World of Coins

Ancient coins => Ancient Greece => Topic started by: Matteo on January 24, 2018, 10:50:33 PM

Title: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on January 24, 2018, 10:50:33 PM
Hi,

what do you think about this coin? Its weight is 0.08g. I suppose it could be a 1/192 stater.
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Pellinore on January 25, 2018, 01:34:38 AM
Hello Matteo, this type is treated here on World of Coins (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,40324.msg255155.html#msg255155) - a coin like yours but 1.5 times heavier. It is from Erythrae, a town in Asia Minor opposite the island of Chios.

-- Paul
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on January 25, 2018, 10:48:19 AM
Its going to be 2-grains I think, but impossible to say what system it is in without seeing the bigger denominations from the same series.

My main thought is - it shows the extreme pressure exerted by the wish to extend early retail trade.  Produced despite the impracticalities - so that any purchase could go on.

When I was young people read a paper by Kraay arguing that early coins was too big for retail use!  Crazy.

Rob T

PS - sort about the delay - will try get back on Herodotus in a little while
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Figleaf on January 25, 2018, 12:01:51 PM
I am too lazy for a complete quote, but I once read a book arguing the pivotal role of the warrior, merchant and priest in human history. Yes, trade must have been the difference between successful and failing states in early human history. I understand and agree on your stress on weight as well, as common weights facilitate trade greatly.

However, I would argue that coins also served the warrior. The warrior needs coins that he can spend wherever he is. His needs are small. As a German saying goes: wine, women and singing. The officers need small coins as well, to buy a room, a slot in a stable, repairs, maintenance. High officers need wood cutters and tunnel diggers, guides and spies and lots and lots of food, therefore larger coins, but maybe not as often.

Thinking it through, as trade develops, the same situation applies to merchants. Local baker shops (they are traders also) need small money, ship or caravan outfitters need the big stuff. There is not one answer. As so often, the answer is "it depends".

Peter
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on January 25, 2018, 09:29:19 PM
Its going to be 2-grains I think, but impossible to say what system it is in without seeing the bigger denominations from the same series.

My main thought is - it shows the extreme pressure exerted by the wish to extend early retail trade.  Produced despite the impracticalities - so that any purchase could go on.

When I was young people read a paper by Kraay arguing that early coins was too big for retail use!  Crazy.

If we are playing a game "of mine is the smallest", I have had silver coins from India of about 0.03g if memory serves    :)

Rob T

PS - sort about the delay - will try get back on Herodotus in a little while

Dear Robert, Could it be possible that the very small denominations are so rare because they were not hoarded like bigger denominations? Moreover I suppose it is difficult to find them now...I'm joking ;D...

I know only another denominatios of the same type of my coin: it is the denomination of the coin of Pellinore topic (1/96 stater).
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on January 27, 2018, 09:54:23 AM
Could it be possible that the very small denominations are so rare because they were not hoarded like bigger denominations? Moreover I suppose it is difficult to find them now...I'm joking ;D...

Many a thing said in jest is correct - true here I think.  Lets look at the matter in detail.

There seems to be parallel situation in India and Western Turkey.  For a short period early on, silver was considered money and copper was not.  Pressure for small payments was strong - so for a short period, tiny silver coins were made - fairly soon replaced by coppers.

Lets look at the situation in India – (other members may wish to comment on my current understanding)

Now, in India these tiny silver coins, (mostly 0.2g two-rattis pieces, but down to at least 1/2 rattis of 0.05g or less), are apparently found in large number around the Ujjain area.  I am told that is because rivers in that region tend to have rocky beds, dry up in summer, and people pan the gravel for gold, and find the coins in the process of panning. 

At other Mauryan urban centres, eg Patna, that activity is not going on, in fact any coins going into the river in ancient times are now likely buried deep under mud.  So my guess is these coins were actually common everywhere – but they are too small to find in fields – so only get found in special circumstances, in some rivers

The second thing to say is that most of the tiny coins from the Ujjain region are apparently contemporary fakes – plated coppers, or billons.  Probably then they were spotted as fakes in ancient times and thrown away.  This could well mean there wasreally a huge circulation of these tiny coins, almost none of which ever get found.  What goes in Western Turkey I do not know, but if they are not panning the rivers for gold, then maybe huge numbers go undiscovered there too?

Now in connection with this  a couple of years ago I attended a talk by an archaeologist, concerning digs on Roman sites in the UK.  He looked statistically at coin finds on sites where the excavators scanned the spoil with metal detectors, and those where they did not.  As best I recall, he concluded that if metal detectors were not used, 90% of the coins were never noticed!  He looked at his own early excavations, and concluded sadly that - he thought he had been really careful, but in fact, he himself had probably missed finding most of the coins.  Now these would be 2 or 3 gram coppers – so the implications for 0.2g coins are obvious.

While we are on this topic, some years back Terry Hardaker published what he regards as a definitive catalogue of these tiny Mauryan issues.  I drew his attention to a couple of tiny pieces at that time.  I was astonished when he did not catalogue and publish the two very tiny pieces – which are either half or quarter rattis.  (Apparently he thought they were made that size by accident.)  Soon after I crossed paths with Michael Mitchiner, and happened to mention the matter.  Michael started laughing and said yes – I have seen these halves and quarters too.  He subsequently published them – see his Ancient Trade 4476-9.  Note that Michael’s coins are quite corroded, and thus perhaps open to doubt, but the two Terry rejected are not………..

Rob T
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on January 30, 2018, 10:59:18 PM
Many a thing said in jest is correct - true here I think.  Lets look at the matter in detail.

There seems to be parallel situation in India and Western Turkey.  For a short period early on, silver was considered money and copper was not.  Pressure for small payments was strong - so for a short period, tiny silver coins were made - fairly soon replaced by coppers.

Lets look at the situation in India – (other members may wish to comment on my current understanding)

Now, in India these tiny silver coins, (mostly 0.2g two-rattis pieces, but down to at least 1/2 rattis of 0.05g or less), are apparently found in large number around the Ujjain area.  I am told that is because rivers in that region tend to have rocky beds, dry up in summer, and people pan the gravel for gold, and find the coins in the process of panning. 

At other Mauryan urban centres, eg Patna, that activity is not going on, in fact any coins going into the river in ancient times are now likely buried deep under mud.  So my guess is these coins were actually common everywhere – but they are too small to find in fields – so only get found in special circumstances, in some rivers

The second thing to say is that most of the tiny coins from the Ujjain region are apparently contemporary fakes – plated coppers, or billons.  Probably then they were spotted as fakes in ancient times and thrown away.  This could well mean there wasreally a huge circulation of these tiny coins, almost none of which ever get found.  What goes in Western Turkey I do not know, but if they are not panning the rivers for gold, then maybe huge numbers go undiscovered there too?

Now in connection with this  a couple of years ago I attended a talk by an archaeologist, concerning digs on Roman sites in the UK.  He looked statistically at coin finds on sites where the excavators scanned the spoil with metal detectors, and those where they did not.  As best I recall, he concluded that if metal detectors were not used, 90% of the coins were never noticed!  He looked at his own early excavations, and concluded sadly that - he thought he had been really careful, but in fact, he himself had probably missed finding most of the coins.  Now these would be 2 or 3 gram coppers – so the implications for 0.2g coins are obvious.

While we are on this topic, some years back Terry Hardaker published what he regards as a definitive catalogue of these tiny Mauryan issues.  I drew his attention to a couple of tiny pieces at that time.  I was astonished when he did not catalogue and publish the two very tiny pieces – which are either half or quarter rattis.  (Apparently he thought they were made that size by accident.)  Soon after I crossed paths with Michael Mitchiner, and happened to mention the matter.  Michael started laughing and said yes – I have seen these halves and quarters too.  He subsequently published them – see his Ancient Trade 4476-9.  Note that Michael’s coins are quite corroded, and thus perhaps open to doubt, but the two Terry rejected are not………..

Rob T


Dear Robert,

thanks for sharing these informations with me.
I've just finished to read your Gyge's magical ring...Now many of your answers are clearer to me.       
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on January 31, 2018, 12:28:24 PM
I've just finished to read your Gyge's magical ring...Now many of your answers are clearer to me.     

I say a lot of controversial things there, few like them. 

There was a wave of political popularism about a century back.  In the UK it focused upon taxpayer funded imperialism and the Boer War, but in the USA on the direction of economy – monopolisation by Rockefeller etc.

This sparked forms of popular intellectual scepticism - like "The Wizard of Oz" but also rather sophisticated and independent minded scholarly work.  Writing in English, I would cite Alexander del Mar, and P N Ure.  There will be more, in languages I do not read.

In the mid 20th century there was a sort of reaction to all this.  In university lectures, coin use became uncoupled from politics, and archaeologists were widely taught that coins were produced only to pay mercenaries and soldiers.  Of course most people believe what they are taught and this is still widely believed.  However, the evidence for it does not stand up to scrutiny.  The first paper I read demoliting these coins-and-the-army type ideas was by Chris Howgego at Oxford  "Why did the ancients strike coins?".  Since then the rejection of military type explanations, (and thus favouring pro and anti market political matters) has become the standard academic position.

In 2010 Prof von Reden (at Frieberg) went further than Howgego (Oxford) and Kirke (California) hinting strongly that the mid 20th century historical errors were rooted in mid-20th century political prejudices rather than the historical facts.  (Koenraad Verboven at Ghent has done excellent relevant work too)

None of these modern people are interested in following del Mar and encouraging a broad understanding of what they are saying in the general public, in the way del Mar was.  So it remains almost a kind of elite academic secret…………..

By the way – regarding mid 20th century deep politics - two key players well known to each other were located in Italy – James Jesus Angleton and Ezra Pound.  Perhaps there are old men in Italy who once thought about that matter?

Rob
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on January 31, 2018, 08:46:44 PM
I say a lot of controversial things there, few like them. 

There was a wave of political popularism about a century back.  In the UK it focused upon taxpayer funded imperialism and the Boer War, but in the USA on the direction of economy – monopolisation by Rockefeller etc.

This sparked forms of popular intellectual scepticism - like "The Wizard of Oz" but also rather sophisticated and independent minded scholarly work.  Writing in English, I would cite Alexander del Mar, and P N Ure.  There will be more, in languages I do not read.

In the mid 20th century there was a sort of reaction to all this.  In university lectures, coin use became uncoupled from politics, and archaeologists were widely taught that coins were produced only to pay mercenaries and soldiers.  Of course most people believe what they are taught and this is still widely believed.  However, the evidence for it does not stand up to scrutiny.  The first paper I read demoliting these coins-and-the-army type ideas was by Chris Howgego at Oxford  "Why did the ancients strike coins?".  Since then the rejection of military type explanations, (and thus favouring pro and anti market political matters) has become the standard academic position.

In 2010 Prof von Reden (at Frieberg) went further than Howgego (Oxford) and Kirke (California) hinting strongly that the mid 20th century historical errors were rooted in mid-20th century political prejudices rather than the historical facts.  (Koenraad Verboven at Ghent has done excellent relevant work too)

None of these modern people are interested in following del Mar and encouraging a broad understanding of what they are saying in the general public, in the way del Mar was.  So it remains almost a kind of elite academic secret…………..

By the way – regarding mid 20th century deep politics - two key players well known to each other were located in Italy – James Jesus Angleton and Ezra Pound.  Perhaps there are old men in Italy who once thought about that matter?

Rob


Dear Robert,

unfortunately I don't know if someone I know has studied these arguments. I can try to ask in the Italian Numismatic forum where I usually write: for example there are a pair of users that probably know a bit the matter. One is Alberto Campana, a well-known numismatic, the other is a history professor in Rome. There would be also my economic-history professor of Genoa University: not a numismatic expert, but I suppose she could know this matter. If you want their email address, please let me know it.

Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on January 31, 2018, 09:13:27 PM
A further question.

From what I understand (in very very very brief sentences):
- coins appeared in the same period of the tyrants;
- probably tyrants were the first coins issuer;
- they issued coins and very small coins to improve retail trades for common people;
- thanks to tyranys and coins common people got freedom and they were able to improve their own life quality;
- this mechanism originated an impressive development of culture, art, economy...

Small coins and retail trades are the keys: so why electrum and not silver coins? Very small electrum coins had an higher value than very small silver coins.
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on February 01, 2018, 08:32:19 AM
unfortunately I don't know if someone I know has studied these arguments. I can try to ask in the Italian Numismatic forum where I usually write:

Maybe you will be lucky - but I do not expect people will understand these ideas, or maybe wish to comment in a general forum.

The only good general analysis I know in English comes from Media Studies.

However - this is a thought provoking paper:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0176268003000764#!

It seems Tavlas is still active in Greece - but when I telephoned the given bank address - the receptionist said she had never heard of him!

Rob
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on February 01, 2018, 09:09:36 AM
From what I understand (in very very very brief sentences):
- coins appeared in the same period of the tyrants;
- probably tyrants were the first coins issuer;
- they issued coins and very small coins to improve retail trades for common people;
- thanks to tyranys and coins common people got freedom and they were able to improve their own life quality;
- this mechanism originated an impressive development of culture, art, economy...

Yes that is what I think.  Probably before coinage, matters of higher education only happened in aristocratic households, or temples.  Ordinary people had no access.  Coins allowed anyone to progress intellectually if they had the money to pay.  Popper stresses the appearance of book stalls at markets – so anyone could buy books.  I think the appearance of professional teachers was probably more important.  Called sophists – Plato hated them and I think that is why the meaning of the word “sophist” – like the meaning of the word “tyrant” – got changed.  Reactionary elite prejudice

The biggest cultural changes seem to me to be to do with the appearance of political satire in drama, and also new religious/philosophical schools.  But it appears there were rapid changes in say the understanding of mathematics too

Small coins and retail trades are the keys: so why electrum and not silver coins? Very small electrum coins had an higher value than very small silver coins.

My guess is that the first popularist rulers had to create a revenue source to fund their policing and administrative arms.  Electrum allowed for a big seigniorage profit to be got, by over valuing the metal in the coins.  It was part of the way religious control of society changed to society based upon political economics.

This sort of seigniorage idea remains very controversial.  Pushed initially from Europe by the Swede Sture Bolin at Lund, and aggressively attacked in the USA, prominently by Buttrey, from Princeton,  back in the 1960’s. 

Ordinary collectors still tend to the pro bullion line, especially in the USA.  Politically it was like ideas pushed by popular writers like Ayn Rand in the USA, but it is popular in the UK too, because it fits with older ideas going back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and before.  All those who still latch onto ant-Keynsian ideas for political reason.

I am not taking sides with Bolin or Buttrey here over political ideas – I am saying I think Bolin was correct as a historian.  Buttrey died last month, and as generations change, maybe his sort of strong views will die out too?

Rob
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Figleaf on February 01, 2018, 12:06:28 PM
Plato hated them and I think that is why the meaning of the word “sophist” – like the meaning of the word “tyrant” – got changed.  Reactionary elite prejudice

Sophists were the competition for Socrates and Plato. It was perfectly natural for them to speak badly about them and for the sophists to fight back. Just because the Tudors didn't like Yorkist doesn't mean that was the reason York never got to be the capital of England. Likewise, the alternative for tyrant is democracy or republic. Tyrants can be very useful in interesting times, but even today, they can seriously overstay their welcome (vide Ceaucescu). Similarly, Roman dictators didn't like to step down after a period of emergency was over. Preference for a system where citizens had more control over their lives (one benchmark for happiness) is natural, not prejudice.

Electrum allowed for a big seigniorage profit to be got, by over valuing the metal in the coins.  It was part of the way religious control of society changed to society based upon political economics.

Or it may have been a way to save money by not refining the electrum and - implicitly - hoping that either the silver/gold ratio would be constant enough or that people wouldn't notice. You cannot assume overvaluation as you have insufficient information on prices. Incidentally, the fact that users did notice the fluctuations in the gold/silver ratio pleads for usage by merchants.

Ordinary collectors still tend to the pro bullion line, especially in the USA.

Apart from the USA, where bullionism is pushed by extreme rightists and the gold miners lobby, (hilariously, the latter is furiously sending me mails arguing that gold is better than crypto-currencies) I do not see much preference for silver and gold among coin collectors except for an emotional liking of their colour (nothing to do with finance). The assumption that coin collectors prefer gold and silver comes mainly from the commercial coin fluff pushers who constantly try to suggest that their pseudo-coins are a good investment but don't dare to say so. Don't buy into their marketing propaganda.

Peter
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on February 01, 2018, 02:14:47 PM
Or it may have been a way to save money by not refining the electrum and - implicitly - hoping that either the silver/gold ratio would be constant enough or that people wouldn't notice. You cannot assume overvaluation as you have insufficient information on prices. Incidentally, the fact that users did notice the fluctuations in the gold/silver ratio pleads for usage by merchants.

As far as I know, several studies state the silver/gold ratio in early electrum coinage was quite costant. Then scholars suppose that Lydians had the ability to separate silver and gold and cast them together in a fixed ratio.

I'm not sure but probably only in the very first coinage without any symbols (striated or plain surfaces of the coin) there was an uncertain ratio.

What do you think? ::)
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on February 01, 2018, 10:56:03 PM
My guess is that the first popularist rulers had to create a revenue source to fund their policing and administrative arms.  Electrum allowed for a big seigniorage profit to be got, by over valuing the metal in the coins.  It was part of the way religious control of society changed to society based upon political economics.

In my opinion That's probably right, but my doubt is if the electrum was a correct choice to spread coins using through common people because its higher intrinsic value. Maybe in a first step electrum was necessary for the reasons you said, but after is it possible people asked coins with a lower value? It could be this the reason why electrum coins had a short life?
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Figleaf on February 02, 2018, 12:12:46 AM
I am not aware of these studies, but I believe you. Just two practical points. First, I doubt that there are enough specimen of the electrum Lydian coins to draw hard statistical conclusions. I realise that this is a normal problem for all but the large coin finds and archeologists will have to do with what is available, but it is important in relation to my second point.

This is that the electrum used was as mined. It is hard to see how a natural alloy, unchanged by human hands, would have yielded a constant ratio of gold and silver. Though I would readily accept that the ratio in each batch of metal was reasonably stable, due to smelting, the ratio must have been different between batches, also in river mining, as the nuggets would come from different veins. If the ore came from mines, when a mine is exhausted and another one used, it would be practically miraculous if the ratio were the same.

Peter
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on February 02, 2018, 09:19:36 AM
For example on the gold/silver ratio, pp. 13-14: https://www.academia.edu/2313012/K._Konuk_and_C._Lorber_White_Gold_Revealing_the_World_s_Earliest_Coins_H._Gitler_ed._Jerusalem_2012


"The invention of coinage was apparently spurred by the deficiency of alluvial electrum as a medium of exchange. Its variable gold content, ranging from ca. 65% to 85%, implied an unreliable intrinsic value, so that electrum in its bullion form had to be tested with a touchstone (“Lydian stone”) every time it changed hands.
 When electrum took the form of a coin, the device of the issuing authority guaranteed its face value, which was probably fixed at the maximum intrinsic value of electrum. Remarkably careful weight control, within a tolerance measured by hundredths of grams, may also have facilitated the use of electrum coinage in exchange. Metallurgical analyses of electrum coins indicate that natural alluvial ore was soon replaced by an artificial alloy with a lower gold content and a higher percentage of silver, usually adulterated with copper to enrich its color. For example, early electrum coins from the island of Samos show great variability in their gold content, from 84% to 46% with an average around 55–60%; those with the highest gold content may have been struck from natural electrum whereas the rest employed a manipulated alloy. In contrast, royal Lydian coins of the lion-forepart or lion-head type (below, figs. 20–24) were from the beginning made of an artificial alloy containing about 54% gold and 2% copper, yet they were probably valued as if minted from natural electrum with an average gold content of 70–75%. Electrum coinage was thus a fiduciary coinage, and the profit that accrued to the issuing authorities may be another reason, or even the main reason, for the invention of coinage".
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Figleaf on February 02, 2018, 03:45:18 PM
Metallurgical analyses of electrum coins indicate that natural alluvial ore was soon replaced by an artificial alloy with a lower gold content and a higher percentage of silver, usually adulterated with copper to enrich its color. For example, early electrum coins from the island of Samos show great variability in their gold content, from 84% to 46% with an average around 55–60%

Thank you, Mateo, that clarifies stuff. We were perhaps thinking of different periods or areas. This again raises the question of why use an artificial alloy for coinage when you can separate the gold and silver (though mercury refining hadn't been invented yet) and get coins that are more desirable, because they are easier to test and value.

In contrast, royal Lydian coins of the lion-forepart or lion-head type (below, figs. 20–24) were from the beginning made of an artificial alloy containing about 54% gold and 2% copper, yet they were probably valued as if minted from natural electrum with an average gold content of 70–75%. Electrum coinage was thus a fiduciary coinage, and the profit that accrued to the issuing authorities may be another reason, or even the main reason, for the invention of coinage".

This is confusing. I thought Lydian coins preceded Samos coins. Are we talking about two separate traditions? Anyway, I am delighted to know how the Lydian and Chinese coins were connected in being called fiduciary (avant la lettre). I am not convinced in either case. Let me explain.

Coining is a service. It transforms metal that must be weighed and assayed into pre-weighed and assayed objects. Coining has a cost. It is reasonable that at least part of the cost is paid by the user in the form of seigniorage. Seigniorage can be higher or lower than minting cost. However, if seigniorage is higher than minting cost, it does not follow that the coins are fiduciary. If that were the case, practically only bullion coins would not be fiduciary coins and the  distinction between full value coins and fiduciary coins would be without a difference.

Fiduciary coins have a bullion value that has no relation with the denomination. Therefore, neither the metal nor the weight are of importance. That is clearly not the case for the electrum coins. What remains is that in modern eyes, seigniorage is higher than minting cost. I wonder if contemporaries saw the coins in the same way. First, do we have a good idea about minting cost? Second, do we take into account such factors as "coins are easy to hide" and "coins have a weight that is in line with accepted weight standards"? In short, can we really conclude that the minting authority made an excess profit?

We know that at least in China, the idea - or maybe the fiction - was that the cash coins were full value, but containing a large seigniorage. Maybe the better conclusion is that Greek coin users were able to drive down seigniorage in time, while Chinese coin users could not. If that is so, one explanation may be that the organisation of the Chinese (large, unitary, authoritarian units) was radically different from that of the Greeks (small, quite different, competing city states with a republican tendency).

Peter
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Matteo on February 02, 2018, 08:14:51 PM
Dear Peter,

a good summarize of the studies on the composition of early electrum coinage is in F. Velde, On the origin of specie. It's too long to past it here. I add another extract from K. Konuk, Asia Minor to the Ionian revolt:

Quote
A further set of coins to have been probed are the Lydian lion head issues which have a
much more stable proportion of gold at around 54% with c. 2% copper (Cowell and Hyne
2000: 170-171; Keyser and Clark 2001: 114). Lydian coins were clearly struck with a
manipulated alloy which contained a lower proportion of gold than is found in natural
electrum (70-75% gold on average). The face or exchange value of these coins would have
been superior to their intrinsic value, perhaps by as much as some 20% to coincide with a
value close to that of natural electrum (Le Rider 2001: 94-5; see below for an anecdote in
Herodotus involving a gift made by Croesus from which the value in question may perhaps be
determined).

I'm sorry if my answers are not good as your observations are, but I'm not an expert.

I'm agree that probably it is not correct to talk about "fiduciary coinage": in my opinion "fiduciary coins" means that people know they are using a coin with a bullion value lower than its denomination. Are we sure that Lydian people know the real intrinsic value of their coins?

For example Bolin talked "about a large scale swindle":

Quote
“The very contrast between appearance and reality—on the one hand the care with which
the weights of the coins were tested and their alleged equal value, and on the other hand their strongly
varying percentage of gold and the impossibility of checking it—makes it possible to regard the
introduction of coinage as an imposture, a large-scale swindle.”

So it could be possible that in a first step issuers used a natural alloy with a fixed value. This value was high enough to have a right profit.
In the next step (see for example what Konuk says for Lydia) issuers used an artificial alloy to know the exact gold/silver ratio and to increase their profits.
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on February 03, 2018, 09:40:24 AM
Matteo > I'm agree that probably it is not correct to talk about "fiduciary coinage": in my opinion "fiduciary coins" means that people know they are using a coin with a bullion value lower than its denomination.

Interesting discussion between yourself and Peter, but errors of fact are cropping up too fast for me to find time to correct them all.  Most of these have to do with the meaning of words.  For instance - when Plato wrote about a "Republic" - was that an honest use of the word?

On this fiduciary matter - all British coins from 1666 to 1816 apparently contained their full value in metal - and when a seigniorage was applied to silver after 1816, at about 6%, the coins were called token - implying they were fiduciary.  That is a fact.  But we the way we use words is only really a fact about our personal psychology, political stance etc.  Its not really a fact about the real world. 

The cost of making silver coin - traditionally called brassage - seems to have been about 2% in a big well run mint (like medieval Venice).  The alloy of the early electrum varies quite a lot, but it is claimed to be artificial and around 20%+ below natural electrum, or about 45% below gold. I am with you and Bolin - that for me counts as fiduciary. All these claims are contested of course, we are way into guesswork territory - but my guess is still that they were fiduciary and may well have been tariffed as pure gold at a big profit for all we know.

Practice in China varied widely - but it looks a lot like Northern Sung cash were cast close to full value.  But full value itself is a pretty meaningless phrase - since the biggest customer for copper was the state for use in coinage, so the metal value itself is going to be a function of state coining decisions.  Bullionists heads are often way into the sand on that matter.

Rob

Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: Figleaf on February 04, 2018, 08:44:55 AM
Due to personal engagements, I have no time to refute your arguments extensively. I think you are confusing republic and democracy, government and state, full weight and (very) approximate full weight, brassage and seigniorage, you still don't know about prices in ancient times, you are wrong on China and you are wrong to transpose modern terms to ancient and medieval situations. Sorry for brevity.

Peter
Title: Re: Silver 1/192 stater
Post by: EWC on February 04, 2018, 02:19:24 PM
No problem about the brevity Peter - I fully understand - I am very busy myself.

However, if anyone with more time wishes to defend any of the diverse claims you make, about my being “wrong” or “confused” I would ask them to first quote the specific message they have in mind, and then give salient facts backing their criticism. 

Meanwhile, all I say in rely is, I think you are wrong.

As I say, I am busy too, so apologies in advance if I am slow to respond to anyone

Rob