Tuesday, 18 August 2020

The earliest coins of the Nabateans

I have recently been cultivating an interest in the coinage of Nabataea, centred on Petra and covering parts of North Arabia, the Transjordan and Syria.

The earliest coins ascribed to Nabataea have no real identifying legend but the association is down to the provenance, the area in which they are found and the coins they are found with. 

It was only by chance that I was reading a note by Rachel Barkay in the 2015 volume of the journal Aram that it was pointed out that the earliest Nabataean coins imitate, in bronze, the gold staters of Macedon struck by Alexander the Great and Philip III featuring the helmeted head of Athena on the obverse and Nike on the reverse. 


Friday, 31 July 2020

A coin of the Mamluk Sultans finally identified

Patience had finally paid off. Sitting in the garden with a cold cider on the hottest day of the year I think that after over 30 years I have identified this coin.

I knew it was Mamluk but I just couldn't get it. In one final attempt with Balog, Coins of the Mamluk Sultans, I have it. Al Nasir Muhammad, 709-41AH (1310-41AD) copper fulus,  third reign , Cairo mint, Balog 221.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

The last "supermoon" of 2020

Finally got around to downloading this image of the Moon, taken by me on 6th May 2020. It was a so-called a "supermoon", the third and final one of 2020. The term supermoon is used to refer to a full Moon on its closest passage to the Earth, or at lest within 90% of its closest passage.

What this means is that this passage was within 224,429 miles (361,184 km)

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Late Roman / early Byzantine weights

I first posted on the weighing of late Roman and early Byzantine coins in May 2018. This post is an update on my collection of weights from the period. The weights are either marked on nomismata (solidi), scripula grammata or ounces. The design either engraved or punched in , sometimes quite shallow and at times is enhanced by silver inlay.

There is overlap between commercial weights and the coin weights. Although I don't have an example there are some weights known marked with both the weight in solidi and ounces.

1 ounce = 6 solidi = 24 scripula

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Machine Tokens update

I have now uploaded the full collection of around 330 pieces, mostly British, as a PDF that can either be viewed online or downloaded. I've tried to include as many Hayes references as possible.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Machine token collection

This collection started as the product of a mis-spent youth, venturing into paranumismatics! A work in progress during these times of curfew, keeping me well and for the best. I have started some Web pages with my collection of slot machine tokens.


Probably only 10% of the collection listed so far but I'm working on it. Would be happy to hear from other collectors of this series.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Pythagoras and early Italian coinage

The early Italian coinage from the instep of the "boot" of Italy is very distinct. The reverses frequently mirror the obverses but incuse, rather than relief. Dating to the period c. 530-510 BC four of the obove five coins show this trait.

The top two are from Sybaris, the middle coin from Croton and the bottom two from Metapontum. 

The question arises why the distinctive relief/in use mirrored design? It has been suggested that it aids the stacking of the coins. That hypothesis doesn't really stand as, unless the sided of the coin are identical, they won't interlink. With hand made dies/punches this is not possible. 

One of the more intriguing suggestions is that their introduction is linked to the exile of Pythagoras from Samos. His father was a gem engraver and the skills of a coin die engraver are very similar. Pythagoras was exiled initially to Croton and then Metapontum around 530 BC and so the approximate timings are right. It is a possibility that this individual was responsible for the introduction of the distinctive coin design.