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Mystery of the cross/X(?) On the Shield/ identification help


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I've not much to go off of here and would appreciate any help one can give at identifying this very cool looking little piece of Greek bronze.

The T or X on the shield's boss is intriguing as its clearly from before the cross was celebrated by Christians. 

And the reverse appears to be the back of a head, perhaps Apollo or a nymph.

The auction house merely listed it as: AE Bronze (11mm 1.17g)

4920207_1701768950.l.jpg.11f08f29343fc93fb3bde9dda1cadc63.jpg

Again, and help or ideas are appreciated. 

Edited by Ryro
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  • Ryro changed the title to Mystery of the cross/X(?) On the Shield/ identification help

This is a very rare type.  Here is another example:shieldx-both-brighter.jpg.0b9f1ef45752cded65bf7bb7aa1acaa9.jpg

1.28g, AE11

The above example was in CNG, Triton VI, January 2003, lot 1563, a group lot from the David Freedman collection. Described as 'Uncertain, possibly Selge'.  It took me several years to find a published example.  This coin looks exactly like the example in the Pozzi collection (Boutin's catalog, not the auction), Pozzi 3359ter.

("Ter" means third -- they needed two put two coins between 3359 and 3360; these were cataloged as 3359 2nd and 3359 third.)

Boutin's catalog described the coin as Euboea, Chalkis (?).  I assume only on the basis of the X (Chi).  I don't really buy this because typically tiny bronzes are from Asia Minor, not Euboea.  If we are going to attribute based on a single letter perhaps Caria Chalketor which at least has other coins this size.  It is irresponsible to catalog this as anything other than uncertain until we find an example with a findspot.

Another example was sold as Concordia Numismatic, auction 4, May 2023, lot 330.  The anonymous Concordia cataloger did not even bother to suggest a continent.

 

 

Edited by Ed Snible
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58 minutes ago, Ed Snible said:

This is a very rare type.  Here is another example:shieldx-both-brighter.jpg.0b9f1ef45752cded65bf7bb7aa1acaa9.jpg

 

The above example was in CNG, Triton VI, January 2003, lot 1563, a group lot from the David Freedman collection. Described as 'Uncertain, possibly Selge'.  It took me several years to find a published example.  This coin looks exactly like the example in the Pozzi collection (Boutin's catalog, not the auction), Pozzi 3359ter.

("Ter" means third -- they needed two put two coins between 3359 and 3360; these were cataloged as 3359 2nd and 3359 third.)

Boutin's catalog described the coin as Euboea, Chalkis (?).  I assume only on the basis of the X (Chi).  I don't really buy this because typically tiny bronzes are from Asia Minor, not Euboea.  If we are going to attribute based on a single letter perhaps Caria Chalketor which at least has other coins this size.  It is irresponsible to catalog this as anything other than uncertain until we find an example with a findspot.

Another example was sold as Concordia Numismatic, auction 4, May 2023, lot 330.  The anonymous Concordia cataloger did not even bother to suggest a continent.

 

 

Wow, thanks Ed! Very interesting! I appreciate you shedding some light on this apparently shady rarity. 

Selge has the NO monogram on its shields (other than the three half circles on the spearhead type). Other than that I fail to see similarities. But I'm assuming this is why CNG said possibly Selge:

image26.png.5daf80c79e8c6d236fa74c8b26e90489.png

PISIDIA, Selge. 2nd-1st century BC. Æ 17mm (5.0). ΠO monogram on shield / Triskeles. SNG France 2006; BMC Lycia pg. 263, 57; SNG Copenhagen

I would have assumed Euboia was selected due to similarities with the nymph on the silver pieces. So having the Chi makes it not entirely outlandish. But as you said they aren't known for their little bronze pieces.

I concur with the Asia Minor suggestion, and that without a find spot we are tasting wine with our noses plugged. 

So, no way to know the where. Though, with the examples you've supplied I think I'm going with that being a nymph on the reverse, as opposed to Apollo. 

Please keep me up to date if you ever hear of further information on the type. For now my tag will read: 

Uncertain type, possibly Asia Minor, Caria Chalketor/Euboea, Chalkis/Selge. Hellenistic age. No known find spots. AE Bronze (11mm 1.17g)

Obv: Shield, w/X (Greek Chi) in boss

Rev: nymph facing right

Very rare. Purchased from Olympus 10, Dec 2023

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Just a guess, but perhaps Chalke?

325_Full.jpg.ac13db316b6f4a51d7081fdad19156e3.jpg

Caria, Chalke
4th century BCE
Æ 8mm, 0.51g, 6h
Head of Artemis r., wearing stephane
R/ Spearhead
SNG von Aulock 8736-7; BMC 1-4; HGC 6, 128
2

 

The obverses seem similar and both begin with an 'X'. It also doesn't seem so strange to have a spear on one coin and a shield on another.

 

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