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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Archaic Origins||View Options:  |  |  |   

Archaic Origins - The First Coins of Mankind

The coins below are among the first struck by mankind. Coins struck in the later classical and Hellenistic periods, but in archaic or archaized style are also included here. Click here to read "From the Origin of Coins to Croesus."

Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 280 - 276 B.C., Heavy Series

|before| |150| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |c.| |280| |-| |276| |B.C.,| |Heavy| |Series||triens|
All the references only describe the pellets as below the dolphin. None of the references include a variation with pellets above, but Crawford and HN Italy note the dolphin is sometimes left, which may actually be describing pellets above. There are a few examples with the pellets above on Coin Archives.
RR93746. Aes grave triens, cf. Crawford 14/3; HN Italy 270; Haeberlin pp. 95- 97, pl. 39, 6 ff.; Thurlow-Vecchi 3; Sydenham 10; Vecchi ICC 27 (all with pellets below), VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, casting flaw, weight 96.948 g, maximum diameter 53.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 280 - 276 B.C.; obverse dolphin swimming right •••• (mark of value) above; reverse fulmen (thunderbolt) •••• (mark of value) perpendicular to the fulmen in center; from the Errett Bishop Collection, very rare with the pellets above the dolphin, huge AE53!; $1500.00 (€1380.00)
 


Lydian Kingdom, Kroisos, c. 561 - 546 B.C.

|Lydian| |Kingdom|, |Lydian| |Kingdom,| |Kroisos,| |c.| |561| |-| |546| |B.C.||siglos| |(half-stater)|NEW
The Lydian King Croesus minted the first silver and gold coins. He was famous for his extraordinary wealth, but after his defeat by Cyrus in 546 B.C. Lydia became a Persian satrapy. The Persian conquerors of Lydia continued to strike the same Croesus' silver half siglos and gold stater types. This coin is an early example issued under Croesus. We can tell it is an early example because the lion and the bull were struck separately, with one punch at a time. Later examples appear to have been struck with single punch only made to look like two separate punches.
SH96818. Silver siglos (half-stater), BMC Lydia p. 7, 45, pl. 1, 18; SNG Cop 456; SNG Kayhan 1024; SNG Ashmolean 762; SNGvA 2877; Rosen 663; SGCV II 3420, gF, scratches, polished, weight 5.209 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, probably Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 561 - 546 B.C.; obverse on the left, forepart of a roaring lion right, confronting, on the right, the forepart of a bull left, pellet above lion's head; reverse two incuse square punches, of unequal size, side by side; ex Numismatic Fine Arts mail bid sale (18 Dec 1987), lot 362; $900.00 (€828.00)
 


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

|Aegina|, |Aegina,| |Saronic| |Islands,| |Greece,| |c.| |525| |-| |485| |B.C.||stater|NEW
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.
SH96820. 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 -, F, tight flan, reverse off center, marks and scratches, porosity, weight 11.268 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, Aigina mint, c. 525 - 485 B.C.; obverse sea-tortoise (Chelone Caouana) or common loggerhead turtle of the Mediterranean, narrow collar at the top and row of six dots down the middle the ridge of the shell; reverse square divided by wide bands into eight triangular compartments, every other compartment a deep incuse (mill sail pattern); scarce; $900.00 (€828.00)
 


Iberia, Hackgold and Hacksilver, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberia,| |Hackgold| |and| |Hacksilver,| |c.| |300| |-| |150| |B.C.||Lot|
 
CE96076. Mixed Lot, See Maria Paz Garcia-Bellido (2011), "Hackgold and Hacksilber in protomonetary Iberia", one piece of gold hackgold (2.28g) and two pieces of hacksilver (2.27 and 1.23g), all found in Spain, three pieces in lot; $550.00 (€506.00)
 


Cilicia (Uncertain City, possibly Tarsos), 4th Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia| |(Uncertain| |City,| |possibly| |Tarsos),| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||obol|
SNG Levante describes the obverse type as a Pegasos forepart, however, both their coin and ours clearly depict a griffin.
GS92951. Silver obol, SNG Levante 208 corr. (Pegasos vice Griffin in error), SNG BnF -, aVF, toned, light deposits, tight flan, worn dies, edge split, weight 0.680 g, maximum diameter 8.3 mm, die axis 90o, 4th century B.C.; obverse forepart of griffin left; reverse owl standing left, head facing, crescent and olive spray behind; only one sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades - Nomos AG, obolos 5 (26 Jun 2016), lot 437 (similar condition, realized 550 CHF plus 18.5% fees = $660); extremely rare; $360.00 (€331.20)
 


Thasos, Thrace, c. 510 - 480 B.C.

|Thasos|, |Thasos,| |Thrace,| |c.| |510| |-| |480| |B.C.||stater|NEW
Nymphs are nature spirits who appear as beautiful, young nubile maidens. They dwell in mountains, valleys and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and cool grottoes. Nymphs love to dance and sing and are the frequent target of satyrs. Satyrs are male companions of Pan and Dionysus with goat-like features, including a goat-tail, goat-like ears, and sometimes a goat-like phallus. As Dionysiac creatures, Satyrs are lovers of wine and women and ready for every physical pleasure. They are obsessed with nymphs.
SH96817. Silver stater, cf. Le Rider Thasiennes 1 - 2; SNG Cop 1007 - 1008; BMC Thrace p. 216, 1 - 2; Svoronos HPM pl. X, 1-5, 7; Dewing 1311 - 1312; HGC 6 331, VF, rough, test cut, thick dumpy fabric similar to first issues but lighter weight of later issues (probably transitional), weight 8.813 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, Thasos mint, c. 510 - 480 B.C.; obverse nude ithyphallic satyr kneeling-running right, carrying in his arms a struggling nymph, raising her right hand in protest, both with long strait hair indicated with dots, she wears a long chiton, her arm fingers and thumb forming a Y shape; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Numismatic Fine Arts, Fall 1989 mail bid sale, lot 411; $350.00 (€322.00)
 


Iberia, Hacksilver Cube and Three Cut Bronze Bar Ingots, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberia,| |Hacksilver| |Cube| |and| |Three| |Cut| |Bronze| |Bar| |Ingots,| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|
 
LT96804. silver: see Garcia-Bellido, 24.99g, 15.2mm; bronze: cf. Alvarez-Burgos P35, (1) 20.66g, 16.2mm; silver (2) 22.81, 17.5mm, (3) 30.4g, 17.8mm, bronze cut from larger pieces; all four pieces found in Spain, $260.00 (€239.20)
 


Iberian Celts, Hacksilver, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

|Celtic| |&| |Tribal|, |Iberian| |Celts,| |Hacksilver,| |c.| |300| |-| |150| |B.C.||fragment|
 
CE96111. Hacksilver fragment, perhaps from a disk ingot; cf. Kim and Kroll 59; Van Alfen Hacksilber 53 ff., 20.883g, 21.1mm long, c. 300 - 150 B.C.; $220.00 (€202.40)
 


Dikaia, Macedonia, 5th Century B.C.

|Other| |Macedonia|, |Dikaia,| |Macedonia,| |5th| |Century| |B.C.||hemiobol|
The referenced Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann coin is very similar, but from different dies. The referenced VAuctions coin, presumably a later issue, is also very similar but with ∆IKAI and a dotted square border around the grapes within a shallower square incuse. Dikaia was located between the rivers Nestos and Hebros.
GS92899. Silver hemiobol, Apparently unpublished in the standard references; Gitbud & Naumann auction 11 (29 Dec 2013), lot 89; cf. VAuctions 270, lot 112 (see notes), VF, well centered on an irregularly shaped flan, toned, earthen deposits, reverse flatly struck, weight 0.295 g, maximum diameter 7.5 mm, die axis 180o, Dikaia mint, 5th century B.C.; obverse head of lion right; reverse bunch of grapes on stem within incuse square; extremely rare; $180.00 (€165.60)
 


Iberian Celts, Silver Ingot, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

|Iberia|, |Iberian| |Celts,| |Silver| |Ingot,| |c.| |300| |-| |150| |B.C.||ingot|
 
AS86897. Silver ingot, Alvarez-Burgos P.9, Kim and Kroll -, Van Alfen Hacksilber-, Garcia-Bellido -, dark toning, earthen encrustations, weight 15.636 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, obverse convex, flattened dome form; reverse flat plain; $160.00 (€147.20)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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