Author Topic: Electrum twelth stater of Miletos  (Read 336 times)

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Offline Matteo

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Electrum twelth stater of Miletos
« on: February 17, 2018, 08:16:18 PM »
Twelth stater of Miletos is one of the commonest Greek archaic coins. It is a silver coin. Why do exist three coins of this type in electrum?

We can read something here:
As noted above, this general Milesian twelfth-stater type is known almost exclusively in silver. A few rare electrum specimens have been recorded however; I am aware of the following published examples:

  • McClean #8205. (Not seen; fide Konuk, 2002.)
  • Boston #1883. (Not seen; fide Konuk, 2002.)
  • Kayhan #482 (1.20 g). “A prolific coinage with these types was struck in silver…, but only a handful of electrum examples have survived. It would be tempting to associate this exceptional issue with the Ionian revolt, which may have been the occasion for a revival of electrum coinage ” (Konuk, 2003: 68, with a fine enlarged illustration of Kayhan #482). [ = CNG 47: #476 (1998) = Rosen #581 ]
It is interesting the explanation of Konuk, but I'm not sure it was only a revival...What was the reason to back to the electrum in this war period? Is it possible it was an attempt to get an higher profit for the issuer?


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Electrum twelth stater of Miletos
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 09:53:08 AM »
I claim no expertise, this is just on coining.

What was the reason to back to the electrum in this war period?

I think we can dismiss conservatism as a reason. The Ionian revolt was not about change, but about the Persian presence. That is a useful conclusion in the sense that the reason is most likely to have been technical.

Electrum is found in a natural state. It is not absolutely necessary to melt it, which saves time and energy. Since troops need to be paid and merchants and farmers must be convinced to sell supplies to the army, the time to produce coins is an important factor. This explains why a mobile mint could be part of an army train. Saving energy is a less convincing argument, as there would have been plenty of chaff and other agricultural waste to burn.

Note that your source only speculates that the electrum issues are wartime. An alternative explanation would be that one type was for domestic circulation, the other for trade.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.