Thursday, September 24, 2015

Electrum coins from Carthage

PUNIC WATCH: Electrum coins weren't just issued early on: Ancients Today. Cities still use alloy after switch to pure gold and silver (David Vagi, Coin World).
As the production of electrum coinage in Asia Minor died out in the 320s, it is most curious that the tradition was then taken up at the other end of the Mediterranean by Carthage, a Phoenician settlement on the shore of North Africa, just southwest of Sicily.

The earliest precious metal coins of Carthage, dating to about 350 B.C., were made of pure gold, but by about 320 B.C. they were substituted with staters of electrum.

These were issued in very large quantities, along with multiple and fractional denominations that were produced only occasionally and in relatively small quantities. The standard design for the Carthaginian stater was the head of the goddess Tanit and a standing horse.

They mainly appear to have been issued from circa 320 to 270 B.C. After that prolific era, Carthage also struck electrum coinage during its three wars with Rome: the First Punic War (264 to 241 B.C.), the Second Punic War (218 to 201 B.C.), and the Third Punic War (149 to 146 B.C.).
It's good to know these things. Cross-file under Numismatics.