How Small Can These Things get?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by kevin McGonigal, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I picked up this AE4 (and that's a generous award) minim (minimus) at the flea market. Usually these things are so well worn and wretchedly struck that it's hard to figure out what they are. In this case it appears to be a coin of Honorius with Victory dragging a barbarian captive behind. Still even if well struck and legible I cannot imagine what one could have bought with this coin. Three ripe grapes? A four day old bread crust? Maybe in a follis along with a thousand of his buddies something of value. What most strikes me about coins like this is the talent and ability of the celator who did the die work. How in Juno's name could he ever engrave an iron die with such detail that one can read the emperor's name at all. I wonder if Honorius was embarrassed to be seen on such. In any event let's see what other tiny coins members can post to determine how small an ancient coin could get and still be recognizable (and spendable) as a real money. IMG_0911[3430]Smallest Honorius.jpg IMG_0916[3428]smallest Honorius rev..jpg
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    There is greek silvers much smaller with some nice art that makes you go in awe with the engraving done.
  4. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Just picked up these 2 tiny coins of Arcadius and Julian II from my old folders.

    ArcdTiny  O   Nicomed.jpg ArcdTny R      Vict cross.jpg Jul 2Delta O    Alexandria.jpg Jul 2R SPES     Reipublice.jpg
  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Actually, I think it's Theodosius II (DN THEODO-SIVS PF AVG).

    I love these little Victory dragging types!
  6. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    MILETOS_01.jpg My 4mm (Hemi)tetartemorion fom Milet
  7. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Indeed, it's a remarkable testament to their skill, and must have been a painstaking process indeed. Small wonder the quality slipped when the declining Empire had other priorities.

    Congrats. That's a sharp little guy.

    Electrums, too. :)

    Those are handsome. I particularly like the Arcadius.
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    These were the smallest LRBs I've had. About the size of the coin in the OP.

    Theodosius II

  9. Alegandron

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

    Here are a couple of my small ones

    Their excuse is Silver and Gold were valued metals, and at this time fiat currency (bronze) was not invented yet...

    Iona Kolophon AR Tetartemorion 530-520 BCE Archaic Apollo Incuse Punch 0.15g 4.5mm- SNG Kayhan 343

    Ionia AR Tetartemorion 4mm 0.13g 530-500 BCE Rosette - Incuse sq punch 5 pellets SNG von Aulock 1807

    Roman Break-down Era

    RI Marcian 450-457 CE AE4 11mm monogram

    RI Johannes 423-425 CE AE4 Nummus Victory RARE
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Wow, Johannes. I think that counts as a nice portrait on one of his Æs! Talk about crude. But fascinating.
    Alegandron likes this.
  11. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    Here is a 11 mm Arcadius AE 4 with the SALVS REIP. reverse...


    Arcadius, AE4, 388-392 AD

    O: D N ARCADIVS P F AVG R: SALVS REIPVBLICAE, Victory advancing left, dragging captive, Tau-Rho in left field. CONS? in ex. Constantinople mint. RIC IX Constantinople 86. 11 mm, 1.5 g
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Small is hard to pin down since these little ones vary a lot in thickness so the smallest diameter is not the lightest. I do not have recorded which coin is smallest with legend (the matter of discussion here). When you get into the 4mm, 0.1g area things get hard to measure and calibration of scales becomes impostant. Many candidates are attributed to "Uncertain, Cilicia" which seems to mean there is not even a single letter of legend. This Griffen head is in that group. I will have to look to see which coin is smallest with any letter and which is smallest with 'full' legend. That is a project for another day.
  13. Factor

    Factor Well-Known Member

    One type of Yahud coins particularly fascinates me. It is not the smallest, averaging about 0.2g, but it has two long lines of text, "Hezekiah the governor". The lines forming the letters are only 0.1 mm wide! And yet the inscription is clear and fully readable. How did they make it with technology available in IV century BC I can't comprehend. Here is the type:
    philologus_1 and Alegandron like this.
  14. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Right you are about it being Theodosius. Young eyes versus my, uhh , "veteran" eyes. But I think it may be the first Theodosius.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  15. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    Ancients can get very tiny. I'm not even sure this is my smallest, but it is the only one I've photographed in comparison to a modern coin.

    FDR Earmuff .jpg
  16. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Any smaller and that would be earring on FDR.
  17. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  18. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Supporter! Supporter

    Yehud hemiobol (aka: "1/2 ma'ah obol", and aka: "half-gerah").
    Late-4th century B.C.
    Hezekiah as Governor.
    Hendin 1069.
    Diam.: 6.1 mm.
    Weight.: .252 gr. (1/2 Gerah on Persic standard)
  19. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    My latest minimus, EUGENIUS (392-394). Ae. Aquileia. Obv: D N EVGENIVS P F AVG. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. Rev: SPES ROMANORVM / AQS. Victory advancing left with palm branch and wreath. RIC 59. Weight: 0.9 g., Diameter: 12 mm.
  20. Dougmeister

    Dougmeister Well-Known Member

    "How Small Can These Things get?"

    That's what she... oh never mind...
    Sallent and Alegandron like this.
  21. Alegandron

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

    I never get a chance to post this much, but you reminded me of my HackSilver:

    AR 2 Gerah Hacksilber
    ca 8th-6th C. BCE
    8.8x10mm 1.12g
    ex David Hendin
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page