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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Turtle or Tortoise||View Options:  |  |  | 

Turtles and Tortoises on Ancient Coins

Greek Turtles minted on the island of Aegina were most likely the first coins struck in Europe. They were popular in their own time and accepted for payment far from the island. Because they were the first European coin type and because they are attractive and interesting, the Greek Turtle is considered a must have by many ancient coin collectors.

Aegina, Saronic Islands, Greece, c. 525 - 485 B.C.

|Aegina|, |Aegina,| |Saronic| |Islands,| |Greece,| |c.| |525| |-| |485| |B.C.||stater|
The turtle coin type is considered a "must have" by many ancient coin collectors because Aegina was probably the first place in Europe to issue coinage.
SH87351. Silver stater, Meadows Aegina group IIb; Asyut group IVb; BMC Attica p. 127, 10; SNG Delepierre 1509; SNG Mün 532; Dewing 1657; HGC 6 429 (S); SNG Cop -, VF, well centered on a tight flan, light toning, light marks and scratches, uncertain countermark or banker's mark on shell, weight 12.066 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, Aigina mint, c. 525 - 485 B.C.; obverse sea turtle, head in profile, straight raised heavy collar, smooth shell with a row of pellets down center, countermark (acanthus pattern?) on shell; reverse square divided by wide bands into eight triangular compartments, every other compartment a deep incuse (mill sail pattern); ex Hixenbaugh Ancient Art (New York); very scarce type; SOLD


Aegina, Saronic Islands, Greece, c. 456 or 445 - 431 B.C.

|Aegina|, |Aegina,| |Saronic| |Islands,| |Greece,| |c.| |456| |or| |445| |-| |431| |B.C.||stater|
Kraay, Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, 1976, p. 47, says the tortoise coins with segmented shell were probably introduced c. 456 BC, perhaps connected with the capture of Aegina by the Athenians in 457/456, or maybe in 445, when the Thirty Years Peace guaranteed Aegina's autonomy.
GS84454. Silver stater, SNG Delepierre 1535 1784; SNG Cop 516; SNG Munchen 561; BMC Attica p. 137, 146; Kraay 127; Dewing 1683; Milbank pl. 2, 12; SGCV I 2600; HGC 6 437, VF, tortoise all on flan, dark rose toning, banker's marks, flan splits, some corrosion, weight 12.265 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, Aegina mint, c. 456/445 - 431 B.C.; obverse marginated tortoise (Testudo marginata), shell segmented into 13 plates, seen from above; reverse incuse square divided into five compartments by bands in a skew pattern; SOLD


Aegina, Saronic Islands, Greece, 480 - 440 B.C.

|Aegina|, |Aegina,| |Saronic| |Islands,| |Greece,| |480| |-| |440| |B.C.||stater|
Aegina was probably the first place in Europe to issue coinage, because of that the turtle coin type is considered a "must have" by many ancient coin collectors.


Click here to read about Greek Turtles.
GA92200. Silver stater, HGC 6 435; Meadows Aegina, Group IIIa; Milbank Period III, pl. I, 15; SNG Cop 507; Dewing 1674; Gulbenkian 523; Jameson 1199, F, lightly etched surfaces, minor scratches, banker's marks, weight 12.109 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, Aegina mint, 480 - 440 B.C.; obverse sea turtle with smooth shell and row of dots down the middle; reverse incuse punch, five compartments divided by broad bars into a skew pattern; ex CNG e-auction 246 (15 Dec 2010), lot 79; SOLD







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