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Celtic or Macedonian?


Sulla80

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This coin looking for help from a Philip II / Macedonian expert.  This coin is an Eastern Celt tetradrachm, issued in the name and type of Philip II.  I am interested to know more about how to see these coins.  

  •     What are the features that most clearly differentiate this coin from an official issue of Cassander?
  •     Why is Amphipolis the most imitated mint?
  •     Why can't I find the model coin in PELLA?
  •     What are the best references for these "Celtic" coins?

These Celtic coins are from the first half of the third century (300-250 BC). Celtic tribesmen served as mercenaries for Philip II (356-336 BC) and were paid in silver coins. They returned home with these coins after the campaigns. With this exposure to the currency, they also began to strike their own coins in imitation starting around 300 BC.

image.png.eca930c9cbc0b121f664efd0ec231ef0.png

Eastern Celt Imitation of:
Kings of Macedon, Philip II, 359-336 BC, AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 14.22g, 7h), Amphipolis, struck under Kassander, circa 307-297.
Obv: Laureate head of Zeus to right
Rev: ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ, young jockey, holding palm frond in his right hand and reins in his left, riding horse to right; below horse, Λ above torch; below raised foreleg, monogram of ΚO
Ref: Le Rider pl. 47, 23. SNG ANS 794

Notes & related coins can be found here: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/a-tetradrachm-of-philip-ii-of-macedonia-almost

Also interested to see other Celtic imitations of both Alexander and Philip II - please post your examples!

Edited by Sulla80
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Not an expert, but I can address a couple of the questions. There are many, many reference books out there for Celtic coinage. The two I use for these types of Central/Eastern Danube Region Tetradrachms most often are:

Derek Allen with John Kent and Melinda Mays: Catalouge of the Celtic Coins in the British Museum Volume I: Silver Coins of the East Celts and Balkan Peoples.

Michaela Kostial: Keltien Im Osten, Gold and Silber der Kelten in Mittel- und Osteuropa, Sammlung Lanz.

As Ryro says, style is the indicador; however, the style varies from examples which are indistinguishable from official issues to British Celtic where the head of Zeus is represented by dots, the jockey disappears, and the horse is high abstract. 

CCCBM has a good introductory discussion, maps showing findspots of the various types, an excellent bibliography, an extensive concordance to previous referenced works such as Pink and de La Tour and very instructive line drawings to supplement the photo listing. Many of these issues are very poorly struck, so it's unusual to find examples of the more degraded issues that actually have good strikes showing all the devices.

The Kostial book is a catalog of Dr. Lanz's collection, as I understand it. This book also includes some introductory material and a good biography (all in German). Kostial's book has become a standard reference, I think, because Dr. Lanz had so many examples of the same issue, which are all illustrated. Again, as many examples are not well struck up you have to look at a lot of coins to really understand both what was intended and how that may have changed with time.

Just scanning the first few pages I don't see where CCCBM specifically makes an argument about the Amphipolis mint issues, however the first issues of the first phase that they list are your type of Amphipolis issues and I would imagine the answer is proximity. To quote: "The earliest copies are found singly and in hoards in central Wallachia in the territory of the Gaete, an area where original or posthumous coins of Philip II appear; they also spread south of the Danube into the Bulgarian Plain."

Because the types are so varied and so poorly struck, coins that are not specifically listed in these two references are frequently found. Here is an example:

Celtic Tribes. Lower Danube region. 2nd century BC. AR Tetradrachm (28x25mm, 13.88g, 9h). Imitating Philip II of Macedon. Obv: Stylized laureate head of Zeus right. Rev: Rider on horseback right, cape (?) behind; circular object below; Y under raised leg; Uncertain mark in exergue. Ref: CCCBM I -; Lanz - (cf. 359-361). Ex Colosseum Coin Exchange, with ticket. Ex Barry and Darling, 2002.

image.jpeg.c6975dfe9b5ca9f484b33614c4867a03.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Sulla80 said:

This coin looking for help from a Philip II / Macedonian expert.  This coin is an Eastern Celt tetradrachm, issued in the name and type of Philip II.  I am interested to know more about how to see these coins.  

  •     What are the features that most clearly differentiate this coin from an official issue of Cassander?
  •     Why is Amphipolis the most imitated mint?
  •     Why can't I find the model coin in PELLA?
  •     What are the best references for these "Celtic" coins?

These Celtic coins are from the first half of the third century (300-250 BC). Celtic tribesmen served as mercenaries for Philip II (356-336 BC) and were paid in silver coins. They returned home with these coins after the campaigns. With this exposure to the currency, they also began to strike their own coins in imitation starting around 300 BC.

image.png.eca930c9cbc0b121f664efd0ec231ef0.png

Eastern Celt Imitation of:
Kings of Macedon, Philip II, 359-336 BC, AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 14.22g, 7h), Amphipolis, struck under Kassander, circa 307-297.
Obv: Laureate head of Zeus to right
Rev: ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ, young jockey, holding palm frond in his right hand and reins in his left, riding horse to right; below horse, Λ above torch; below raised foreleg, monogram of ΚO
Ref: Le Rider pl. 47, 23. SNG ANS 794

Notes & related coins can be found here: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/a-tetradrachm-of-philip-ii-of-macedonia-almost

Also interested to see other Celtic imitations of both Alexander and Philip II - please post your examples!

Your coin is an unusually fine Celtic imitation of a Tet from Amphipolis, & older than the example pictured below that I sold a long time ago 😉. 2491169-002ExAWKCollection.jpg.a07a108678fe417202202fbc807c37ee.jpg

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1 hour ago, Edessa said:

The two I use for these types of Central/Eastern Danube Region Tetradrachms most often are:

Derek Allen with John Kent and Melinda Mays: Catalouge of the Celtic Coins in the British Museum Volume I: Silver Coins of the East Celts and Balkan Peoples.

Michaela Kostial: Keltien Im Osten, Gold and Silber der Kelten in Mittel- und Osteuropa, Sammlung Lanz.

Thanks @Edessa, for the references, comments, and your example 🙂

1 hour ago, Ryro said:

Beautiful portrait and style!

I only have one of the lifetime Philip tets from Makedon. But the style is often a giveaway for these Celtic types 

Thanks, @Ryro, any chance your tetradrachm looks a little like this? 😉For me these are really the ultimate Zeus portrait coins - high relief and very regal!

image.png.2f3c41930ba269b76971f86fd15ab688.png

Edited by Sulla80
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This is my imitation:

Gauls.jpg.b7b818ff48a9746850bd62999f8d6559.jpg

Philip II, imitation from Gauls
AR 13.16g 315-275 BCE
Laureate head of Zeus right
Youth on horseback holding a palm, Lambda & torch below the horse, ""E"" below the horse's foreleg
CCCBM 3

 

This is another case where the original tet is unpublished. In fact, I couldn't find one, though there are bronze issues that match.

FWIW, here's my non-imitation. I'm sure an expert can provide the fine details on how to tell the difference, but it's pretty much in the style - at least from my two examples.

philip2.jpg.a419216d801bafff95157bec1470b809.jpg

Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II AR Tetradrachm.
Pella mint, ca 354-349 BCE
22-24 mm., 13.68g.
Laureate head of Zeus right / ΦIΛΛIΠOY, Philip II, diademed & in kausia, on horseback left, raising right hand

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I've shown part of these before, but don't mind to do it again in this specialized thread. 

4005snm.jpg.7a7c92075e82266abaa93e67963272cc.jpg

4005. Eastern Celts, Lower Danube. Uncertain tribe. Early 3rd century BC. // Thracian imitation by an uncertain issuer from the 350-300 BC period, Lower Danube. Early imitation of a Philip II tetradrachm of Amphipolis. Fourrée (at the edge some giveaway spots). Obv. Laureate head of Zeus t.r., behind it, a leaf. Rev. Jockey and horse riding t.r. Under it, labda over a bucranium. Under the prancing leg of the horse, an A. 24.5 mm, 13.85 gr. 

4008chinlessnm.jpg.b3480a11add4fbc3901acb14f11bd698.jpg

4008. Eastern Celts, mint in the Central Carpathian region, 2nd century BC. Scyphate, thick AR tetradrachm. Obv. Vague Zeus head to the right, ‘Kinnlos’ = chinless. Rev. Rider on a horse, ‘Entenschnabel’ = duckbill. 24 mm, 12.38 gr. Sergeev 70-71 (p. 36). Aninoasa-Dobresti type. Lanz 554-63; OTA 244/1-16. 

4009snm.jpg.9e42551525ad39bac32b8d33e3c78889.jpg

4009. Eastern Celts, mint in the Northern Carpathian region, 2nd century BC. Scyphate BI tetradrachm. Obv. Vague round Zeus head to the right. Rev. Horse to the left, no rider, ‘Entenschnabel’. 23 mm, 8.88 gr. Lanz 666-8; OTA 326. 

And here are some drachms imitating Alexander's.

4003Alexanderimitationnm.jpg.03c39649358d0b642d11fa5b64f88002.jpg

 4003. Eastern Celtic imitation of an Alexander drachm. Thracian Getae? Those letters look almost readable, but in what script? 16 mm, 3.83 gr.

4007Ostkeltsnm.jpg.13acacf1cbe22b04eda49d4c3bbbf515.jpg

4007. Eastern Europe, Celtic AR drachm, imitation of Alexander III of Macedon 300-200 BC. AR 17 mm, 3.38 gr. Cf. Sergeev nr. 135: ‘Between the Balkans and the Dniepr basin’. Ostkeltischer Typenatlas (Göbl) 591,1. 

 

 

 

 

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