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“White Gold” Conference Talks on the Origin of Electrum Coinage

Summary:
Some of the evidence I reviewed in this post on the origin of electrum coinage was from a conference called “White Gold: Revealing the World’s Earliest Coins,” held from 25–26th June, 2012 (International Congress at Israel Museum, Jerusalem).The edited proceedings of this conference will be published as White Gold: Studies in Early Electrum Coinage (edited by Peter Van Alfen and Ute Wartenberg), but the talks are available in these videos:(1) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 1:June 25: Session 1 Catharine Lorber and Haim Gitler, “Opening Remarks.” Michael Kerschner and Koray Konuk, “The Chronology of the Electrum Coins Found in the Artemision of Ephesus: The Contribution of the Archaeological Find Context.” Jack Kroll, “On the Ephesus Inscription.”

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Some of the evidence I reviewed in this post on the origin of electrum coinage was from a conference called “White Gold: Revealing the World’s Earliest Coins,” held from 25–26th June, 2012 (International Congress at Israel Museum, Jerusalem).

The edited proceedings of this conference will be published as White Gold: Studies in Early Electrum Coinage (edited by Peter Van Alfen and Ute Wartenberg), but the talks are available in these videos:

(1) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 1:
June 25: Session 1
Catharine Lorber and Haim Gitler, “Opening Remarks.”
Michael Kerschner and Koray Konuk, “The Chronology of the Electrum Coins Found in the Artemision of Ephesus: The Contribution of the Archaeological Find Context.”
Jack Kroll, “On the Ephesus Inscription.”
Bob Wallace, “Revisiting the Dates of Croesus.”

(2) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 2
June 25: Session 2
Bernhard Weisser, “An Electrum Hecte from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite outside the Gates of Miletus and the Striated Coins.”
Koray Konuk, “An Electrum Croeseid.”

June 25: Session 3
Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, “Some Thoughts about the Internal Spread of the Early Electrum Standards: Local Rather than Chronological Patterns?”
Jack Kroll, “Don’t forget the Dynastai.”
Peter van Alfen, “Public Benefactor or Profiteer? The Role of ‘the State’ and Early Electrum Coinage.”

(3) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 3
June 25: Session 4
Frédérique Duyrat and Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, “Proton Activation Analysis of Electrum Coins in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.”
Nick Cahill and Jill Hari, “Preliminary Analysis of Electrum Coins and natural Gold from Sardis.”

June 26: Session 1
Ute Wartenberg Kagan, “Was there an Ionian Revolt Coinage? Hoard Evidence for Electrum Coins after the Introduction of Bimetallism.”

(4) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 4
June 26: Session 1
Mariusz Mielczarek, “Cyzicene Electrum Coinage and the Black Sea Grain Trade.”
François de Callataÿ, “Iconography of Cyzicene Electrum Coinage (with Quantitative Study).”

June 26: Session 2
Katerini Liampi, “Thraco-Macedonian Electrum Coinage.”
Ken Sheedy, “Electrum Inscriptions and Literary Sources.”
Selene Psoma, “The Electrum Coinage of Athens.”

(5) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 5
June 26: Session 3
Alain Bresson, “Metrology of Silver Ingots in the Levant and Silver Coins in Western Asia Minor: Economic implications, Implications for Price of Electrum Coins.”
François Velde, “Electrum Coinage in the Light of Monetary Economic Theory.”

A number of these talks are highly relevant to whether the Lydian kings and Greek city-states were the first to coin money, as follows:
Michael Kerschner and Koray Konuk, “The Chronology of the Electrum Coins Found in the Artemision of Ephesus: The Contribution of the Archaeological Find Context.”
Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, “Some Thoughts about the Internal Spread of the Early Electrum Standards: Local Rather than Chronological Patterns?”
Jack Kroll, “Don’t forget the Dynastai.”
Peter van Alfen, “Public Benefactor or Profiteer? The Role of ‘the State’ and Early Electrum Coinage.”
Frédérique Duyrat and Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, “Proton Activation Analysis of Electrum Coins in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.”
Nick Cahill and Jill Hari, “Preliminary Analysis of Electrum Coins and natural Gold from Sardis.”
François Velde, “Electrum Coinage in the Light of Monetary Economic Theory.”
In particular, Jack Kroll in his talk “Don’t forget the Dynastai” points out that some early electrum coins might have been struck by early Lydian dynasts (or local rulers below the king who functioned as quasi-governmental great landowners), but in this case such dynasts were far more like local rulers, and they were not private merchants, bankers, or goldsmiths. And, even if this suggestion is true, it does not follow that the private sector invented electrum coinage either, as the local dynasts in question would have been quasi-governmental agents.

In the talk “Public Benefactor or Profiteer? The Role of ‘the State’ and Early Electrum Coinage,” Peter van Alfen seems to distance himself from the idea that bankers and merchants minted coins, but instead prefers wealthy elites, like large landowners. But this view is very much like Kroll’s, as stated above, and implies that these elites were more like local rulers and dynasts than private agents in the conventional sense.

The full list of my posts on this subject is here:

“Larry White on the Origins of Coined Money: A Critique,” August 26, 2017.

“Reply to Selgin on the Origin of Electrum Coinage, Part 1,” September 3, 2017

“The Majority View in Modern Scholarship on the Origin of Electrum Coinage: An Update,” September 4, 2017.

“Reply to Selgin on the Origin of Electrum Coinage, Part 2,” September 5, 2017.





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