Comparison of denominations

Based on the catalogue of Kelenderis coins and their weight analyses, Kelenderis silver denominations can be divided into the following groups, which group together coin types with the same weight standard::

staters: Group 1: Types 1.1–3;
Group 2: Types 2.1–12;
Group 3A: Types 3.1–3 and 3.7–12;
Group 3B: Types 3.13–14;
Group 3C: Types 3.4–6 and 3.15–17;
third staters: Group 4A: Types 4.1–4;
Group 4B: Types 4.5–8;
obols: Group 5A: Types 5.1–8;
Group 5B: Types 5.9–12;
Group 5C: Types 5.13–14;
hemiobols: Group 6A: Types 6.1–2;
Group 6B: Types 6.3–6.

Table 1 shows the ratios of the average weights of individual groups of staters to the average weights of individual groups of lower denominations. All combinations are listed here for completeness, although, for example, the obols of Group 5C were certainly not minted at the same time as the staters of Group 1. Similarly, for example, third staters of Group 4A could not be minted at the same time as staters of Group 3C, because not only does their style not match, but also only 2.78 third staters would be minted on average from a metal weighing one stater (i.e. three third staters would weigh more than one stater and thus it would pay to accumulate third staters instead of staters). The last column indicates the theoretical weight ratio of staters to individual denominations according to the Persian weight standard, i.e. 1 stater = 3 third staters (tetrobols) = 12 obols = 24 hemiobols.

Denomination Groups of staters Denomination
1 2 3A 3B 3C
third staters 4A 3.02 3.02 3.00 2.94 2.79 3
4B 3.08 3.08 3.05 3.00 2.84
obols 5A 13.59 13.58 13.47 13.23 12.54 12
5B 15.03 15.03 14.90 14.64 13.87
5C 18.83 18.82 18.66 18.34 17.37
hemiobols 6A 28.55 28.54 28.29 27.80 26.34 24
6B 33.65 33.64 33.34 32.77 31.04

Table 1: Kelenderis, all mutual weight ratios

On the basis of the coin images and their style, and on the basis of the development of the weight standard, we can approximately assign the individual groups of lower denominations to the minting periods of the individual groups of staters, see Table 2.

Denomination Groups of staters
third staters 4A 1, 2
4B 2, 3A
obols 5A 1, 2, 3A
5B 3A, 3B
5C 3C
hemiobols 6A 1, 2, 3A
6B 3A, 3B

Table 2: Kelenderis, approximate time coincidence of lower denominations and staters

It should be emphasized that this is an approximate time mapping. For example, obols of Type 5.1 from Group 5A were undoubtedly minted at the same time as staters of Group 1, but the entire Group 5A is assigned to the period of staters of Groups 1, 2 and 3A. Besides, this mapping is preliminary and requires verification based on die links and a more detailed study of the style of individual coin types.

A comparison of the weight ratio of staters and lower denominations based on this approximate and preliminary mapping is shown in Table 3. Table 4 shows in percentages how much more lower denominations were minted than would correspond to the theoretical ratios.For example, the average weight of staters of Groups 1, 2, and 3A is 10.6890 g and the average weight of obols of Group 5A is 0.7899 g, so their ratio is 10.6890/0.7899 = 13.53. Thus, 13.53 obols were struck from the amount of metal corresponding to one stater instead of the theoretical number of 12 obols, i.e. 1.53 obols more, which corresponds to the seigniorage (the mint’s gross profit) of 1.53/12 = 12.8%.

Table 4 shows that the lower the denomination, the higher this mint margin was, and also that this margin increased over time. However, these are preliminary very rough estimates, and to refine them it is necessary to take into account the different relative weight loss of higher and lower denominations due to wear and corrosion. A more thorough analysis will be published later.

Denomination Groups of staters Denomination
1 2 3A 3B 3C
third staters 4A 3.02 3
4B 3.07
obols 5A 13.53 12
5B 14.88
5C 17.37
hemiobols 6A 28.43 24
6B 33.30

Table 3: Kelenderis, weight ratios of corresponding groups

Denomination Groups of staters
1 2 3A 3B 3C
third staters 4A 0.7%
4B 2.2%
obols 5A 12.8%
5B 24.0%
5C 44.8%
hemiobols 6A 18.5%
6B 38.8%

Table 4: Kelenderis, seigniorage

A similar comparison of staters and lower denominations can be made for coins of Holmoi’s Group 2, which includes staters, obols and hemiobols (see the catalogue of Holmoi coins). The corpus of Group 1 so far contains only one third stater and one obol, and therefore it does not make sense to include it in this analysis. Based on the weight analysis, the Holmoi staters of Group 2 are slightly heavier than the Kelenderis staters of Group 3C. The values given in Table 5 lie between the values of Kalenderis Groups 3B and 3C in Tables 3 and 4, which is a relatively satisfactory agreement.

Denomination Weight
Seigniorage Denomination
obols 15.34 27.9% 12
hemiobols 33.84 41.0% 24

Table 5: Holmoi, weight ratios and seigniorage of Group 2

1 August 2023 – 25 February 2024