Help on Coin of Pyhhrus.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by kevin McGonigal, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I have recently acquired a coin purportedly of Pyrrhus. The coin is moderately worn and non ferrous. It seems made of silver and weighs 3.7 grams. it looks exactly like the typical Pyrrhus gold stater from Syracuse with a partial (PY)RROU) and BASILEOS, but the metal is silver. Why I am writing is to ask if there is any evidence that any of gold stater coins of Pyrrhus were also issued in silver as the equivalent of a drachma. Thanks. Yes, I know a picture would help but I have not yet mastered the ability to upload a photo. Its appearance, however, is identical to his gold stater, Corinthian helmet on Athena and on the reverse Nike with wreath in hand. Thanks for any help on my question.
     
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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    What's the diameter? The only thing I can find that sorta fits is a Becker forgery, 18mm and 6.28g:
    Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 10.19.21 AM.jpg
    (Sold by CNG this year for $750!)
     
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  4. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is the type of coin. Mine is exactly the same, but of silver, not gold and 3.7 grams. What I was wondering is, if there is any evidence the dies were also used to mint silver coins whose appearance was the same, except for the difference in metal, and thus passed as a drachma. Normally I would discount that possibility but in the wake of the Pyrrhic Wars it might have been done. Was the Becker forgery in gold? I suspect it was from the listed weight. Thanks for your response.
     
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  5. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    You say "the dies" as though you've got a die match to the Becker, but I assume that's not what you mean? (Have you found another die match?)

    No, it's silver.

    There are coins around the same weight as yours for Hieron II (drachm, 4 litrae, or 5 litrae) so I suppose it's possible that yours is an issue of Pyrrhus, but my bet is that it is a modern fantasy piece. Pyrrhus seems to have 5+ grams as his smallest silver issue.

    But we need two important things that we don't have: 1) a photo, and 2) an expert. :) I'll bow out now.
     
  6. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Thanks, again, by the way the coin is 19-20 mm. The purchase was made with both me and the seller realizing something was odd about the coin. That does surprise me to know that Becker made his out of silver. I don't know if he made his coins to deceive but someone familiar with these issues would have recognized that original of this coin was struck in gold. The coin I have is very close to the Becker piece but that does not mean much because that stater was issued by many city states and rulers and the only difference I can see is that my coin and the Becker copy is the name of King Pyrrhus instead of another. If mine is a fantasy piece someone did a nice job on it.
     
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Beckers are available in wrong metals including white metal. His dies were used long after he was gone and there are cheap fakes make from his better fakes. Every so often we see originals go for high prices. My personal favorite was the Becker fake of Pacatian overstruck on a genuine Roman denarius sold in 2012 (at $200 over my bid) by CNG.
    https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=311509
     
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  8. Beginner345

    Beginner345 Active Member

    Nice coin.I have one too.
     
  9. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I don't know which coin you mean. Which coin type do you have? The possibly silver coin described but not shown in the first post? The Pyrrhus AV stater mentioned in the first post? The Becker forgery of Pyrrhus coin shown in the second post? A Becker forgery of a Pacatian antoninianus linked in the sixth post? Can you post a picture of the coin?
     
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  10. Bert Gedin

    Bert Gedin Well-Known Member

    I'm downing my helmet.
     
  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Kevin asked me for some help in posting these photos he took of the OP coin. As you can see the photos are a bit sketchy and I'm none the wiser. Could indeed be a late Becker knockoff; maybe somebody else will have ideas.
    Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 5.55.21 PM.jpg
     
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  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    My best guess is that it is a jeweler's copy. No one had shown that this coin was struck in silver or in this size, so it's probably not something created to fool numismatists. The size would make it suitable for a ring or a small pendant. There are at least two indentations which could be from prongs (black arrows), with gray arrows where I would expect two more prongs.

    CT-Kevin-Pyrrhos_edited-1.jpg
     
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  13. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    That makes a lot of sense. I wonder if the two most evident prong locations correspond to the marks/discolouration at ~3 o'clock and 9 o'clock on the reverse.
     
  14. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I had not noticed these marks before. The reverse seems to show marks at 3 and 9 o'clock. The one at 9 o'clock partially obliterates the name (PY)RRUS while on the 3 o'clock the BASILEOS is faint but legible. I must admit I do not know what a jeweler's copy would be. Would a jeweler make a die and make a batch of these or only one? I do recall purchasing some years back a Justinian solidus that was struck in silver and the shop owner told me that it might have been a museum copy. Maybe, but why not in actual gold rather silver? Anyway, whatever it might be, thank you for the information you have provided.
     
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  15. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Such copies are made by casting rather than by striking. A copy of the coin would be carved in wax or other material and a mold would be made from the carving. Endless numbers of wax copies can be made from that mold. Those wax copies are turned into silver (or other metal) copies by the process of lost wax casting.
     
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  16. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Would that tend to make the inscriptions someone fuzzy? I noticed that the word "BASILEOS" was difficult to read and if I had not know what the word was supposed to be I do not think I could make it out.
     
  17. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Yup. Check out this link from Robert Kokotailo of Calgary Coin, he gives a nice rundown of how to detect a cast.
     
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  18. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Thanks. That link was very informative, and a bit scary.
     
  19. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Looking at another coin I have is one I purchased at a show about 30 years ago which I am wondering if it might be one of those lost wax copies. I hope not because Athenian didrachmas are rare and I paid a good deal for it. The weight is exactly half of an Attic tetradrachma.I sent an image to Severus Alexander and he may be kind enough to post it for me here. Also a slightly better image of the Pyrrhus coin.
     
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