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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. 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; $1350.00 (€1201.50)

Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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Unpublished in the standard references but several known from auction listings.
SH77380. Electrum hemihekte, Lydo-Milesian standard; cf. CNG auction (9 Mar 2016), lot 156 (same dies); Elektron I 9 corr.; Weidauer -; Traité I -; SNG Kayhan -, VF, light marks, weight 1.189 g, maximum diameter 7.2 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 600 - 550 BC; obverse crude scarab beetle(?); reverse irregular six-lobed incuse pattern; very rare; $970.00 (€863.30)

Persian Empire, Dynasts of Lycia, Kherei, c. 440 - 410 B.C.

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Lycia had a single monarch, who ruled the entire country, subject to Persian policy, from a palace at Xanthos. The monarchy was hereditary, hence the term "dynast" has come into use among English-speaking scholars. Lycian inscriptions indicate the monarch was titled khntawati. The names of the dynasts are known mostly from coin inscriptions.
SH83587. Silver stater, Hurter New 1-6 (same rev. die); CNG mail bid 69, lot 472 (same dies, obv. die also very worn); Mørkholm-Zahle II -; Falghera -; SNG Cop -, Fair/gVF, toned, choice reverse, struck with a very worn obverse die, weight 8.860 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Xanthos mint, c. 440 - 410 B.C.; obverse bull crouching left with head raised, attacked by lion right leaping on its back; reverse bull standing left, Lycian triskeles above, dotted border, all within incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 21, lot 359; extremely rare; $800.00 (€712.00)

Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with a simple square punch mark on one side (two or three punch marks on larger denominations). Nine similar electrum pieces were within the famous "Artemision Find" at Ephesus in 1904.
SH79829. Electrum 1/12 stater, SNG Kayhan 676; SNGvA 7763; Rosen 324; cf. Traité II p. 19, 13 and pl. 1, 11 (striated obverse); Weidauer -, VF, weight 1.141 g, maximum diameter 7.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Ionian mint, period of the Artemision Find, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain flattened globular surface; reverse incuse roughly square pyramidal punch; $720.00 (€640.80)

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; $640.00 (€569.60)

Phokaia, Ionia, c. 477 - 388 B.C.

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Phocaea, or Phokaia, was the northernmost Ionian city, on the boundary with Aeolis. The Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, developed a thriving seafaring economy, became a great naval power, and founded the colonies Massalia (Marseille, France), Emporion (Empúries, Spain) and Elea (Velia, Italy). They remained independent until all of mainland Ionia fell to Croesus of Lydia (c. 560-545 B.C.). In 546 B.C., Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia. After the Greeks defeated Xerxes I, Phocaea joined the Delian League, but later rebelled with the rest of Ionia. In 387 B.C., Phocaea returned to Persian control. After Alexander, it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid, and finally Roman rule.
SH79729. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 93b; Boston MFA 1921; SNGvA 7954; BMC Ionia p. 212, 63; SNG Cop -, aVF, attractive style, tight flan, light bumps and scratches, closed crack, weight 2.524 g, maximum diameter 10.0 mm, Phocaea mint, c. 477 - 388 B.C.; obverse head of a female (nymph?) left, wearing drop earring, wavy hair on forehead and before ear, sakkos covering most of hair including chignon, small seal behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $590.00 (€525.10)

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; $540.00 (€480.60)

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 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; $400.00 (€356.00)

Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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Both the obverse die and the reverse punch used to strike this coin had breaks and significant wear. Perhaps the obverse die was always abstract or geometric, or perhaps it started as something more recognizable. If the irregular raised lines and shapes are not entirely the result of die wear, the wear is so great that we still cannot determine what it once was. The number of types, dies and the die wear on many electrum types suggest that the total number of electrum coins struck in this archaic period many have been in the millions. The low survival rate indicates that in the following years most were melted, refined, and probably recycled into gold and silver coins.
SH79808. Electrum 1/24 stater, Rosen 280, SNG Kayhan 688, SNGvA 7768, Weidauer -, Zhuyuetang -, Traité -, VF, struck with worn dies (typical for the type), weight 0.537 g, maximum diameter 5.79 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse irregular raised lines and shapes; reverse rough irregular square incuse punch, irregular shapes within; very rare; $270.00 (€240.30)

Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Mygdones or Krestones, c. 480 - 470 B.C.

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Previously attributed to Aigai, Macedonia, Cathy Lorber has reattributed these coins as tribal issues from an area west or southwest of Bisaltia, probably inhabited by the Mygdones or Krestones.
CE83467. Silver diobol, SNG ANS 60 (Aigai, same dies); SNG Berry 11 (same); SNG Cop 30 (Aigai); AMNG III 15 (Aigai); Lorber Goats 15, VF, well centered, etched surfaces, weight 1.017 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, issue 2, c. 480 - 470 B.C.; obverse male goat half-kneeling right, head turned left, pellets around; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $250.00 (€222.50)




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Catalog current as of Thursday, October 20, 2016.
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Archaic Origins