Nana had a tetradrachm
September 15, 2016 4:34 PM   Subscribe

What are these coins?

I just spent a very pleasant afternoon going through my Nana's coin purse and reading about Silver Dollars, Indian Head Pennies, Piastres, Millemes, and more. She had a charming array of coins from around the world, most of them about a century old and would-be-valuable if they weren't so worn. But there were a few I had trouble tracking down and was hoping you'd recognize them or be able to read some of the (very faint, rather worn, barely legible) texts.

Here are the coins in question, with a modern quarter for size reference.

Top left, modern quarter

Center, this coin is large and worn flat at the edges. Feels and looks like copper. The large Arabic script in the middle (with the 3 distinctive risers |||) appears on several of the coins in Nana's collection, and my educated guess is that it means 'Egypt'?

Top right, Macedonian tetradrachm? Alexander III on the 'heads' side, and the obverse features Zeus seated left, falcon in his outstretched left hand and scepter in right, feet on pedestal with right foot held back. The features I'm less sure on are the initials ΓΑ below his knees and what looks like a lamp under the throne. I found a page with pictures of many variations, but not this one.

Clockwise middle right, pedestal/altar with figures flanking, no idea what the obverse shows. I didn't realize it until I went into direct sunlight for the photo, but it might be gold.

Bottom right, bearded king facing left. Obverse is complicated pictogram with lots of lettering.

Bottom center, no clue. A few of Nana's coins were destroyed in one way or another. This one looks like it's oxidized or crudded up pretty bad, so only the most basic images are visible.

Bottom left, the only text I can make out is on the heads side, looks like DAMSAMIA?

I don't need to sell these and I'm not interested in their value (at this point =), just feeling excited to have these family things and enjoying some basic numismatics. Thanks!
posted by carsonb to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The large center coin with the 3 risers looks like an early 19th century Ottoman coin. You can see an extremely similar one here. There's only one small difference but you'd need someone who reads arabic to tell you what it means. Maybe its a year?
posted by Justinian at 5:08 PM on September 15, 2016

Actually the difference appears to be the denomination. The date looks like AH 1223 to me, which is 1808/1809. I'd go from there.
posted by Justinian at 5:18 PM on September 15, 2016

Best answer: The Arabic says, among other things, Constantinople (قنسطنطينية)
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:46 PM on September 15, 2016

Best answer: The big center coin is Turkish, that calligraphic script is the sultan's signature (my ex-husband has that tattooed on his shoulder). If you can match up the signature you can tell a little more about the coin. Looks like the top one on this page to me.
posted by jessamyn at 7:04 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bearded king coin is from Parthia I think. Look in the upper right on this page.
posted by jessamyn at 7:12 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Continuing with the Persian theme, the middle right pedestal one is Sasanian I think. Check the second one down on this page.
posted by jessamyn at 7:22 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The bottom-left coin is certainly from the Roman Empire after it had declined greatly. I don’t have much interest in coins that late so i can only point you to the general era — probably post-Constantine. For example, here’s one with the “same” reverse but might not be the same emperor (if i could make out the text on the obverse it would probably be easy to track down): Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.
posted by D.C. at 11:55 PM on September 15, 2016

Response by poster: In less than 8 hours I know more about my Nana's coin collection than she probably ever did. I ♥ the Internet!

Thank you!
posted by carsonb at 7:05 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

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