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Ancient Coins of Greece

Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
BK20797. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, EF, well centered on a tight flan with unusual near full crest, some obverse die wear, weight 17.166 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 45o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1100.00 (€968.00)


Krannon, Thessaly, Greece, 350 - 300 B.C.

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In 322 B.C., at Krannon, Thessaly, the Macedonian general Antipater decisively defeated an anti-Macedonian alliance of the Athenians, Aetolians, Thessalians, the Phoceans, the Lokrians and some Peloponnesian states. After the defeat, Athens was forced to abolish its democracy, the leaders responsible for the war were sentenced to death and a Macedonian garrison was stationed at the port of Mounychia.
GB92183. Bronze dichalkon, Rogers 199; BMC Thessaly p. 16, 5 var. (no obv letter); SNG Cop 43 var. (same); SGCV I 2073, aVF, dark patina, minor earthen deposits, weight 4.923 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Krannon mint, 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse horseman galloping right, wearing petasos and chlamys, K (control symbol) upper left; reverse K-PA/NNO, hydria (water carrying vessel) mounted on cart; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 165 (17 Mar 2008), part of lot 2515; $85.00 (€74.80)


Ambrakia, Epeiros, Greece, c. 456 - 426 B.C.

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Ambracia (modern Arta) was founded as a Corinthian colony 650 - 625 B.C. Its economy was based on farmlands, fishing, timber for shipbuilding, and the exporting the produce of Epirus. In 433, Ambracia fought with Corinth at the Battle of Sybota, against the rebellious Corinthian colony of Corcyra (modern Corfu). Ambracia was besieged by Philip II and forced to accept a Macedonian garrison in 338. In 294, after 43 years of semi-autonomy, Ambracia was given by the son of Cassander to Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who made it his capital, and adorned it with palace, temples and theaters. In the wars of Philip V of Macedon and the Epirotes against the Aetolian league (220-205) it changed sides and ultimately joined the Aetolians. Against Rome, it stood a stubborn siege, including the first known use of poison gas, against Roman siege tunnels. It was captured and plundered by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior in 189 B.C., after which it gradually fell into insignificance.Epirus and Environs

GS93836. Silver stater, Pegasi 22 (same dies), SNG Cop -, VF, slightly off center on an irregular flan generally favoring the types, reverse double struck, light etching, weight 8.036 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, Ambrakia (Arta, Greece) mint, c. 456 - 426 B.C.; obverse Pegasos flying left, straight wings; reverse helmeted head of Athena (or Aphrodite) right, crowned by Nike above flying left, A behind, all within an incuse square; ex Savoca blue auction 5 (24 Feb 18), lot 302; $270.00 (€237.60)


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

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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, Meadows, Aegina, Group IIIa; Milbank Period III, pl. I, 15; SNG Cop 507; Dewing 1674; Gulbenkian 523; Jameson 1199; HGC 6 435, 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; $950.00 (€836.00)


Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 229 - 80 B.C.

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The cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium (Epidamnus) were established in the Archaic period by Corcyra and her mother city Corinth on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the Illyrian lands to the north of Epirus. When the Illyrian and Macedonian kingdoms threatened their prosperity in the last third of the 3rd century BC, they turned to the Romans for military support and subsequently assumed the privileged status of a Roman protectorate (Polybius 2.12.2, Appian, Ill. 7 – 8). As early as 228 BC, these two Adriatic cities concluded an alliance with the Roman Republic. They served as Adriatic naval bases for the Republic, and soon became centers of Roman operations in the interior of the Balkans. Essentially, the late drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium were Roman controlled issues (Ujes-Morgan 2012). -- Illyrian Coinage From Thrace by Brendan Mac Gonagle.
GS92997. Silver drachm, Maier 31; BMC Thessaly p. 57, 11; SNG Cop 380; HGC 3.1 4 (S), VF, light marks, light toning, tight flan, obverse off center, tiny edge crack, weight 3.297 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 270o, Apollonia mint, magistrates Niken & Autoboulos, c. 229 - 80 B.C.; obverse NIKHN, cow left, head turned back toward suckling calf right; reverse AΠOΛ - AYTO-BOY-ΛOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; ex Quadriga Ancients; $60.00 (€52.80)


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

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After the decisive defeat of the Illyrians to Rome in 229 B.C., the new Roman rulers renamed the city. The original name, Epidamnos, was similar to the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," probably referring to imposing cliffs near the city. This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii.
MA93695. Silver drachm, Ceka 320; BMC Thessaly p. 69, 62, weight 2.103 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, 229 - 30 B.C.; obverse MENIΣKOΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, raven above; reverse ∆YP − ∆IO−NY−ΣIOY, around, double stellate pattern within double linear square; $14.11 (€12.42)


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

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After the decisive defeat of the Illyrians to Rome in 229 B.C., the new Roman rulers renamed the city. The original name, Epidamnos, was similar to the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," probably referring to imposing cliffs near the city. This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii.
MA93696. Silver drachm, Ceka 320; BMC Thessaly p. 69, 62, weight 2.178 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, 229 - 30 B.C.; obverse MENIΣKOΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, raven above; reverse ∆YP − ∆IO−NY−ΣIOY, around, double stellate pattern within double linear square; $.99 (€.87)


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, c. 229 - 30 B.C.

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This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii. BMC calls the figure on the right side of the obverse a statue. Ceka identifies it as a female. The figure can be identified as Harpokrates by the a hem-hem crown and right index finger up to the lips.
MA93699. Silver drachm, Ceka 325 corr., BMC Thessaly p. 71, 94, weight 2.313 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, obverse MENIΣKOΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left; on right: Harpokrates standing facing wearing hemhem crown, finger to lips; reverse ∆YP − ΛY−KIΣ−KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; $14.00 (€12.32)


The Perrhaiboi, Thessaly, Greece, 4th Century B.C.

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The Perrhaiboi were a Pelasgian (indigenous non-Greek) tribal people who lived in Perrhaibia, north of Thessaly proper and bordering Macedonia. Their capital was Phalanna, and their most significant town was Olosson. In the Iliad, Homer wrote of "the valiant Perrhaiboi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresios, which sends its waters into the Peneus." The Perrhaiboi fought in the Battle of Thermopylae. Through most of their history they were overshadowed and controlled by Thessaly, although they had two votes at the Delphic Amphictyony. Philip II of Macedon took their kingdom and it remained under Macedonian control until the Roman conquest in 196 B.C.
GB92798. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly I 1244, BCD Thessaly II 558, Rogers 439, Traité IV 582, SNG Cop 196, HGC 4 156 (S), BMC Thessaly -, gVF/VF, smoothing, weight 6.392 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 255o, Olosson (Elassona, Greece) mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse veiled head of Hera facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse Zeus standing left, nude, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, star ΠEPPAI/BΩ-N (downward in two lines, the first on the right, the second divided on the left); ex BCD Collection with his round tag noting, "found near Phalanna, Dec. 1996, SFr. 110.-"; $180.00 (€158.40)


Itanos, Crete, c. 320 - 270 B.C.

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The ancient Itanos was one of the strongest cities in Crete in Hellenistic and Roman times. The city flourished due to fishing, and its trade in glass and Tyrian purple die. Koufonissi Island, owned by Itanos, was famous the purple die made from shellfish. The nearby temple of Diktaean Zeus also brought pilgrims and the tourist trade. An earthquake in 795 precipitated a significant decline. An Arab attack in the 9th century destroyed much of the city, but Itanos was not abandoned until the 15th century, when successive Arab raids forced its residents to abandon the coast and move inland.
GB92189. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos Numismatique 42, SNG Cop -, BMC Crete -, F, brown patina, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 2.987 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, Itanos (near Paalekastro, Eastern Crete) mint, c. 320 - 270 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left; reverse sixteen-pointed star with pellet-in-annulet at center; ex CNG e-auction 246 (15 Dec 2010), lot 84; only two sales of this type (and one is this coin) recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $300.00 (€264.00)










REFERENCES|

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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 3: Akarnanien-Bithynien. (Berlin, 1985).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 1, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis, Part 2: Macédoine-Thessalie-Illyrie-Epire-Corcyre. (Athens, 1975).
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Catalog current as of Thursday, October 17, 2019.
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