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Old Jun 15, 2010, 09:10 PM   #1
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Tyrian Shekel question

I am curious about one particular aspect of Tyrian shekels, for which
I have not yet seen an explanation (if, in fact, there is one).

I refer to the typical "30 pieces of silver" type shekel with Melqart
on the obverse and the eagle on a prow reverse. There is a club, a
date, sometimes the letters KP, all of which I am fairly familiar with,
but what I want to know about is the right field monogram that is
on most, if not all issues (sometimes just a single letter).

Many of these monograms can be reasonably disarticulated, and
rendered into their component parts. But to what or to whom do
they refer? Are they an abbreviation of a name, a title, and official
or something else?

Here are two examples from CNG:
CNG E216/201

(the monogram here, in right field, appears to be a form of DYO[N?]-)
CNG E215/259

(the monogram here, in right field, appears to be a form of HPA-)
(both of the above could be the starting letters of names - others
appear less clear)

If anyone has Rouvier (JIAN 1903) perhaps they can work out if he
had an explanation back then. Or Baldus, Meshorer or anyone else
since (sorry, my literature on this subject is lacking). I am grateful
to anyone able to offer anything on this specific matter.

I hope this is not too much of an "obvious" question, but I figure
that I am not the only one wanting to know. Is it the case with most
of these monograms, that we can work out what letters are present,
but what they mean eludes us all these years later. I would guess
that they are magistrate's names, based only on what is apparent,
but would like to hear other thoughts and opinions, if possible.

Thanks in advance,

Walter Holt
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 09:49 AM   #2
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Tyrian monograms

I do not think there is any specific evidence to tell us what those monograms mean. Typically such monograms on Greek coinage seem to be magistrates' names, of course, and that may well be the case here. On the Indo-Greek coinages, the monograms seem to be mint names, but that cannot be the case here. If one knows the Greek name, untangling the monogram is easy, but in the absence of the name, there are often a number of possible interpretations of a monogram. In short, I am as puzzled as you are.
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Old Jun 17, 2010, 01:43 AM   #3
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Exclamation Me too

Hi, I was also puzzled in the same way by the monograms on coins of Calabria. I too was informed that they were marks of mint officials and issuing magistrates.

In searching the "net" I discovered a Treasure Trove of information at the following web site :

I am unsure as to whether this will answer Walter's question to his satisfaction but it certainly goes a long way to "filling in the gaps!".

Regards, John.

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Old Jun 19, 2010, 05:02 PM   #4
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Some of the information from Head is good, some isn't. Problem is, it's old information, a hundred years old (the second and last edition of Historia Numorum was published in 1911), with much of the information superseded by information revealed by hoard/findspot studies and die studies over the past ten decades. The other problem is, unless you're a specialist in a particular area, you're generally not going to know whether any given datum in Head is obsolete or not.

Still, Head was a great numismatist in his day, not only writing Historia Numorum: A Manual of Greek Numismatics, perhaps the single greatest book on ancient Greek coins ever written, but also several volumes of BMC (A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum) and a number of other books as well.
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