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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."

Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darios I to Xerxes II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia,| |
Darios| |I| |to| |Xerxes| |II,| |c.| |485| |-| |420| |B.C.||daric|
This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
SL97378. Gold daric, Carradice Type IIIb, Group A/B (pl. XIII, 27); Meadows Administration 321; BMC Arabia pl. XXIV, 26; Sunrise 24; Lydo-Milesian standard, NGC MS, strike 5/5, surface 3/5, flan flaw (4629125-050), weight 8.30 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver on shoulder, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand; reverse oblong irregular rectangular incuse punch; ex Heritage auction 231925 (20 Jun 2019), lot 63061; NGC| Lookup; $3500.00 SALE |PRICE| $3150.00
 


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| $1200.00
 


Iberia, Hackgold and Hacksilver, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberia,| |Hackgold| |and| |Hacksilver,| |c.| |300| |-| |150| |B.C.||Lot|
 
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), all found in Spain, three pieces in lot; $550.00 SALE |PRICE| $495.00
 


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


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| $320.00
 


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| $304.00
 


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
 


Dikaia, Macedonia, 5th Century B.C.

|Other| |Macedonia|, |Dikaia,| |Macedonia,| |5th| |Century| |B.C.||hemiobol|
The referenced Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann coin is very similar, but from different dies. The referenced VAuctions coin, presumably a later issue, is also very similar but with ∆IKAI and a dotted square border around the grapes within a shallower square incuse. Dikaia was located between the rivers Nestos and Hebros.
GS92899. Silver hemiobol, Apparently unpublished in the standard references; Gitbud & Naumann auction 11 (29 Dec 2013), lot 89; cf. VAuctions 270, lot 112 (see notes), VF, well centered on an irregularly shaped flan, toned, earthen deposits, reverse flatly struck, weight 0.295 g, maximum diameter 7.5 mm, die axis 180o, Dikaia mint, 5th century B.C.; obverse head of lion right; reverse bunch of grapes on stem within incuse square; extremely rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00
 


Iberian Celts, Silver Ingot, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberian| |Celts,| |Silver| |Ingot,| |c.| |300| |-| |150| |B.C.||ingot|
 
AS86897. Silver ingot, Alvarez-Burgos P.9, Kim and Kroll -, Van Alfen Hacksilber-, Garcia-Bellido -, dark toning, earthen encrustations, weight 15.636 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, obverse convex, flattened dome form; reverse flat plain; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


Iberia, Hacksilver, Solid Lunate Earring, c. 650 - 150 B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberia,| |Hacksilver,| |Solid| |Lunate| |Earring,| |c.| |650| |-| |150| |B.C.||Ring| |Money|
The lunate earring type, characterized by a solid crescentric body in a tapered bent over hoop, is the most basic and popular form of earring found in Bronze and Iron Age contexts. The earliest know were found at Ur and date to the third millennium B.C. They are very often found in hacksilver hoards, indicating that they were a bullion medium of exchange. The referenced examples and others known to Forum are all from the East and are under 2 grams. This much larger and heavier example was found in Iberia. Perhaps it was produced locally or perhaps it was brought to the region by Phoenician trade.
CE96102. Silver Ring Money, cf. Gitler Hacksilber 24 ff. (Samaria, late 4th c. B.C.); Golani-Sass Fig. 10, 1 - 2 (Tel Miqne-Ekron, Canaan, 7th c. B.C.) , weight 7.044 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, solid silver, crescentric body in a tapered bent over hoop; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; photos are of both sides, ONE earring; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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