Distorted city ethnics


On some coins of Kelenderis and Nagidos, some letters of the city ethnic or the entire inscription are retrograde. More rarely, there are cases where the city ethnic is distorted or garbled. These phenomena do not occur on the Holmoi coins (with the exception of bronze Type 2.5b, where the abbreviated city ethnic is reversed) and on the two known specimens of the Anemourion coins. Coins uncertainly attributed to Aphrodisias are anepigraphic.

Tables 1 and 2 show an overview of types and variants of Kelenderis and Nagidos coins where these phenomena occur. Letters written retrograde are underlined. Note that this phenomenon does not only apply to ethnics, but also to monograms. For example, Nagidos staters of Type 1.2b have the ΣΙ monogram on the obverse reversed and retrograde (its correct form is visible on Type 1.1). However, monograms are not included in the overview below.

Denomination Type Form of ethnic Comment
Staters 2G.2a KEΛEN reversed and retrograde
3E.1f KENΛ garbled ethnic, the letter N retrograde
3E.3b KEΛEN reversed and retrograde
3I.2b KEΛE the second letter E retrograde
Third Staters 2A.4 KEΛ retrograde
Obols 2C.3a KE–Λ E retrograde
2C.3b KE–Δ Δ instead of Λ (unless Δ denotes the denomination)
3M.1d KE reversed and retrograde
3M.2c KE reversed and retrograde
3N.2a KE reversed and retrograde
Hemiobols 3M.3b KEΛ reversed and retrograde
3M.3c KEΛ reversed and retrograde
3M.3f KE–Δ retrograde and Δ instead of Λ (unless Δ denotes the denomination)

Table 1: Kelenderis

The retrograde letter N is also found on some Kelenderis coins from the late Hellenistic and Roman periods, for example:

pseudo-autonomous issue,
1st century BC (?):
Roma Numismatics Limited, E-Sale 113 (28 September 2023), Lot 310 (auction archive)
Note: This coin is probably a higher denomination of type SNG France 2, 119.
Antiochos IV of Commagene: Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger, Auction 352 (25 September 2019), Lot 2480 (acsearch.info URL)
Septimius Severus: Numismatik Naumann, Auction 107 (5 September 2021), Lot 1211 (acsearch.info URL)
Elagabalus: Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 489 (7 April 2021), Lot 281 (acsearch.info URL)
Gordian III: Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 328 (11 June 2014), Lot 314 (acsearch.info URL)
Herennia Etruscilla: Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung, Auction 204 (5 March 2012), Lot 1836 (acsearch.info URL)
Denomination Type Form of ethnic Comment
Staters 1.3a NAΓIΔ reversed and retrograde
1.3b NAΓIΔIKON the ending letter N retrograde on some specimens
2.5b NAΓIΔEΩ–N the ending letter N retrograde and placed vertically
3.3b NAΓIΔEΩN the ending letter N retrograde
3.6f NAΓIΔEΩN both letters N retrograde
3.10 NAΓIΔIIKON the second letter I doubled
Obols 4.1d NAΓIΔI reversed and retrograde
4.6a N the letter retrograde on some specimens
4.9a NAΓIΔ–IKON the ending letter N retrograde
4.11d N–A–Γ–I retrograde and anticlockwise
Bronze coins 5.1a N the letter N retrograde

Table 2: Nagidos

3 October 2023 – 24 October 2023