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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Archaic Origins||View Options:  |  |  |   

Archaic Origins - The First Coins of Mankind

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."

Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 280 - 276 B.C., Heavy Series

|before| |150| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |c.| |280| |-| |276| |B.C.,| |Heavy| |Series||triens|
All the references only describe the pellets as below the dolphin. None of the references include a variation with pellets above, but Crawford and HN Italy note the dolphin is sometimes left, which may actually be describing pellets above. There are a few examples with the pellets above on Coin Archives.
RR93746. Aes grave triens, cf. Crawford 14/3; HN Italy 270; Haeberlin pp. 95- 97, pl. 39, 6 ff.; Thurlow-Vecchi 3; Sydenham 10; Vecchi ICC 27 (all with pellets below), VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, casting flaw, weight 96.948 g, maximum diameter 53.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 280 - 276 B.C.; obverse dolphin swimming right •••• (mark of value) above; reverse fulmen (thunderbolt) •••• (mark of value) perpendicular to the fulmen in center; from the Errett Bishop Collection, very rare with the pellets above the dolphin, huge AE53!; $1500.00 SALE |PRICE| $1350.00
 


Selinous, Sicily, c. 540 - 415 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Selinous,| |Sicily,| |c.| |540| |-| |415| |B.C.||didrachm|
The leaf/incuse didrachms of Selinus vary in the shape and features of the leaf, and the number of divisions and arrangement of the incuse. We have been unable to find an exact match to this coin.
SH95209. Silver didrachm, Arnold-Biucchi Selinus 6; HGC 2 1211 (R1); SNG ANS 679; SNG Cop 592; SNG Ash 1886; SNG Delepierre 602; Selinous Hoard pl. 2, 25; BMC Sicily p. 138, 7, VF, toned, die wear, etched surfaces, flan crack, weight 8.276 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, c. 540 - 415 B.C.; obverse selinon (wild parsley) leaf, two tiny pellets at base of stem; reverse incuse square divided into twelve triangular alternating deeper and shallower sections; ex Forum (2017), ex David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH95944. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, high relief (as usual for the type), toned, bumps and scratches, weight 16.574 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 290o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $950.00 SALE |PRICE| $855.00
 


Iberia, Hackgold and Hacksilver, c. 300 B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberia,| |Hackgold| |and| |Hacksilver,| |c.| |300| |B.C.||Lot|NEW
 
CE96076. Mixed Lot, See Maria Paz Garcia-Bellido (2011), "Hackgold and Hacksilber in protomonetary Iberia", one piece of gold hackgold (2.28g) and two pieces of hacksilver (2.27 and 1.23g), three pieces total; $550.00 SALE |PRICE| $495.00
 


Cilicia (Uncertain City, possibly Tarsos), 4th Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia| |(Uncertain| |City,| |possibly| |Tarsos),| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||obol|
SNG Levante describes the obverse type as a Pegasos forepart, however, both their coin and ours clearly depict a griffin.
GS92951. Silver obol, SNG Levante 208 corr. (Pegasos vice Griffin in error), SNG BnF -, aVF, toned, light deposits, tight flan, worn dies, edge split, weight 0.680 g, maximum diameter 8.3 mm, die axis 90o, 4th century B.C.; obverse forepart of griffin left; reverse owl standing left, head facing, crescent and olive spray behind; only one sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades - Nomos AG, obolos 5 (26 Jun 2016), lot 437 (similar condition, realized 550 CHF plus 18.5% fees = $660); extremely rare; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00
 


Lydian Kingdom, Alyattes(?), c. 620 - 553 B.C.

|Lydian| |Kingdom|, |Lydian| |Kingdom,| |Alyattes(?),| |c.| |620| |-| |553| |B.C.||hemihekte|
Roma Numismatics listed this as an unpublished type. Perhaps it is not the same type as the referenced Weidauer specimen, however, with the die wear, it is difficult to be certain.
GA96463. Electrum hemihekte, cf. Weidauer, group XVII, 113; Kurth GRPC Lydia -, SNG Kayhan -; Rosen -, aVF, obverse die wear, scratches, edge cracks, weight 1.145 g, maximum diameter 8.0 mm, Sardes(?) mint, c. 620 - 553 B.C.; obverse head of roaring lion left; reverse incuse punch; Roma Numismatics e-sale 68 (27 Feb 2020), lot 399; very rare; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00 ON RESERVE


Thasos, Thrace, c. 500 - 480 B.C.

|Thasos|, |Thasos,| |Thrace,| |c.| |500| |-| |480| |B.C.||stater|
Nymphs are nature spirits who appear as beautiful, young nubile maidens. They dwell in mountains, valleys and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and cool grottoes. Nymphs love to dance and sing and are the frequent target of satyrs. Satyrs are male companions of Pan and Dionysus with goat-like features, including a goat-tail, goat-like ears, and sometimes a goat-like phallus. As Dionysiac creatures, Satyrs are lovers of wine and women and ready for every physical pleasure. They are obsessed with nymphs.
SH91802. Silver stater, Le Rider Thasiennes 2; SNG Cop 1008; BMC Thrace p. 216, 2; McClean 4195; Svoronos HPM pl. X, 7; Dewing 1312; HGC 6 331, Choice F, very well centered, toned, typical flat strike, scratches, weight 9.155 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, Thasos mint, c. 500 - 480 B.C.; obverse nude ithyphallic satyr kneeling-running right, carrying in his arms a struggling nymph, raising her right hand in protest, both with long strait hair indicated with dots, she wears a long chiton, her arm fingers and thumb forming a Y shape; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00
 


Iberia, Hacksilver Cube and Three Cut Bronze Bar Ingots, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberia,| |Hacksilver| |Cube| |and| |Three| |Cut| |Bronze| |Bar| |Ingots,| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|
 
LT96804. silver: see Garcia-Bellido, 24.99g, 15.2mm; bronze: cf. Alvarez-Burgos P35, (1) 20.66g, 16.2mm; silver (2) 22.81, 17.5mm, (3) 30.4g, 17.8mm, bronze cut from larger pieces; all four pieces found in Spain, $260.00 SALE |PRICE| $234.00
 


Miletos, Ionia, Late 6th - Early 5th Century B.C.

|Miletos|, |Miletos,| |Ionia,| |Late| |6th| |-| |Early| |5th| |Century| |B.C.||1/8| |stater|
Miletos was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River. Miletos, along with most of Anatolia, was taken from Persia by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. Miletos' greatest wealth and splendor was reached during the Hellenistic era and Roman times. Its ruins are located near the modern town of Balat in Aydin Province, Turkey. The symbols found on coins of Miletos include the lion, a star, and Apollo. The star may represent the Sun in association with Apollo.Miletus Bay
GA89322. Silver 1/8 stater, SNG Kayhan 455 - 460; SNG Keckman 262; Klein 420; Traité I 433, pl. XI, 10; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Tübingen -; BMC Ionia -, VF, etched surfaces, weight 1.541 g, maximum diameter 10.0 mm, die axis 0o, Miletos (near Balat, Turkey) mint, late 6th-early 5th centuries BC.; obverse lion head (mask?) facing, square pelleted linear border; reverse floral/stellar pattern with four points inside a double square lattice frame, all within an incuse square; rare; $225.00 SALE |PRICE| $203.00
 


Lamponeia, Troas, c. 5th - Early 4th Century B.C.

|Troas|, |Lamponeia,| |Troas,| |c.| |5th| |-| |Early| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||hemiobol|
Lamponeia was on the southern coast of Troas, on the long crest of a mountain, above the modern village of Kozlu in Canakkale Province, Turkey. From this site, the city could monitor sea traffic on the coast and control a narrow valley which connected Assos to the cities of the middle Skamander valley. The settlement was 800 m long and protected by a 7 m thick circuit wall of rough masonry and boulders, dated to the 6th century B.C. In the 5th century B.C. the city was a member of the Delian League and paid Athens a modest tribute of 1,000 drachms (on one occasion in 430/429 1,400 drachms). In the late 5th and early 4th century B.C. the city minted bronze coinage, but thereafter disappears from the historical record. It is possible that soon after the site was abandoned and its citizens moved to Assos. Late Roman and Byzantine period finds suggest that the site was reoccupied in this period, perhaps as a defensive measure against piracy and brigandage.
GS89698. Silver hemiobol, cf. SNG Cop 444 (obol); SNG Tübingen 2649 (triobol); Traité 2295; BMC Troas p. 72, 12 (hemidrachm); SNG Munchen -; SNG Kayhan -; Klein -, VF, well centered, toned, porous, oval flan, weight 0.270 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lamponeia (near Kozlu, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 5th - early 4th century B.C.; obverse bearded head of Dionysos right, hair bound in taenia; reverse facing head of bull, ΛAM around clockwise from lower left, all within a shallow incuse square; ex Beast Coins, this type is apparently unpublished in references as a hemidrachm, but larger denominations with the same types are published, and five hemiobol specimens are known from auctions over the last two decades; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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