North Africa. Zeugitania, Carthage.
Stater, c. 310 - 290 BC. (Electrum, 7.53g., 19.1mm). Head of Tanit to left, wearing grain wreath, triple pendant earring and necklace with nine oblong pendants / Horse standing right on exergual line. Jenkins & Lewis IVd, 231.
By the late 4th century the gold supply to Carthage seems to have dropped off, leading to serious shortages; in addition expenses became ever higher. As a result, the mint resorted to debasing the gold coinage. Coins began to be issued that had an ever lower gold content, ranging from the rather good electrum of this type (c. 75% gold) down to very low grade issues in the mid 3rd century. Curiously enough, while some issues were poor electrum, others were nearly as fine as the original 4th century issues; thus we can be sure that the coins were intended to be used by different groups of people or in different areas.
Grading/Status: A very attractive, beautifully toned and well struck example.
Acquired privately from Numismatica Genevensis SA in March 2009.