Carthaginian Gold and Electrum Coin

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by RichardT, May 18, 2021.

  1. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Hello all,

    I'm looking for a copy of this book published in 1963, but it looks like it's long out of print according to the publisher, here: https://numismatics.org.uk/society-publications-2/special-publications-and-coin-hoards/

    Carthaginian Gold and Electrum Coins by G. K. Jenkins and R. B. Lewis. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication #2 (London) 1963. 140 pages, 38 fine plates.

    Neither Vcoins and MA Shops has any. Anyone has an idea of where to find one? I am trying to find out about the purity of Carthaginian electrum.
     
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  3. Dwarf

    Dwarf Member

  4. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much Dwarf!
     
  5. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    I got one last year through Abebooks for a lot less than that - book prices are fairly random - if you wait long enough, you'll likely find it for less (I believe I paid €66 + postage).

    Spink used to have them, but when I wanted one, they didn't, so I had to look in a few places too - mine came from https://www.antiquariaatbrinkman.nl/ - but they don't seem to have any at the moment.

    I can look up what you want later today (composition of the electrum?)

    ATB,
    Aidan.
     
  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    www.bookfinder.com can sometimes be helpful in locating copies of out-of-print books. Here are the Copies that they list as currently available.
     
  7. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Hello Aidan, yes that would be very kind of you if you don't mind. I am trying to find out the gold/silver alloy range of the electrum staters which Jenkins placed in Group V. If I understand correctly Jenkins split the electrum staters into groups in this book.

    Thanks also gsimonel for the additional sources. These books are really expensive.
     
  8. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Its a pretty common book in Fanning auctions. I got a copy in a group in one of them.
     
  9. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Supporter! Supporter

    A quick scan of sixbid archives shows you should be able to get the book for less than $200.
    In the meantime, I will check my copy for the gold content
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
  10. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Supporter! Supporter

    P. 31 “... gold content is reduced to about 55-60% in Group V”From “Table of Weights and Gold Content” pp 64-71
    AV staters - group III 350-320 BC: typical range 9.2-9.45 gm, 92-95%
    EL shekels -
    Group IV 320-310 BC: 7.45-7.65 gm, 70-73%
    Group V 310-290 BC: 7.35-7.55 gm, 57-59%
    Group VI 290-280 BC: 7.25-7.65 gm, 45-47%
    Group VII 280-270 BC: 7.30-7.50 gm, 44-46%
     
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  11. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much for extracting the information, Silphium Addict! This is exactly what I was looking for.
     
  12. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Silphium Addict has provided you with the data, but I may as well supply the rest of the data, as I'd already taken the photos!

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    ATB,
    Aidan.
     
  13. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Supporter! Supporter

    These coins are fascinating, especially with the use of “pellets” placed to identify different dies. My interest is always what event(s) are related to a coin type. Jenkins’ dating is still most likely in the correct range but the decade by decade dating seems rather arbitrary to address the decreasing gold content. In addition to Attic weight tetradrachms, most likely this vast coinage was used to primarily to pay mercenaries. So minting would have been concentrated around military events, in this case wars against Syracuse.
    If 350-320 BC is the correct range the for the AV staters, most would probably have been minted around the time of the war against Timoleon 344-338 BC.
    By the war against Agathokles 310-306 BC, the electrum shekels would have been used with decreasing gold content when Carthage was attacked. The coinage may have continued to the war with Pyrrhus 278-276 BC and even to the beginning of the First Punic War. At that time new coin types of higher gold content (group IX) would have been produced with electrum (group X) again of decreasing gold content as the war turned against Carthage towards the end.
     
  14. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Oh wow, thanks for taking the time to snap the pictures Aidan, that's really more than what I hoped for! And yes, the coins of this period are really quite fascinating.

    As an aside, I was really struck by how pale electrum looks, compared to refined gold like that used in the solidus. The purity of the solidus must have been evident at a glance.
     
  15. Hermann Watzlawik

    Hermann Watzlawik Well-Known Member

  16. I_v_a_n

    I_v_a_n Well-Known Member

    Thank you CT Friends for such a useful information!
    Some time ago I have experimented with hydrostatic weightening of this stater with result of about 90% gold content. It has a weight 7,70 grams and looks with green tones of alloy. Now with an information from this thread I am doubting about authenticity of this stater. What do you think about an authenticity of this stater? Thank you in advance for your oppinions!

    Stater Carthago 320-310.jpg
     
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  17. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Supporter! Supporter

    For Carthaginian AV staters and EL shekels, a key feature for attribution in Carthaginian Gold and Electrum Coins is the location of the small pellets in relation to the horse on the reverse like on your coin. Yours looks the most like an EL shekel, J&L Group V - particularly #298-306 because of the style and the 4 pellets in a square below the exergual line just in front of the left hindleg. However, I do not find a specific die match for the obverse or reverse. The obverse is very similar in style but the 298-306 obverses usually have a pellet just to the left of the pendant necklace. (very faint on some) No AV staters or EL shekels of any group have 3 pellets in a line to the right of the left foreleg like on your coin but they could be off the flan if struck off center.
    For comparison, you can get several images of J&L 298-306 by searching ACsearch for "Carthage EL V [number]" where the number is 298 to 306.
    As you can see from Aiden's photos of the weight/SG tables, 7.7 gm would be at the extreme upper limit for group V and the SG should not exceed 65%.
    So, the image and information you provided does not fit with the series which raises questions about authenticity. How comfortable are you with the accuracy of the weight and your hydrostatic weighing technique? Another good question is how comfortable are you with where you obtained the coin?
    While the book was breakthrough research for attribution and very thorough, not all die varieties are not included due to the large number. If the weights are not accurate and re-measurement is more in line with Group V, I guess there is a possibility of unrecorded dies.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
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  18. I_v_a_n

    I_v_a_n Well-Known Member

    @Silphium Addict, thank you very much for such a detailed answer!

    It's Ok with the weightening because if I re-weight a coins from CNG or Roma there are the same result +/- 0,01 gram. I think it's almost OK with hydrostatic weightening because I calibrate it on the almost pure gold staters and silver tet and also standart coins from XIX century 90% gold 10% copper. So, I introduce a calculated coefficient for water dencity.
    It was purchased from hands in local ukrainian market but for full price as a good quality genuine stater - this is a main problem. I can get on it an XRF test, but now I think it's only an additional work. I think this coin not fits to the information above and have a very great chances to be a fake.... unfortunately. XRF can proove it, because if there are no traces of Pt, Pb, Fe and etc it can be a modern alloy from .9999 gold and .9999 silver bank ingots for example, which can be obtained anywhere...
     
  19. Kavax

    Kavax Well-Known Member

    The style is not very convincing especially the ear, the earring as well as the head of the horse.
     
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  20. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    There's a copy of this in an upcoming M&M sale - the estimate is €40:

    https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=4785&lot=72

    ATB,
    Aidan.
     
  21. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much for the heads up Aidan. There's quite a lot of scarce books for auction.. very interesting.

    Hopefully the shipping costs for books aren't too exorbitant.
     
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