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Home > Catalog > |Greek Coins| > |Geographic - All Periods| > |North Africa| > |Kyrenaica| > SH15373
Cyrene, North Africa, c. 500 - 480 B.C.
The Valentine Coin! Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as a contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
SH15373. Silver drachm, Traitť I, pl. 63, 15; BMC Cyrenaica 36; ex Leu 22, 1979, 181, gVF, weight 2.562g, maximum diameter 12.1mm, die axis 90o, obverse two Silphium fruits set on a base, pedicels coinciding, pellet above and below; reverse Silphium fruit in an incuse square, pellet in each corner; very rare; SOLD


Catalog current as of Wednesday, January 22, 2020.
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