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Coste演i-G褳la - Tatar coins from Moldavia
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rough diameter 14-17 mm, ~0.8 g, AE
Obverse tamga and pseudo-inscription - maybe Arabic letter س (sin) or maybe ع (ayn) rotated, outer linear circle

Reverse corrupted inscription (pseudo-inscription) written on two rows, outer linear circle

About the Village of Coste演i

Coste演i is a village in the Ialoveni raion of Republic of Moldova [former jude of L綯u槃a], mentioned for the first time in a document from 1573, during the rule of John Voivod the Frightful. The village of G褳la, nowadays a part of Coste演i village, was mentioned for the first time in 1724. In 1959 13 unusual coins, of two types, were discovered here. Published in 1969, these coins were later referred as Coste演i-G褳la coins, or Coste演i coins only.

About Coste演i-G褳la Coins

The Coste演i-G褳la coins were classified into two main types, one with tamga (the tamga is quite resembling the tamga used on the Tatar coins struck by the khans of Crimea) and with pseudo-inscription, and one with corrupted inscriptions on both faces (rarer and considered to be of double weight). Type I pieces are thin, sometimes having polygonal shape, were struck on copper sheet, and weigh about 0.8 grams [3]. It is likely that the unknown issuer intended to strike coins weighing one danik (or dannik). One danik is one sixth of a miskal (dirham, dirhem), and the dirhem has about 70 grains. One grain has 0.0647989 g, so the mass of a danik was about 0.78 g [1]. The heavier pieces, of type II, of about 1.57 g [3], could be 2 daniks of copper. After [2], all Coste演i-G褳la pieces represented copper puls - the regular Tatar copper coin.

The tamga is an emblem used by Huns, Mongols, Turkic peoples etc.). The tamga appearing on the Tatar coins struck in Crimea is the stylized representation of the trident of Hadji I Giray, founder of the Crimean Khanate and descendant of Genghis Khan. The tamga used on Coste演i-G褳la coins is like an triskelion, but one arm is not bent. The triskelion is a motif comprising three human legs bent from knee (otherwise, it means three legs in Greek), or three spirals. Taking into account the formal aspect of the inscriptions, the straight arm is - by convention - directed to the top of the coin [2], [3].

Such coins were also unearthed at Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei), at Cetatea Alb (White Fortress) and at Hansca (not far from Coste演i). The coins are not like the usual coins of the Golden Horde, so they are not medieval fakes. Today it is accepted that the Coste演i-G褳la coins are local issues struck by a local Tatar ruler in the style of Golden Horde coins. These coins were struck in the 14th century, very likely between 1359 and 1363; the mint itself could have been at Coste演i or maybe at Cetatea Alb. These are the oldest medieval coins struck on Moldavian territory.

The Coste演i-G褳la coin are full of mistery, and they are still very little (and very incomplete incomplet) known today.


1. Fedorov-Dav蟂ov G., The Monetary System of The Golden Horde., accessed on February 2012.

2. Khromov K., The Successors of Chingiz Khan and their Coins., accessed on February 2012 (August 2015, dead link).

3. Nicolae E., Monedele de tip Coste演i-G漷la. (Coins of Coste演i-G漷la Type) Simpozion de numismatic dedicat centenarului Societ裻ii Numismatice Rom滱e, Chi槐n綦, noiembrie 2003. Comunic綖i, studii 槐 note. Ed. Enciclopedic, Bucure演i, 2005, p. 89 ... 104

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