Pamphylia - Coin with Sphinx

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by furryfrog02, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Good Evening All,

    Some of you may have seen my post yesterday about 3 coins I was gifted by a generous forum member. I managed to ID a Chinese cash coin with the help of my limited Chinese knowledge and a few google searches.

    I decided to work on my next coin last night and this afternoon after work. I knew it was old but wasn't sure where it came from. I could make out a few Greek characters but not knowing Greek, that didn't help lol. I started off googling coins with sphinx and then after looking at a few pictures with some names attached, I searched wildwinds.

    I have been able to narrow it down to Perga, Pamphylia. However, that is about where I can get to with confidence. There are several Sphinx seated right, with Artemis standing left.

    Here is mine:
    Ancient 12.jpg

    Here are the ones I am comparing it to:
    http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/sg/sg5417.html
    http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/pamphylia/perga/SNGCop_311.jpg

    Can you tell me if I am on track or completely wrong? What am I missing that will help me further ID it? Thanks for your help!
     
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  3. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    I think you nailed it on the first one. But I don’t know this city, so really anything goes.
     
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  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I suspect yours is a smaller denomination than the AE17 on Wildwinds. Your coin has enough legend to read but it sure helps to have the online listings to know what should be there.
     
  5. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    Try the first listing of that city on wildwinds. It’s listed as Mauromichale 278. I think that one is yours.
     
  6. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

  7. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    That was my first pick but I thought maybe not since the sphinx head is a bit different. Looks like a different headdress?
     
  8. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    furryfrog02 likes this.
  9. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    It is about the size of a 3 cent silver coin. Definitely smaller than a dime.
    IMG-6668.JPG
     
  10. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    A 3 cent piece is 14 mm, so yours is the smaller one.
     
  11. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    The location of the staff is different which also threw me a bit.
     
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    A few points on ancient Greek coins in general, not just this one. Some of these types were made over a span of years during which staff and standards at the mint may have changed. We need to allow for variations we would not if we were dealing with coins made by machines. Every die was a separate work so two made at about the same time may show little differences like staff position for reasons that made more sense to them back then than to us today. Many of the types copied statues known to the die cutter but lost long ago so each die may have shown his attempt to capture his subject better or may reflect his 'Friday afternoon' rush to finish and go home. Add to that the fact that corrosion and wear change things from the way they looked when new and we have more to consider.

    The next question is how do we tell fakes from originals if the real ones have so much variation. I say it is like your handwriting. Every time you write your name, you make something just a bit different than last time or last year but you still recognize it as within the parameters of 'you'. All of the examples of this coin shown online have little differences but retain basic similarities. Perhaps an in-depth study of the entire group would make more sense of it but such studies are only done on big deal series like the Boehringer die study of Syracusan silver which identifies and places in sequence hundreds of dies used over many years. We tend to forget that the same factors came into play for little bronzes as did for the high dollar tetradrachms.

    Question: Below are my two examples of the Syracuse tetradrachm showing a chariot and the head of Arathusa as issued by the same mint but years apart. Are the the same coin or different? The answer is 'both'. Is the only difference you see the direction of flight of Nike over the horses? I doubt it but that one is easier to put into words than most of the others.

    At the same time Syracuse was issuing these big silvers, they made small change in a range of denominations. Also at the same time, hundreds of other cities were making one or a series of coins according to their needs. Perhaps this explains why the 'Red Book' covering ancient Greek coinage would be over ten feet thick.
    g20390b01146lg.JPG g20430bb0480.jpg
     
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  13. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that great explanation @dougsmit. I have so much to learn. It's a bit daunting lol. Extremely interesting though. I also need to get out of the habit of thinking how modern coins are minted and expecting ancients to meed those same standards :)
     
  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    IMHO this is the #1 most important thing to learn. Even within 'ancients' it is rarely safe to assume that you know something about X because you are an expert in Y. The first and last coins I might accept as 'ancient' cover 2000 years and half the earth surface. In many cases the people who made those coins had no idea they were expected to be doing things the 'ancient' way. They thought they were high tech and quite current. I have trouble knowing how ancients differ from moderns but I suppose that is because I know so little about moderns.
     
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