Athenian electrum coinage reconsidered: types, standard, value, and dating

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Abstract

A small number of electrum coins has been attributed to Athens and placed among the Wappenmünzen (the earliest coins of Athens) broadly in the second half of the sixth century BC. However, their place and function in the Wappenmünzen series is little understood and serious doubts have been raised about their attribution to Athens. The recent discovery of an electrum coin bearing the device of a bull in excavations in the Athenian Agora (Agora 2012.12.0416) strongly indicates that this type at least belongs to Athens, but its weight (heavier than other specimens) raises again the question of the weight standard being employed. In this article I reconsider Athenian electrum coins by comparing both their obverse and reverse types with silver Wappenmünzen and find some close comparisons. On this basis I suggest which types should be more firmly considered Athenian, re-examine the weight standard and value, and cautiously propose a new dating for their production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalNumismatic Chronicle
Volume175
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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