Author Topic: Silver 1/192 stater  (Read 739 times)

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Offline Matteo

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Silver 1/192 stater
« 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.

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2018, 01:34:38 AM »
Hello Matteo, this type is treated here on World of Coins - a coin like yours but 1.5 times heavier. It is from Erythrae, a town in Asia Minor opposite the island of Chios.

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Offline EWC

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #2 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
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 11:09:55 AM by EWC »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #3 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
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Offline Matteo

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #4 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).
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 10:22:35 PM by Matteo »

Offline EWC

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #5 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

Offline Matteo

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #6 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.       

Offline EWC

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #7 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

Offline Matteo

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #8 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.


Offline Matteo

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #9 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.

Offline EWC

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #10 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

Offline EWC

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #11 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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #12 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Matteo

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #13 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? ::)

Offline Matteo

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Re: Silver 1/192 stater
« Reply #14 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?