Smallest Tetartemorion of Kyzikos I've Found

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by John Anthony, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    These are common as a type, but the smallest denomination is really tough to find in better grades. Presumably because they were easy to lose? This one comes in at 0.20 grams, 7mm. Even at CNG the sold lots in this denomination ain't pretty, see here. If you really want to get technical though, some of the coins on that page are hemiobols. At any rate, my example is the smallest I've ever come across. It seems that hemiobols are the most common of the type, obols less so, diobols even less so.

    So, you need a microscope to enjoy it, but what great centering and surfaces on this fly-speck! I had to jump on it.

    tetar small.jpg

    MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 450-400 BC. AR Tetartemorion. 0.20 gr. – 7.5 mm. O:\ Forepart of boar left; tunny to right. R:\ Head of roaring lion left within incuse square. Von Fritze II 10; SNG France 373.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I still prefer 'trihemitartemorion'. The extra te is often inserted in error. Te means whole this case, I believe.
    hemitartemorion 1/8 obol
    tetartemorion 1/4 obol
    trihemitartemorion 3/8 obol
    hemiobol 1/2 obol
    tritartemorion 3/4 obol
    trihemiobol 1.5 obol

    I also remain unconvinced that it is appropriate to use these terms from coins of Athens for all other places just because they are the same size. I really feel the need to understand which weights are separate denominations and which are just inaccurate weighing of flans when made.

    Over the years, I have posted most of my tiny treasures. Two of my favorites is my two twelfths (1/6) litra of Syracuse made obvious by the two dots
    and its big sister the six dot hemilitron.

    My pages:
    Phocaea, Ionia - Silver 1/8 obol? - Late Sixth Century BC - 5mm, .1g
    Female head 'Smyrna type' left / 4 part incuse - Rosen 598
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  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Good to see you back @John Anthony and with a lovely little coin.
    John Anthony likes this.
  5. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    So well engraved for being so small!

    That is very cool. Great find.

    Alegandron and John Anthony like this.
  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Very nice! It is indeed rare to find such a small silver with so little crystallization in the silver.

    I have one somewhere that is rather nice - I'll have to find a pic.

    My favorite of that issue is a common hemiobol, picked out of a very large lot of tiny coins. They had some skilled engravers.


    One of my all time favorite tinies was this hemitartemorion from Kebren in Troas - just 5mm and 0.09g! 20180914_Troas-Kebren-hemitetartemorion.jpg
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  7. Nice coin @John Anthony - I'm afraid if I acquired one I'd inevitably drop it, never to be found.
  8. Alegandron

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

    Gorgeous Tyke-Coin John! Really missed you here!

    A couple of these you sold me, a couple of these I bought because of the ones I bought from you!


    Troas Assos 500-450 BCE AR Tetartemorion 6.4mm 0.21g Griffin springing right - Astragalos within incuse square Klein 475 VF Rare

    ASIA MINOR Uncertain mint AR Tetartemorion Lion - Incuse 5mm 0.13g

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

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

    Ionia Miletos AR Tetartemorion 5.6mm 0.21g Roaring Lion Hd - Bird Klein 430 SNG Kay 941
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  9. Alegandron

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

    Mine is DOUBLE yours in size, and still is a midget lion and boar...

    Mysia Kyzikos AR Hemiobol 480-450 BCE 0.4g Boar-Lion Sear 3850
    Jay GT4, Ryro, tenbobbit and 5 others like this.
  10. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for posting, I did not know what mine was. I do not even remember where I got it. Difficult to photograph without losing it. My weight might be off the scale is not reacting to it well.

    9.10mm and .8gm x3.jpg
  11. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    Well, yours is a gargantuan obol, at four times the size of my lilliputian tetartemorion. But @dougsmit makes a good point: how accurate is it to transpose Attic denominations onto colonial issues? I suppose we'll never know, but for me the more interesting question concerns the buying power of the tiny silver fractionals. What would our coins have bought? Would mine have bought a loaf of bread and yours four?
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  12. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Great coin, JA!
    I would love to know what these lil guys could've purchased.


    Mysia, Kyzikos
    AR Hemiobol (7.99 mm, 0.37 g), c. 525-475 BCE.
    Obv. Forepart of boar left; tunny to right.
    Rev. Head of roaring lion left; star in upper left field.
    SNG France 375.
    Nicely toned and extremely fine
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  13. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Here is a 0.24-gram Cyzicus:

    7 mm. Sear Greek 3851. SNG France Mysie 389f. "525-475" BC. Klein 265v "500-475" BC.
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  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This thread sent me to my database where I learned that I had 11 coins listed as under .20g and another 20 between .20 and .29g. These include some of the ugliest scraps of metal I own but most have been shown here on several occassions. Mint state and lightest of the light weight are not easily paired. Many may have achieved their lack of mass by corrosion rather than having been made that light. These tend to be individual finds lost in soil rather than having spent the millennia so we who collect them need to be understanding.
    Bing likes this.
  15. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    What they sometimes lack in artistry, they hold in personal historical significance: these smaller denominations were almost certainly used heavily in commerce versus the larger coins which were too expensive for daily transactions. I love holding specks of metal fantasizing about what meal was bought with the coin.

    Then I go to the local sandwich shop and use a credit card... the hypocrisy is not lost on me.
  16. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    This brings up the point that all legal tender is ultimately based on mutual agreement and trust. Fractional silver circulated extensively in the ancient Greek world until some anonymous Sicilian (who got tired of losing his tetartemorions because of his sausage fingers) said, "Hey, let's make larger coins out of base metal and just agree that they're worth something, capiche?" Today we agree that electrons are worth every bit as much as the most precious of metals.
    AncientJoe likes this.
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