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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Griffin||View Options:  |  |  | 

Griffins on Ancient Coins

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure and well valued priceless possession.

Cilicia, Tarsos, c. 425 - 400 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia,| |Tarsos,| |c.| |425| |-| |400| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||obol|
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean. With a history going back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and a focal point of many civilizations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was the capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of Paul the Apostle.
GS90992. Fouree silver plated obol, cf. SNG France 207, Traité II 530bis (official civic issue, silver, square dot border within rev. incuse), VF, minor plating breaks, scratches, weight 0.726 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 425 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of a winged animal (griffin?) left; reverse ankh-like Persian dynastic symbol, within incuse square; very rare; $125.00 (€115.00)
 


Assos, Troas, c. 479 - 450 B.C.

|Troas|, |Assos,| |Troas,| |c.| |479| |-| |450| |B.C.||hemiobol|
Though the town is officially named Behramkale, most people still call it by its ancient name, Assos. The town is on the coast of the Adramyttian Gulf on the southern side of Biga Peninsula, just north 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).
GS96090. Silver hemiobol, SNG Arikantürk 295; Weber 5318; BMC Troas p. 36, 3; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Ashmolean –, VF, centered on a tight flan, toned, porosity, weight 0.286 g, maximum diameter 6.8 mm, die axis 180o, Assos (Behramkale, Turkey) mint, c. 479 - 450 B.C.; obverse griffin reclining right, left forepaw raised; reverse lion head right, jaws open, tongue protruding, within incuse square; $90.00 (€82.80)
 


Assos, Troas, c. 480 - 450 B.C.

|Troas|, |Assos,| |Troas,| |c.| |480| |-| |450| |B.C.||tetartemorion|
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.
GA96770. Silver tetartemorion, Klein 475 (Teos), SNG Kayhan -, BMC Ionia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, Balcer -, VF, dark toning, porosity, edge split, weight 0.175 g, maximum diameter 6.6 mm, Assos (Behramkale, Turkey) mint, 480 - 450 B.C.; obverse griffin right; reverse astragalos within incuse square; rare; $90.00 (€82.80)
 


Teos, Ionia, c. 540 - 478 B.C.

|Teos|, |Teos,| |Ionia,| |c.| |540| |-| |478| |B.C.||trihemitartemorion|
Teos was a flourishing seaport until about 540 B.C., when the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great invaded Lydia and Ionia. The town survived but most of the citizens fled to the newly founded colonies of Abdera and Phanagoria. Under the Roman Empire, the town was noted for its wine, a theater and its Temple of Dionysus. The site is now farmland.
GA95885. Silver trihemitartemorion, Balcer group LXXIV, 73 ff.; SNG Tübingen 3250; Rosen 603; SNG Cop supp. 339, VF, toned, tight flan, reverse die wear, weight 0.285 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 0o, Teos (near Sigacik, Turkey) mint, c. 540 - 478 B.C.; obverse griffin head right; reverse quadripartite incuse square, rough; $80.00 (€73.60)
 


Teos, Ionia, c. 540 - 449 B.C.

|Teos|, |Teos,| |Ionia,| |c.| |540| |-| |449| |B.C.||tetartemorion|
Teos was a flourishing seaport until about 540 B.C., when the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great invaded Lydia and Ionia. The town survived but most of the citizens fled to the newly founded colonies of Abdera and Phanagoria. These tiny 1/4 obol silver coins were struck after the Persian invasion.
GA96771. Silver tetartemorion, cf. Balcer 129; SNG Kayhan 603; SNG Tüb 3251; Rosen 604; Klein -, VF, dark toning, obverse off center, weight 0.255 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, Teos (near Sigacik, Turkey) mint, c. 540 - 449 B.C.; obverse griffin forepart right, dotted neck truncation; reverse rough quadripartite incuse square; $60.00 (€55.20)
 







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