Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cut Portion of a Silver Dekadrachm



FORVM is offering for sale a cut dekadrachm. The sales blurb suggests that it was cut in ancient times to make change.

A few months ago FORVM offered a dazzling collection of cut coins on eBay, including this and an archaic octodrachm of Abdera. There were so many cut specimens that some lots included more than one piece!

Here are some samples:

Greek Silver - 4 Cut Coins

Kings of Cyprus, Eulthon, 560 - 525 B.C.

2 Cut Ancient Coins, Acanthos? Kelenderis?

Lot of Ten Cut Greek Silver

The eBay buyer is apparently finished with the dekadrachm and is selling on consignment. (I can't recall how much this piece sold for on eBay. I remember a price in the $400s but perhaps am thinking of the octodrachm).

The surprising thing about the dekadrachm is that it is a Hellenistic-era coin. Usually cut coins are very early. Before coinage rough bits of 'hacksilber' were used and some early coins were cut up when they reached pre-coinage regions to join the hacksilber. No word on where all the cut pieces came from, or if they were found together -- did someone collect these over decades, or did they all surface in a single hoard?

It is surprising that this cut piece is so pleasingly centered on Zeus. In The Medici Conspiracy pleasing breaks on Greek vases are a sign of foul play. That shouldn't be an issue here, as no one is claiming that this dekadrachm broke while it was in the ground. It was purposely cut in antiquity, probably by someone who respected Zeus.

(FORVM claims copyright on the photo, used here without permission.)

2 comments:

RJO said...

The eBay buyer is apparently finished with the dekadrachm and is selling on consignment.

This always puzzles me. I've often seen something for sale at CNG that reappears a year or two later. What are people doing? They don't appear to be "flipping" things for a profit as a dealer might. Couldn't afford it in the first place and now have to sell it again to pay the bills?

Ed Snible said...

Divorce often causes the sale of coins. Needing capital for a first home or to start a business. Death. To raise funds to start a different collection.

I want my collection to sell for what I paid for it, or perhaps more. There are a lot of transaction costs to selling coins. You and I know that the high transaction costs means one should "think like a dealer" and flip OR hold on for a long time to reduce transaction costs. Other people don't want to wear last year's colors. They jump on the latest fashion, get bored, try something else.