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Hooked on phonics horror: 'D' is for 'Dixazelmeus'


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  • Benefactor

Recently, I acquired this relatively rare coin from the Thracian king, Dixazelmeus.


Kings of Thrace, Dixazelmeus
Circa 141-139/8 BCE
Ae 3.12 Gr. 16.4 mm
Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right.
SNG BM Black Sea 320-1; HGC 3.2, 1726


There aren't a lot of coins of his known, though a few have trickled to auction in recent times. Based on the a paper by Paunov, it seems to be in the neighborhood of 10. Paunov places his reign right before that of Mostis, whose coin of his I need to upgrade someday.


Kings of Thrace. Kainian. Mostis
139-101 BCE
Æ 22 mm, 5,60 g
Vs: Kopf des Zeus mit Lorbeerkranz und Kopf der Hera mit Stephane hintereinander rechts.
Rs: Adler auf Blitzbündel links.
Peykov C4690; HGC 3, 1729.


Other than that, we don't know anything more about Dixazelmeus. However, with some clever numismatics I've figured out what happened.

The key is his insistence that his entire name across the coin - ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΙΧΑZΕΛΜΕΩΣ

Can you imagine as a child in school trying to spell that? Even worse, since back then they numbered years based on kings, every time you wrote out a check you'd have to write out that whole name and if you mixed up a letter - saying writing "Dizaxelmeus" - then the bank would just send it right back to you.

Things most have reached a boiling point when a guy named Mostis stopped by and promised to put a stop to this nonsense. Dixazelmeus was disposed of, his name was erased everywhere, and people clamored to replace their phonics-challenged coins with those of the successor.

Feel free to share your own 'spelling bee' coins!

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  • Benefactor

Found another one (also from Thrace).

'H' is for Hebryzelmis.


Kings of Thrace. Hebryzelmis
389-383 BCE
Æ Tetrachalkon 18 mm, 5,74 g
Obv: Turreted head of Kybele to right. PH Monogram in rectangular incuse on neck
Rev. EB / PY Two-handled cup; below, grain ear right. Gorgoneion countermark in circular incuse on bowl.
Topalov 86


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