On this page we offer some of the first coins of mankind. The simplest and earliest coin type was a natural electrum lump without design and with only a punch to indicate it was more than just a nugget.
BEHOLD portrayed in miniature, yet clear, The changing seasons of Hellenic art; Fair spring-time, when dim haunting visions start Forth into life, and forms divine appear . . .
Lyttus, Crete, c. 450 - 320 B.C.
References do not describe the obverselegend, but it is also present on the Svoronos plate.
SH65976. Silver drachm, Svoronos Crete p. 231, 19 and pl.XXI, 13; BMC Crete p. 55, 7; SNG Cop 494, aVF, slightly grainy, well centered, weight 5.352 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lyttus mint, c. 380 - 320 B.C.; obverse ΛY−TΣ (clockwise starting above, ΛY ligate), eagle flying left; reverse ΛYTTION, boar’s head right in beaded square border, all within incuse square; rare; $760.00 (€570.00)
Cilicia (Uncertain City, Kelenderis?), 4th Century B.C.
Cilicia extended along the Mediterranean coast east from Pamphylia, to the Amanus Mountains, which separated it from Syria.
SH34910. Silver obol, SNG Levante 253, SNG BnF -, Choice aEF, weight 0.572 g, maximum diameter 9.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kelenderis? mint, obverse head of Athena facing, wearing triple-crested helmet; reverse Pegasos right, uncertain symbol or letter above, within shallow incuse square; rare; $450.00 (€337.50)
Roman Republic, Cast Coinage, c. 280 - 265 B.C.
RR65391. Aes grave (cast) semuncia, Sydenham 14, Thurlow-Vecchi 7, Crawford 14/7, Historia Numorum Italy 274, F, weight 14.86 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 90o, Italian mint, c. 280 - 265 B.C.; obverse acorn; reverse large Σ (mark of value); $405.00 (€303.75)
Akragas (Agrigentum), Sicily, c. 450 B.C.
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.
SH65985. Cast bronze hexas, Calciati I p. 146, 7; BMC Sicily p. 24, 5; SNG Cop 63; SNG ANS -; conical tooth-like shape with round base, VF, weight 7.156 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 0o, Akragas mint, c. 450 B.C.; obverse AK, eagle standing left; reverse crab; two pellets on base; rare; $400.00 (€300.00)
Assos, Troas, c. 480 - 450 B.C.
Assos was a harbor city on the Gulf of Adramytteion, just north of the island of Lesbos. Hermias, a student of Plato, ruled Assos for a time during the 4th century B.C. He invited Plato's most famous student, Aristotle, who lived and taught in Assos for more than three years. When the Persians took the city, they executed Hermias and Aristotle fled to Lesbos. After visiting Alexandria Troas, Paul walked to Assos and visited the Christians there (Acts 20:13).
An astragalos was a gaming piece, made from the knuckle-bone of a sheep or goat, used in antiquity for divination and games in a manner similar to dice.
Around 315 B.C., King Cassander of Macedonia, founded Thessalonica on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma.
SH63538. Silver tetrobol, cf. AMNG III p. 117, 30; Rosen 115, SNG Cop 343, SNG ANS -, VF, weight 2.400 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 225o, Macedonia, Thermai mint, 510 - 480 B.C.; obverse Pegasos forepart right, with curved wing; reverse irregular incuse punch; ex Münhandlung ATHENA GmbH (Munich); rare; $225.00 (€168.75)
Calchedon, Bithynia, 4th Century B.C.
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.
SH66267. Silver drachm, SNG Cop 352; SNG BM 105 (different monogram); SNGvA 487 var (no monogram); SGCV II 3742 var (same), gVF, obverse off center, weight 3.793 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, Kalchedon mint, 4th Century B.C.; obverse KAΛX, cow standing left on grain ear, kerykeion and ∆A monogram before legs; reverse quadrapartite incuse square with stippled surface; $225.00 (€168.75)
Lesbos, c. 550 - 440 B.C.
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.
GA67792. Billon 1/12 stater, SNG Cop 296; SNGvA 7715; BMC Troas p. 153, 42 - 44; SNG München -, VF, toned, weight 0.718 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, Lesbos, uncertain mint, c. 550 - 440 B.C.; obverse head of a Nubian right; reverse rough quadripartite incuse square punch; rare; $225.00 (€168.75)
Persian Empire, Judaea (Yehudah), 375 - 333 B.C.
Minted in Judaea while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest.
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: "YHD" (Yehudah), owl standing left, head facing, olive spray right; rare; $220.00 (€165.00)
Dikaia, Thrace, c. 492 - 475 B.C.
Dikaia was located in Thrace, in the region between the river Nestos and the river Hebros.
GA63565. Silver drachm, Schönert-Geiss Bisanthe 28 (V1/R1), SNG Cop 552 (same dies), Traité II 1795 (different dies, Selymbria), F, toned, weight 3.170 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Dikaia mint, 480 - 450 B.C.; obverse Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse rooster standing right dotted, square border, all within shallow incuse square; rare; $200.00 (€150.00)