DescriptionSYRIA. Antioch. Ca. 2nd-1st Century BC. PB square 1-mina weight (93mm X 87mm, 492 gm). Square plaque, with decorated inner border, linear border within enclosing an elephant walking left; above, ANTIOXEIAΣ, below, M-N-A. Cf. C. Daremberg - E. Saglio L Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, III.2, Paris, 1904, p. 1910 (similar square 1 mina weight with elephant). Beige "lead patina" overall, some compression of edges and "dent" along lower rim, otherwise Very Fine.
Ex Gorny & Mosch Sale 173 (30 September 2008), lot 464 (part of).
The mina is one of the oldest weight measurements on record, dating back to ancient Sumeria. In the pre-coinage era, it was a unit of currency equivalent to 50-60 shekels (likewise a unit of weight) of silver. After coinage was introduced, the mina continued in use as a fixed measurement for a certain number of coins. The Greek mina was 100 drachms. This lead weight, clearly marked as a mina, was employed in Antioch, Syria, probably by the Seleucid government of the first century BC. At 492 grams, it would seem to weigh about 10-20% more than 100 Attic Greek drachms, which averaged 4.3 grams each, indicating that the silver coinage was perhaps deliberately undervalued versus the theoretical ideal. The elephant is both a symbol of the Seleucid Kingdom and, apparently, for the mina as a weight.
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