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Three tiny coins from Kolophon, Ionia


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We have had threads on very small coins before:

Although Greek coins are not my main focus, I find the earliest tiny issues interesting. Here are three from one city, Kolophon in Ionia, which are dated to the "late sixth century BC" by Koray Konuk, author of SMG Turkey I, the Kayhan Collection. I am showing them because I feel I have completed a set. All have the same obverse, Archaic head left (Apollo?) and pretty much the same reverse, a quadrapartite incuse square, but the denominations are supposed to be 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 obol.


They are, left to right, 0.36 grams (a "Persic standard hemiobol"), 0.185 grams, and 0.08 grams. 
SNG Turkey I, 342 for the largest one. 
If the largest one really is a hemiobol, I don't know that an obol was issued. There are other designs for small coins of these weights at Kolophon, but none I have found have, even approximately, the weight of an obol. 

If these were intended to be different denominations, and the weights cluster in a manner suggesting they are intentionally different, I wonder how the ancients distinguished them?


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A similar coin to yours but from  from Phokaia (IONIA), (also late sixth century B.C).

AR9.3 mm. 1.01 gm.

Obv: Head of Apollo left

Rev: Quadripartite incuse square punch

SNG Cop. 389-93

(3) 521-478 B.C. IONIA Phokaia SNG Cop 389-393.png


My coin from Kolophon (IONIA)

320-294 B.C. IONIA Kolophon, 1.02 gm., AR11 mm.

Obv: Head of Apollo right

Rev: Riderless horse prancing right

SNG Cop.171-2

(8) 320-294 B.C. IONIA Kolophon, SNG Cop.171-2.png


Edited by Topcat7
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Very few obols are known e.g. a single obol among a hoard of 903 fractions of Kolophon (CH I.3) cf the Kim & Kroll article in AJN 2008

the one of the hoard is 0.92g 


Mine is 0.87g 


The obverse is very similar but the reverse is more a quadripartite incuse than the other that looks more like a kroisos lion/bull reverse incuse punch. 





Edited by Brennos
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Great set! I enjoy the look of the archaic Apollo very much! Thanks for sharing🙂




Compared to the classical:


Or the Hellenistic:


I kid, I kid. Here's my favorite Hellenistic Apollo...I think:



Ps, to your last question, they used weights back then to measure weight of coins. Not by eye, nor diameter. 

Edited by Ryro
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