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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |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 B.C.

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |c.| |280| |B.C.||triens|
The triens (plural trientes) was an Ancient Roman bronze coin produced during the Roman Republic valued at one-third of an as. HUGE 50.5 mm and 83.3 gram bronze!
SH110921. Aes grave (cast) triens, Crawford 14/3 var. (pellets below dolphin); Thurlow-Vecchi 3a var. (same); Haeberlin pl. 39, 15 var. (same); HN Italy 270 var. (same); Sydenham 10, VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, a few flan flaws, weight 83.342 g, maximum diameter 50.5 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, heavy series, c. 280 B.C.; obverse fulmen (thunderbolt), four pellets (mark of value) divided across field; reverse dolphin swimming right, four pellets (mark of value) above; ex CNG auction 90 (23 May 2012), lot 1278; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; this coin is the only specimen on Coin Archives and the only specimen known to FORVM with the pellets above the dolphin, HUGE 50.5 mm and 83.3 gram bronze!; extremely rare variant; $2250.00 SALE PRICE $2025.00


Ephesos, Ionia, Phanes, c. 625 - 600 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit Electrum Plate Over Silver

|Ephesos|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia,| |Phanes,| |c.| |625| |-| |600| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit| |Electrum| |Plate| |Over| |Silver||1/24| |stater|NEW
The official coin, of which this is an ancient counterfeit, is known to be among the oldest coins because a hemihekte from the issue was in the famous "Artemision Find" excavated from the foundation of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos. Seven different denominations are linked by the stag type, a common weight standard, and reverse die links. The stag is a symbol of Artemis and thus of Ephesus. The two larger denominations bear the name Phanes, who was likely a prominent citizen of Ephesus, perhaps a despot, a magistrate, or a wealthy money-lender. This coin is undoubtedly one of the very first counterfeit coins. Criminal counterfeiters were evidently a problem from the very beginnings of coinage.
SL112770. Fouree electrum plated 1/24 stater, Weidauer - , BMC - ; cf. SNG VA 7773 (not plated), NGC VF (6827718-002), weight 0.435 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, after c. 625 B.C.; obverse forepart of stag right, head turned left, three pellets before; reverse incuse square with raised lines; photo taken before certification, NGC| Lookup; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00


Kyrene, Kyrenaica, c. 500 - 480 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaica,| |c.| |500| |-| |480| |B.C.||drachm|
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 not actually derived from the shape of the heart; it is the shape of the silphium fruit or seed, due to its use as a contraceptive.
GA111637. Silver drachm, BMC Cyrenaica 35, pl. V, 1; SNG Cop 1171 var. (pellets in corners of incuse); Buttrey Cyrene -, aVF, uneven toning, off center obv., porous, weight 2.712 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 270o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 500 - 480 B.C.; obverse silphium fruit, [pedicel above?], pellet below; reverse silphium fruit, pedicel above, pellet below, all within incuse square; very rare; $540.00 SALE PRICE $486.00


Aegina, Saronic Islands, Greece, c. 525 - 475 B.C.

|Aegina|, |Aegina,| |Saronic| |Islands,| |Greece,| |c.| |525| |-| |475| |B.C.||stater|
"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.
GS112504. Silver stater, HGC 6 433 (S); Meadows Aegina Group IIc; Asyut Group VI; SNG Cop 503; SNG Munchen 536; Milbank -, BMC Attica -, F, tight flan, bumps and marks, punch on rev., weight 11.808 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, Aigina (Aegina) mint, c. 525 - 475 B.C.; obverse sea-tortoise (Chelone Caouana) or common loggerhead turtle of the Mediterranean, collar at the top and row of six dots down the middle the ridge of the shell; reverse incuse square with skew device; from the P.S. Collection, ex Calgary Coin, ex Alberta Coins, ex Harlan J. Berk, ex Lewis Egnew Collection; scarce; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00


Kyrene, Kyrenaica, c. 510 - 490 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaica,| |c.| |510| |-| |490| |B.C.||hemiobol|
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 not actually derived from the shape of the heart; it is the shape of the silphium fruit or seed, due to its use as a contraceptive.
GA111636. Silver hemiobol, cf. Buttrey Cyrene 53, SNG Cop -, BMC Cyrenaica -, VF, weight 0.337 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 510 - 490 B.C.; obverse silphium fruit (or seed pod), in outline border, pedicel above; reverse shallow rectangular incuse; very rare; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00


Roman Republic and Central Italy, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., Lot of 40 Small Aes Rude Fragments

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |c.| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.,| |Lot| |of| |40| |Small| |Aes| |Rude| |Fragments||Lot|
In Italy, as with other nations, early trade used a system of barter. Aes rude (Latin: "rough bronze"), used perhaps as early as the early 8th century B.C., was the earliest metal proto-currency in central Italy. In the 5th century B.C., bronze replaced cattle as the primary measure of value in trade. Aes rude are rough lumpy bronze ingots with no marks or design, some are flat and oblong, others are square, while many are irregular and shapeless. The metal is mostly copper with roughly 5% tin. Weight varies considerably with some exceeding twelve pounds and others under an ounce. Many smaller examples are fragments of broken larger specimens. A balance was necessary to measure value for commercial transactions.
LT110940. Bronze Lot, Lot of 40 aes rude fragments, cf. BMCRR I p. 1, Haeberlin pl. 1, Vecchi ICC pl. 1, Thurlow-Vecchi pl. 2, SRCV I 505, average weight c. 14g, no tags or flips, the actual pieces in the photograph, as is, no returns, 40 pieces; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C.

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia,| |Artaxerxes| |II| |-| |Darius| |III,| |c.| |375| |-| |340| |B.C.||siglos|
This coin is published in Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen, ANS ACNAC 5, New York, 1983, by Nancy Waggoner, plate 25, no. 675.
GA111447. Silver siglos, Rosen Collection pl. 25, 675 (this coin); Carradice Type IV (late) C, 46 ff.; BMC Arabia 172 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1031; Klein 763; SGCV II 4683, VF, off center, mild porosity, encrustation on edge and part of reverse, weight 5.520 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 375 - 340 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, dagger in right hand, bow in left hand; reverse irregular oblong punch; from the CEB Collection; ex Numismatic Fine Arts winter sale (New York, 12/87), lot 372; ex Rosen Collection; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00


Roman Republic and Central Italy, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., lot of 15 Aes Rude Fragments

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |c.| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.,| |lot| |of| |15| |Aes| |Rude| |Fragments||Lot|
Aes rude is the earliest type of money used by the population of central Italy. They are just irregular pieces of bronze with no marks or designs. More advanced types of currency were used later: Aes Signatum and Aes Grave, and in the end, normal struck coins.
LT110960. Bronze Lot, Lot of 15 aes rude fragments, average weight c. 32.5g, the actual fragments in the photograph, as-is, no returns; $310.00 SALE PRICE $279.00


Roman Republic and Central Italy, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., Lot of 7 Aes Rude Fragments

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |c.| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.,| |Lot| |of| |7| |Aes| |Rude| |Fragments||Lot|
In Italy, as with other nations, early trade used a system of barter. Aes rude (Latin: "rough bronze"), used perhaps as early as the early 8th century B.C., was the earliest metal proto-currency in central Italy. In the 5th century B.C., bronze replaced cattle as the primary measure of value in trade. Aes rude are rough lumpy bronze ingots with no marks or design, some are flat and oblong, others are square, while many are irregular and shapeless. The metal is mostly copper with roughly 5% tin. Weight varies considerably with some exceeding twelve pounds and others under an ounce. Many smaller examples are fragments of broken larger specimens. A balance was necessary to measure value for commercial transactions.
LT110961. Bronze Lot, Lot of 7 aes rude fragments, cf. BMCRR I p. 1, Haeberlin pl. 1, Vecchi ICC pl. 1, Thurlow-Vecchi pl. 2, SRCV I 505, weight c. 40 - 241g, no tags or flips, the actual pieces in the photograph; $310.00 SALE PRICE $279.00


Roman Republic and Central Italy, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., Lot of 20 Aes Rude Fragments

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |c.| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.,| |Lot| |of| |20| |Aes| |Rude| |Fragments||Lot|
In Italy, as with other nations, early trade used a system of barter. Aes rude (Latin: "rough bronze"), used perhaps as early as the early 8th century B.C., was the earliest metal proto-currency in central Italy. In the 5th century B.C., bronze replaced cattle as the primary measure of value in trade. Aes rude are rough lumpy bronze ingots with no marks or design, some are flat and oblong, others are square, while many are irregular and shapeless. The metal is mostly copper with roughly 5% tin. Weight varies considerably with some exceeding twelve pounds and others under an ounce. Many smaller examples are fragments of broken larger specimens. A balance was necessary to measure value for commercial transactions.
LT110964. Bronze Lot, Lot of 20 aes rude fragments, cf. BMCRR I p. 1, Haeberlin pl. 1, Vecchi ICC pl. 1, Thurlow-Vecchi pl. 2, SRCV I 505, weight c. 12 - 119g, no tags or flips, the actual pieces in the photograph, as is, no returns, 20 pieces; $310.00 SALE PRICE $279.00




  



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REFERENCES

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