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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Numismatics ▸ Archaic OriginsView Options:  |  |  |   

Archaic Origins

The coins below are among the first struck by mankind. Coins struck in the later classical and Hellenistic periods, but in archaic or archaized style are also included here. Click here to read "From the Origin of Coins to Croesus."


Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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As reported by B.V. Head in Chapter 5 of Excavations at Ephesus: The Archaic Artemisia, a coin of this type was one of five coins found in excavations underneath the foundations of the southern wall of the B cella of the Artemisia at Ephesus. The other four coins were lion head and lion paw types. Head wrote these coins must have been deposited during construction of the First Temple (A). Weidauer 145 is the coin found at the Artemisia (= Head Artemisia 79), now at the Arkeoloji Müzesi, Istanbul. The Weidauer coins appear to be struck with the same obverse die.
SH84450. Electrum 1/24 stater, Milesian standard; Weidauer 145 - 146; Head Artemisia p. 86 and pl. 2, 79; cf. SNGvA 1781 (different style); Rosen 287 (same); SNG Kayhan 717 (same), gVF, centered, edge cracks, some die rust (also found on other examples of this type), weight 0.579 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse bridled head and neck of Pegasos left, with top edge of wing visible; reverse four raised squares in a cross pattern within incuse square punch; very rare; $1800.00 (€1602.00)
 


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Rough Irregular "Typeless" Type

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Some sales catalogs describe similar coins as the striated type. The roughly parallel lines on the striated type appear to be impressed into the "obverse" by lines cut into the anvil. On this coin, it appears the rough irregular "typeless" surface is simply flattened rough pre-strike features from the raw irregular nugget-like "planchet." Based on the apparent wear on the reverse punch, huge numbers of this type may have been struck. Very few have survived. This is the first example handled by Forum.
SH77378. Electrum 1/24 stater, cf. SNGvA 7768, SNG Kayhan 682, Traité I 14 -15, Weidauer -, Rosen -, VF, weight 0.647 g, maximum diameter 5.7 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse flattened rough irregular "typeless" surface; reverse roughly square incuse pyramidal punch with striated sides, divided roughly in half by a raised irregular line, striated sides and the irregular line appear to be the result of wear; very rare; $1080.00 (€961.20)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Cyrus - Darios I, c. 546 - 520 B.C., Kroiseid Type

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The Lydian King Croesus minted the first silver and gold coins. He was famous for his extraordinary wealth, but after his defeat by Cyrus about 546 B.C. Lydia became a Persian satrapy. The Persian conquerors of Lydia continued to strike the same Croesus' coin types. This coin is a later example issued under Persia. We can tell because under Croesus the lion and the bull were struck separately, with one punch at a time. Later examples, such as this coin, were struck with only one obverse die engraved with both animals, and only one reverse die, simulating two square punches.
GS84246. Silver siglos (half-stater), SNG Cop 456; SNGvA 2877; SNG Kayhan 1025; BMC Lydia p. 7, 45; Traité I 409; SGCV II 3424, gVF, light bumps and marks, tiny edge crack, weight 5.303 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 546 - 520 B.C.; obverse on the left, forepart of a roaring lion right, confronting, on the right, the forepart of a bull left, struck with a single die; reverse two incuse squares, of unequal size, side by side; $580.00 (€516.20)
 


Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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The referenced coins are not very similar. It might be more appropriate to describe this coin as unpublished but perhaps the pattern is purely random and it is from the same mint and issue as the Kayhan or Von Aulock coin.
SH76827. Electrum 1/24 stater, cf. SNG Kayhan 688, SNGvA 7768, (neither very similar), Weidauer -, Rosen -, Traité I -, Mitchiner ATEC -, Zhuyuetang -, VF, weight 0.710 g, maximum diameter 6.8 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse random(?) pattern of shapes and pellets; reverse a roughly square incuse punch with a central pellet surrounded by a random(?) pattern of curved lines; $570.00 (€507.30)
 


Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 230 B.C.

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In 230 B.C., Rome sent envoys to the Illyrian Queen Teuta to obtain her aid in ending attacks and murders of Roman merchants by Illyrian pirates. After the Roman ambassador Lucius Coruncanius and the Issaean ambassador Cleemporus offended Queen Teuta, the were murdered at sea by her soldiers. In response, Roman forces occupied the island of Corcyra with the aim of humbling Teuta.
SH77477. Aes grave (cast) triens, Libral standard; Vecchi ICC 68; HN Italy 328; Crawford 24/5; Thurlow-Vecchi 33; Haeberlin pp. 60-61, 1-76 pl. 25, 8-11, gF, nice green patina, pitting, marks, weight 58.717 g, maximum diameter 40.2 mm, Rome mint, c. 230 B.C.; obverse horse prancing left, two pellets above and two pellets bellow (mark of value); reverse wheel of six spokes, four pellets (mark of value) between spokes; From the Andrew McCabe Collection; very rare; $480.00 (€427.20)
 


Akragas, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.

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Located on a plateau overlooking Sicily's southern coast, Akragas was founded c. 582 B.C. by colonists from Gela. It grew rapidly, becoming second only to Syracuse in importance on Sicily but was sacked by Carthage in 406 B.C. and never fully recovered. It was renamed Agrigentum after it fell to Rome in 210 B.C.
GI76829. Cast bronze trias, Calciati I, p. 143, 1; Westermark Fifth pl. I, 1; SNG Cop 61; SNG ANS 1015; SNG Lloyd 832; HGC 2 126 (R1);, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, some light corrosion, weight 16.186 g, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; cast near tooth-shaped flattened cone form, four pellets on flat top, sea-eagle standing left on one side, crab opposite; rare; $360.00 (€320.40)
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 490 - 450 B.C.

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Aspendos is about 40 km east of Antalya, Turkey about 16 km inland on the Eurymedon River. In 546 B.C. it fell to Persia. After a Persian defeat in 467, the city joined the Attic-Delos Maritime League. Persia took it again in 411 B.C., Alexander in 333 B.C., and Rome in 190 B.C. Although often subject to powerful empires, the city usually retained substantial autonomy.
GA84056. Silver obol, Rosen 392, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG PfPS -, SNG Kayhan -, BMC Lycia -, Klein -, VF, well centered, etched surfaces, obverse die crack, weight 0.626 g, maximum diameter 8.3 mm, Aspendos mint, c. 490 - 450 B.C.; obverse triskeles right, three pellets, one between each leg, reverse quadripartite incuse; extremely rare; $310.00 (€275.90)
 


Selinous, Sicily, c. 450 - 440 B.C.

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Selinous was once one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians attacked with a vast army believed to include at least 100,000 men. Selinus, with a population of about 30,000 excluding slaves, was unprepared and an auxiliary force promised by Syracuse, Agrigentum and Gela did not arrive. The Selinuntines defended themselves with courage, and after the walls were breached, continued to fight from house to house. After tens days the city fell. Of the citizens, 16,000 were slain and 5,000 made prisoners, but more than 2,600 escaped to Agrigento.
GI79939. Bronze cast tetras, Calciati I p. 235, 4; SNG Lloyd 1272; HGC 2 1233 (R1); BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Morcom -; SNG Tübingen -, F, green patina, weight 11.019 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), anepigraphic; reverse wild celery (selinon) leaf, three pellets (mark of value) around, anepigraphic; rare; $280.00 (€249.20)
 


Phaselis, Lycia, 500 - 466 B.C.

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Partial brockage obverse. The obverse was re-struck off-center over a brockage of the reverse, leaving two clear impressions.
GA83588. Silver tetrobol, SNGvA 4396, SNG Berry 1200 var. (ΦA above galley, Σ below), SNG Cop -, SNG Fitzwilliam -, VF, toned, tight flan, die wear, die cracks, partial brockage, weight 3.507 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 90o, Phaselis mint, 500 - 440 B.C.; obverse prow of war galley right in the form of a boar's forepart, partial brockage with incuse letters ΦA visible on obverse; reverse stern right, ΦAΣ above, all in incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 21 (31 Oct 2015), 368; $260.00 (€231.40)
 


Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, c. Mid 5th Century B.C.

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Monkeys were kept as pets in antiquity. We know of only two ancient coin types depicting monkeys. One is this very rare type, with the monkey squatting either left or right. The other is an electrum hemihekte from Kyzikos, Mysia with fewer than five known specimens.
CE84168. Silver tetartemorion, Tzamalis 67 var. (monkey left); cf, Svoronos HPM pl. 7, 13 (different reverse, damaged die?), aEF, very tiny coin, obverse a little off center, porous, weight 0.209 g, maximum diameter 6.3 mm, uncertain mint, c. mid 5th century B.C.; obverse monkey squatting right; reverse round shield within incuse square; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 39 (3 Jan 2016), lot 47; very rare; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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CE84537. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, VF, weight 35.647 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, uncertain Osco-Latin mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Iberian Celts, Hacksilver, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

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CE84091. Hacksilver fragment, cut, perhaps from a disk ingot; cf. Kim and Kroll 59; Van Alfen Hacksilber 53 ff.; 22.997g, 18.3mm, $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Iberian Celts, Hacksilver, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

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CE84154. hacksilver fragment, cut, cf. Kim and Kroll 59; Van Alfen Hacksilber 53 ff.; 11.912g, 20.2mm, c. 300 - 150 B.C.; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Selinous, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.

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Selinus was once one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians attacked with a vast army believed to include at least 100,000 men. Selinus, with a population of about 30,000 excluding slaves, was unprepared and an auxiliary force promised by Syracuse, Agrigentum and Gela did not arrive. The Selinuntines defended themselves with courage, and after the walls were breached, continued to fight from house to house. After tens days the city fell. Of the citizens, 16,000 were slain and 5,000 made prisoners, but more than 2,600 escaped to Agrigento.
GI83626. Cast bronze cast trias, Calciati I p. 233, 2; SNG Morcom 666; HGC 2 1231 (R1); BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Tübingen -, aF, green patina, weight 14.308 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); with teeth displayed, four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; reverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), with protruding tongue; four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; ex CNG e-auction 285 (22 Aug 2012), lot 14; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; rare; $185.00 (€164.65)
 


Lesbos, 550 - 440 B.C.

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Apotropaic magic is a ritual observance that is intended to turn away evil. Curiously, eyes were often used to ward off the "evil eye".
GA71546. Billon 1/48th stater, BMC Troas, p. 152, 27; SNG Cop 292; SNGvA 7716; SNG München 650; Rosen 548; HGC 6 1074 (R1), VF, weight 0.207 g, maximum diameter 5.8 mm, Lesbos mint, 550 - 440 B.C.; obverse two apotropaic eyes (or two barley kernels); reverse quadripartite incuse square; rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Kebren, Troas, 5th Century B.C.

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Kebren (or Cebren, or Cebrene) was in the middle Skamander valley in the Troad region of Anatolia. Its remains have been located in the forested foothills of Mount Ida (modern Kaz Dagi), approximately 7 km to the south of the Skamander. Archaeological remains suggest that in the mid-7th and early 6th century B.C. Kebren as a mixed Greco-Anatolian community. Writing in the early 4th century B.C., Xenophon implies that the population of Kebren was still both Greek and Anatolian. In the 5th century B.C., Kebren was a member of the Delian League and is listed in the Hellespontine district paying tribute to Athens. Following the defeat of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C., Kebren came under the control of Zenis, the tyrant of Dardanus, and his wife Mania who together controlled the Troad on behalf of the Persian satrap Pharnabazos. Kebren was captured by the Spartan commander Dercylidas in 399 B.C., but soon after returned to Persian control. In 360 to 359, the Greek mercenary commander Charidemus briefly captured the city before being repelled by the Persian satrap Artabazos. At some point in the 4th century B.C. Kebren produced coinage depicting a satrap's head as the obverse type, indicating the city's close relationship with its Persian overlords. Kebren ceased to exist as an independent city about 310 B.C., when Antigonus I Monophthalmus founded Antigonia Troas (after 301 B.C. renamed Alexandria Troas) and included Kebren in the synoecism.
GA76288. Silver obol, Klein 312, SNG Kayhan 1051 - 1052 (Lykia?), SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Troas -, aEF, toned, grainy etched surfaces, weight 0.570 g, maximum diameter 7.3 mm, Kebren mint, 5th Century B.C.; obverse head of ram left; reverse irregularly divided incuse square; rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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GA77417. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, weight 13.925 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, uncertain Osco-Latin mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Eion, Macedonia, c. 470 - 460 B.C.

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Published examples of this type are about twice the weight of this coin and identified as diobols and trihemiobols. Our coin might be an underweight diobol or trihemiobol, but the weight is closer to an obol.

Eion was only about 3 miles from Amphipolis and after the 5th century was merely a seaport of its large neighbor. The denomination is either a diobol or trihemiobol. The significance of the obverse type is not clear, but presumably makes reference to the characteristic fauna of the region at that time.
GA79647. Silver obol, cf. SNG ANS 275; McClean 3084; BMC Macedonia p. 75, 21; AMNG III/2, p. 140, 37 (diobols and trihemiobols), VF, etched surfaces, weight 0.664 g, maximum diameter 10.4 mm, Eion mint, c. 470 - 460 B.C.; obverse goose standing right, on decorated base, left leg raised, head turned back, lizard left above, Θ lower left; reverse rough mill sail incuse pattern; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Lesbos, c. 550 - 440 B.C.

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In 570 B.C., Lesbos took part in the founding of Naucrate, the Greek Colony in Egypt. This coin, depicting an African, and others with Egyptian related types, likely boast of Lesbos' role at Naucrate.
GA84173. Billon 1/12 stater, SNG Cop 296; SNGvA 7715; BMC Troas p. 153, 42 - 44; SNG München -, VF, dark toning, weight 0.473 g, maximum diameter 7.4 mm, uncertain Koinon of Lesbos mint, c. 550 - 440 B.C.; obverse head of a Nubian right; reverse rough incuse square punch; rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Himera, Sicily, c. 472-413 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GA76588. Silver obol, cf. SNG Cop 312; SNG München 355; SNG Lloyd 1027; BMC Sicily p. 81, 47; SNG ANS -; Klein -, VF, obverse off-center, reverse legend weak, uneven toning, a little rough, weight 0.586 g, maximum diameter 10.6 mm, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 472-413 B.C.; obverse bearded male (Kronos?) head right, wearing fillet (hair band); reverse HIMEPA (or similar), Corinthian helmet right, no crest, within shallow incuse; rare; $155.00 (€137.95)
 


Eion, Macedonia, c. 500 - 437 B.C.

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Eion was only about three miles from Amphipolis and from the late 5th century onwards served merely as a seaport of its much larger neighbor. The denomination is variously described as a diobol or trihemiobol. The significance of the obverse type is not clear, but presumably makes reference to the characteristic fauna of the region at that time.
GA77599. Silver trihemiobol, SNG ANS 280 - 283, SNG Cop 180 corr., SNG Berry 29, Klein 151, BMC Macedonia p. 75, 21, aVF, well centered, light toning, edge split, porous, weight 0.661 g, maximum diameter 11.5 mm, Eion mint, c. 500 - 437 B.C.; obverse goose standing right, looking back, lizard above; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $155.00 (€137.95)
 


Kalchedon, Bithynia, 387 - 340 B.C.

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The position of Chalcedon, on the eastern shore of the Bosporus, was not as favorable as that of Byzantion on the opposite side. The Persian Megabazus (Herod. iv. 144) said the founders of Chalcedon must have been blind, for Chalcedon was settled seventeen years before Byzantium; and the settlers, we must suppose, had the choice of the two places.
GS75212. Silver drachm, SNG BM Black Sea 104; SNG Cop 352; Rec Gén p. 292, 13; Klein 241; Türkoglu S02aD; HGC 7 511 (S), VF, tight flan, scratches, weight 3.796 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, Kalchedon mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse KAΛX, bull standing left on grain ear left, kerykeion and ∆ over A monogram before legs; reverse quadripartite incuse square with stippled surface; scarce; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Kalchedon, Bithynia, 387 - 340 B.C.

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The position of Chalcedon, on the eastern shore of the Bosporus, was not as favorable as that of Byzantion on the opposite side. The Persian Megabazus (Herod. iv. 144) said the founders of Chalcedon must have been blind, for Chalcedon was settled seventeen years before Byzantium; and the settlers, we must suppose, had the choice of the two places.
GS75222. Silver drachm, SNG BM Black Sea 104; SNG Cop 352; Rec Gén p. 292, 13; Klein 241; Türkoglu S02aD; HGC 7 511 (S), VF, toned, tight flan cutting off part of bull's head, weight 3.745 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, Kalchedon mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse KAΛX, bull standing left on grain ear, kerykeion and ∆ over A monogram before legs; reverse quadripartite incuse square with stippled surface; scarce; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Lesbos, 550 - 480 B.C.

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Apotropaic magic is a ritual observance that is intended to turn away evil. Curiously, eyes were often used to ward off the "evil eye."
GA83596. Billon 1/48 stater, SNG Cop 287; SNG München 650; SNGvA 7716; BMC Troas, p. 152, 27; Traité 2/1; Rosen 548; HGC 6 1074 (R1), VF, weight 0.29 g, maximum diameter 5.9 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Koinon of Lesbos mint, 550 - 480 B.C.; obverse two apotropaic eyes; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 21 (31 Oct 2015), lot 287; rare; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 B.C.

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Although this obol with the head right is unpublished in references we know of six examples sold at auction in the past decade. Examples with the head right are approximately 0.8 grams (obols), not the approximately 1.3 grams (hemihekte) normal for the type with the head left.
GA71653. Silver obol, Unpublished in references; cf. Klein 454 (head left), VF, some encrustation, corrosion, weight 0.796 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse head of nymph right, wearing sakkos and earring; reverse quadripartite incuse square; very rare; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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GA77419. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, VF, edge chip, crack, weight 22.873 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, uncertain Osco-Latin mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Persian Empire, Judaea (Yehudah), 375 - 333 B.C.

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Minted in Judaea while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. Click here to see a map of the Persian Empire about 500 B.C.
JD59398. Silver obol, Meshorer TJC 5, Hendin 1051, aF, weight 0.487 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse oriental style head of Athena; reverse Aramaic inscription, owl standing left, head facing, olive spray right; rare; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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These small cast bronze scallop shells were used as money in central Italy.
RR77298. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, VF, weight 9.782 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 B.C.

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Phokaia was the most northerly of the Ionian communities in Anatolia and was the mother city of many colonies in the western Mediterranean area, including Massalia (modern Marseille, France).
GA83591. Silver hemihekte, cf. Cahn Ionische 6 (somewhat similar journeyman style), Klein 452 (diobol), SNG Kayhan 526, SNGvA 1813, Rosen 596 (trihemiobol), VF, etched and porous, edge crack, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 1.247 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, wearing sakkos and earring with six pearls; reverse quadripartite incuse square without clear cross-hair lines; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During the Peloponnesian War, 431 - 404 B.C., Cyzicus was subject alternately to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.
GS84195. Silver hemiobol, SNG Kayhan 57 ff.; SNG BnF 375; SNG Cop 49; BMC Mysia p. 35, 120; SNGvA -, Choice gVF, some porosity, weight 0.360 g, maximum diameter 8.9 mm, die axis 225o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar running left, tunny fish upwards behind; reverse head of roaring lion left, star of four rays above, all in incuse square; ex Forum (2009); $120.00 (€106.80)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
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Archaic Origins