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AE unit of King Wazena of Axum (Aksum)  
 

 
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 Posted 02/12/2018  9:37 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
As I look to expand my collection of coins from the early Middle and Dark Ages, I have found it necessary to cast a pretty broad net. Fortunately, with threads like these:

http://goccf.com/t/254531
http://goccf.com/t/7552
http://goccf.com/t/141660

I was inspired to chase down a coin from the ancient Ethiopian kingdom of Axum. At first, I started biding on an AU unit, but was pretty quickly bid over my maximum. Then I noticed that there were several available on vcoins if I was just looking to check this box on my OFEC list, but then this particular coin caught my eye at auction due to the reasonably clear devices and the seemingly original gold inlay on the rev.

This AE unit was minted under the authority of King Wazena and tentatively dates to between 525 and 550 AD. The obv inscription translates from Ge-ez to "King WZN", while the rev inscription translates from Ge-ez to "He who is fitting for the people". I have it attributed as Munroe-Hay 119 and BMC Aksum 415.


"It certainly strikes the beholder with astonishment, to perceive what vast difficulties can be overcome by the pigmy arms of little mortal man, aided by science and directed by superior skill." --Henry Tudor (the lawyer not the king)
Edited by Spence
02/12/2018 9:40 pm
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 Posted 02/12/2018  9:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nicely done, Dave. I've liked the coins of Axum for a long time...Noob/Nate is probably responsible for that. Yours is an attractive example. I admired it in the Album auction.
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 Posted 02/12/2018  9:55 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is a very interesting series which I have been wanting to explore also, but the coins tend to be very expensive which has stopped me. Nate has offered to sell me his gold coin, but it's too rich for my blood.

Congrats on getting a nice coin.
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 Posted 02/13/2018  05:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks guys. You are right that this is all @ancientnoob's fault; maybe he should sell Ron his coin at a discount for the damage that he has done.
"It certainly strikes the beholder with astonishment, to perceive what vast difficulties can be overcome by the pigmy arms of little mortal man, aided by science and directed by superior skill." --Henry Tudor (the lawyer not the king)
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 Posted 02/13/2018  09:09 am  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That would be nice.
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 Posted 02/13/2018  11:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Superb example! I've passively looked at Axumite coinage since seeing Nate's posts, but those are expensive little coins. The gold inlays has always been a point of fascination for me, hover... I wonder how that was expected to impact the value?

I also like the Ge'ez script on this one! I knew they sacked Himyar around 550, but I didn't expect them to ditch Greek so soon after!
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 Posted 02/13/2018  2:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the positive comments Steve. Some Axumite coins (like @sap's) include inscriptions in both Ge-ez and Greek.


Quote:
The gold inlays has always been a point of fascination for me, however... I wonder how that was expected to impact the value?


The only information that I have found about the little spot of gold in the cross is this (quoted directly from @quant-geek at numista.com):

#8203;
Quote:
There have been a lot of study on the Axumite gilding process and why they gilded their coins. There are varying theories, but nothing concrete. As the number of gold coins decreased, some speculate that it was to increase the value of the copper and silver coins by gilding important religious icons on the coin. This also was extended to the crown of the King. Others speculate that it was purely decorative as several religious items have been found that was gilded.


Finally, in researching the answer to your question, I stumbled upon another Axumite coin previously posted on CCF:

http://goccf.com/t/72925

Sorry about the previous omission @jeff11!
"It certainly strikes the beholder with astonishment, to perceive what vast difficulties can be overcome by the pigmy arms of little mortal man, aided by science and directed by superior skill." --Henry Tudor (the lawyer not the king)
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 Posted 02/13/2018  6:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice coin Spence...Didn't know anything about these coins!

Thanks for enlightening me..I really like the obverse style..

What's the description?

Congrats and thanks for sharing..

Paul
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 Posted 02/13/2018  9:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Paul, ok yes sorry that I didn't provide that detail. According to Wildwinds, the obv design element is a portrait of King Wazena:


Quote:
draped bust right in headcloth, holding grain ear
"It certainly strikes the beholder with astonishment, to perceive what vast difficulties can be overcome by the pigmy arms of little mortal man, aided by science and directed by superior skill." --Henry Tudor (the lawyer not the king)
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