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Unknown Mint, Lycia (Unknown Dynast)


[b]Unknown Mint, Lycia (Unknown Lycian Dynast or Regional Satrap; c.380 (?) BC.) AR Hemiobol or Tetartemorion[/b] [u]Obv[/u]: Open-jawed lion in profile. [u]Rev[/u]: Central diskeles-like device that may be a stylized "X"; unknown Lycian legend surrounding; square incuse. [u]Attribution[/u]: BMC Lycia -; Vismara I & II -; Morkholm & Zahle -; Babelon Traite' -; SNG von Aulock - [u]Provenance[/u]: ex. Barry P. Murphy, 5.7.07 [u]Weight[/u]: 0.36 gm. [u]Maximal Diameter[/u]: 6.73 mm. [u]Axis[/u]: 11 [u]Notes[/u]: Possibly unique; not listed in any of the standard or specialized references for Lycian coinage. This coin, if it proves to be a tetartemorion, would be one of the smallest known with a full legend. It is also unique in the central diskeles-like device, that may be a stylized representation of the Lycian character "X." The obverse roaring lion profile holds similarities to devices common to coinage from Knidos, Caria and other Carian issues minted under Hekatomnos' satrapy. GK255

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Asia Minor - Lycia

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So I guess you use the stereoscope in the lab to enjoy this one?


Neat, but bafflingly small. Don't see how these could be generally used without some amount of trouble.



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The problem for modern day collectors is the fact that these tiny fractionals and AEs were in far greater circulaton that the large denominations. This makes exceptional condition fractional ARs relatively rare. For a while these fractionals were not a focus of attention or extreme pricing, however, now I'm seeing more and more obols and smaller fractional sizes going for 3 - 4 figure prices. The varied obol series from Cilicia are a prime example of the burgeoning values for fractional coinage.


I like the small fractionals because they are likely the last frontier for finding important newly discovered ancient coins. For this piece, I have two experts taking a crack at the legend. The obverse device makes me very excited that this might be a unique issue denoting satrapal control of late dynastic Lycia.



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I concur with your point on 'too much trouble' to use coins of this size. You have to ask yourself whether people/traders or whomever used these coins really handed them around from bags? Too easy to lose and troublesome to check to see if fake...


I am a great believer that, like water, things flow through the easiest path and it wasnt easy then or now to have these coins in circulation.



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I hear you guys, but it's hard for us to tell what was "too much trouble" for a populace that was for all practical purposes - dirt poor.


I suspect that the small AR fractionals served practical purposes, such as the availability of silver over bronze or brass and the softness of the metal relative to the lesser metals. I might have been cheaper to produce tiny AR fractionals than large AEs of similar value. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the AR fractionals had a psychological purpose, as well. Making shiny metal available to the masses makes them feel like they too are sharing in the wealth of the upper class. We see the same phenomenon with our modern coinage with the faux gold dollar coins. Now that we are divorced from a gold standard, there's no real reason to color these dollar coins gold other than aesthetic reasons and to give the recipient a sense of greater value.



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