishekel. Although the rim is somewhat irregular, I wouldn't conclude it being serrated in the past.

    The second coin (
    shows a dot below the head of the horse which is also visible on my coin (not easy to photograph though, but clearly visible by naked eye).
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  13. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Furthermore, a close-up of the horns (?) @Jwt708 mentioned:
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  14. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    It could just be a flan flaw/indentation along the edge that the corner of was worn to a brown patina and not the dark brown.
  15. Alegandron

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

    Here is mine for comparison

    by the Carthage Empire, and NO coins were struck for 100 years there. Carthage was TOTALLY razed in 146 BCE, with a new ROMAN colony of Carthage coming much later.
    Carthage Third Punic War Serrate Double Shekel 149-146 BCE 12.8g 26mm Wreathd Tanit-Horse pellet raised leg SNG COP 404
  16. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I see nothing in my post that could be taken to suggest I doubted the coin. I don't know enought to make that kind of post on this series and was asking a Carthage question of the Carthage collectors intending no statement about the OP coin.
  17. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Carthage El Stater 290-280 B.C. Obv head of Tanit l. rv. Horse stg r. Jenkins Group V 321 7.59 grms 18 mm carthageav1.jpeg
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A very nice coin, and intriguing too! I am far from expert on these, but I just spent some time looking into the possibilities. (Eryx? Too big. Caduceus issue? No evidence of the caduceus. Sicilian dishekel? No match...)

    Stylistically the best match seems to be the late (post 200) SNG Cop 409-413 trishekels, like the one you found. Note that the site Justin Lee cites,, lists a wide range of weights for these, as low as 12.40g:
    Screen Shot 2019-07-20 at 11.50.24 PM.jpg
    (The smaller denomination Justin pointed out, in the second line, seems too small.)

    Maybe the wide range of weights indicates that there was actually a (more rarely encountered) dishekel denomination, which you've got? Or else the trishekel could get super light. Yours would have lost some weight from the hole, of course. Is there any evidence that some metal may have been shaved or worn off around the rim, maybe to mount it or something? If not, maybe just a small flan got used in desperate times... in any case the coin does seem to be short on flan given the implied size of the die.

    The closest thing I have is my Caduceus issue (2nd Punic War) with raised foreleg, 23mm, 8.12g:
    (At least I think it's mine. Bertolami has been singularly uncommunicative about my order... :shifty:)
  19. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Here's an example of SNG 409-13, weighing under 15g, for comparison.

    Screen Shot 2019-07-20 at 11.39.57 PM.jpg
    (Taken from Paolo Visona, Carthaginean Coinage in Perspective, American Journal of Numismatics Vol. 10 (1998), pp. 1-27.)

    And a couple more (neither light), 2nd one with the same dot:
    Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 12.20.36 AM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 12.21.20 AM.jpg
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