Ancient lead weight for weighing silver in the Aegian standard. 5th to 4th century BC.

Ancient Coins - Ancient lead weight for weighing silver in the Aegian standard.  5th to 4th century BC.
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This lead weight appears to be for weighing 1/4 mina, equal to 25 silver silver drachms in the Aegian weight system of 630 grams to the mina.

Weight : 151.7 grams.  Full weight for an Aegian 1/4 mina weight would be 157.5 grams, with the missing 5.8 grams easily accounted for by a combination of wear and oxidation of the lead which has sinse been partly cleaned.

Size : rectangular 33.1 x 36.1 mm and 16.3 mm thick.  The thickness is based on 12.1 mm for the base, with an additional 4.2 mm of relief on the tortoise.

Design : That small indents around the edges and flat tail end are consistent with the depiction being a land tortoise rather than a sea turtle.

Age : The date on this weight can be narrowed down considerable by the use of the land tortoise, which first appears on the coinage of Aegina some time just after 456 BC and which disappears from the coinage ca. 340 BC when Aegina ceased striking silver coins.  While a date after 340 BC is not impossible, it is un-likely.

Attribution : The land tortoise appears as a main design only on the coinage of Aegina and some Roman Republican As grave, and is rarely seen as a secondary symbol of coins of only a few other places. As such, I believe the land tortoise main design combined with a weight consistent an Aegean 1/4 mina, leaves little doubt as to it meaning and use as a weight for weighing 1/4 mina or 25 silver drachms worth of silver in the Aegian system.

This does not mean it was made or used at Aegina, and could have been from anywhere silver needed to be weighed in that amount and standard.

Rarity : To the best of our knowledge this is a unique weight.  If anyone knows of another of this design, even if of a different size size or weight, we would appreciate hearing from them so we can update this listing to that information.

Value : It is very difficult to put a value on unique items such as this. Normal trade weights of this period, with much more generic design and which often cannot be attributed beyond being trade weights, sell between $100 and $500 depending on the type. But this is no ordinary trade weight, and we feel it is fiar to value it about the same as a reasonably nice Aeginan land tortoise stater on which this design is based (in spite them it being thousands of times rarer).

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE WHITE COATINGS ON LEAD WEIGHTS ARE LEAD OXIDE, WHICH IS VERY TOXIC IF INGESTED.  THESE MUST BE HANDLED WITH CARE, AND ONE SHOULD NEVER LET CHILDREN HANDLE THEM (THIS IS TRUE FOR ANY ANCIENT OR MEDIEVAL LEAD OBJECT).


Price SKU: vcoin4915
US$ 1,250.00
  • € 1,022.08
  • £ 908.22
  • AUD 1,571.85
  • CHF 1,205.54
  • CAD 1,552.94

Rates for: 01/16/18

Ships from: Canada
Item sold