Author Topic: First precursor of the coins?  (Read 525 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ART

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15
First precursor of the coins?
« on: October 28, 2019, 02:46:09 AM »
The auction house Numismatica Genevensis SA put on sale a silver ingot containing a hieroglyphic inscription with the name of Toutankhamon, which has hypothesized to be the first marked pre-monetary object in history.

NumisBids: Numismatica Genevensis SA Auction 12, Lot 101 : Egypte Antique

Offline THCoins

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5 853
Re: First precursor of the coins?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2019, 07:40:25 PM »
I really do not know what to think of this piece. But i simply would love to believe the historic background story about this object !

Online Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31 166
Re: First precursor of the coins?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 09:54:04 AM »
The auction house, while suggesting a lot, expresses itself carefully. It never says coin and does not suggest means of payment until the very last sentence. It suggests, disingenuously, that you can't live without money. What we are left with is one of two silver bars (lingot d'argent) with partially read hieroglyphs punched in. They are very rare (pleading against widespread acceptance and use).

The auction house says: "One can thus think that such objects were reserved for particular or ceremonial purposes." That's vague enough for everyone to agree on. However, the auction house's conclusion, following immediately, that "This rare ingot thus constitutes the first dated monetary object in the world" is not supported by the evidence presented. Temple tokens, rouelles and the like are not just not monetary objects, but religious instruments.

Of course, stamped ingots used for large payments existed. I know about examples from Venice and Kiev and there are probably more. However, these are around a millennium younger and they co-existed with coins, indicating that a culture and tradition of monetary payments already existed and the bars were used in circumstances where coins were not suitable. The bars were auxiliary to coins. You cannot compare them to the ancient Egyptian bars in question.

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