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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Anatolia| ▸ |Ionia| ▸ |Archaic Electrum||View Options:  |  |  |   

Archaic Electrum Coinage from Ionia (and its Neighbors)

The earliest dated coin hoard was deposited in the foundation of the Artemision, the temple of Artemis at Ephesos, as an offering during construction, c. 600 B.C. These earliest coins, which included many of the types on this page, were struck from electrum, an alloy of gold and silver. The very earliest coins (sometimes described as proto-coins) were type-less (blank) electrum globules weighed to a specific standard with simple square punch marks on one side. After lines cut into the anvil (probably to prevent the blank globule from slipping) were transferred to coin, the obverse design was discovered. Soon, more complex designs were engraved into the anvil (and later into dies) and coinage as we know it was created. Click here to read "From the Origin of Coins to Croesus."

Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 500 - 450 B.C.

|Cyzicus|, |Kyzikos,| |Mysia,| |c.| |500| |-| |450| |B.C.||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. It was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later, allegedly in 756 B.C., it received many colonists from Miletus. Owing to its advantageous position it speedily acquired commercial importance, and the gold staters of Cyzicus were a staple currency in the ancient world till they were superseded by those of Philip of Macedon. The site of Cyzicus, located on the Erdek and Bandirma roads, is protected by Turkey's Ministry of Culture.
SH84459. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), SNG BnF 241; SNGvA 1180; BMC Mysia p. 32, 98; Von Fritze I 102; Rosen 482; de Luynes pl. XCII 2460; SNG Cop -, gVF, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 2.628 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 500 - 450 B.C.; obverse forepart of a winged deer left, tunny fish diagonal with head down behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; rare; SOLD


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ionia,| |c.| |650| |-| |600| |B.C.,| |Plain| |Globular| |Type||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Mankind's first coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with simple square punches mark on one side (one punch on smaller denominations). Nine similar plain electrum pieces were within the famous "Artemision Find" at Ephesus in 1904, but all were smaller denominations, from 1/8 stater to a 1/96 stater.
SH84754. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), SNG Kayhan 674, Weidauer 4, Boston MFA 1750, Rosen -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, Trait -, BMC Ionia -, VF, scratches and marks, reverse incuses struck with worn punches, weight 2.347 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse two roughly square incuse punches; very rare; SOLD


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Phokaia,| |Ionia,| |c.| |521| |-| |478| |B.C.||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Phocaea, or Phokaia, was the northernmost Ionian city, on the boundary with Aeolis. The Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, developed a thriving seafaring economy, became a great naval power, and founded the colonies Massalia (Marseille, France), Emporion (Empries, Spain) and Elea (Velia, Italy). They remained independent until all of mainland Ionia fell to Croesus of Lydia (c. 560-545 B.C.). In 546 B.C., Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia. After the Greeks defeated Xerxes I, Phocaea joined the Delian League, but later rebelled with the rest of Ionia. In 387 B.C., Phocaea returned to Persian control. After Alexander, it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid, and finally Roman rule.
SH86213. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), Bodenstedt em. 32, 7 (d/γ); Weber III 5736 (= Bodenstedt 7); Boston MFA 1906, SNG Kayhan -; SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Ionia -, Rosen -, EF, superb archaic style, well struck, tight flan, weight 2.529 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse archaic style head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet, almond shaped eye, slight smile, long hair in rows of dots, dotted necklace, seal upward behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; SOLD


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Phokaia,| |Ionia,| |c.| |521| |-| |478| |B.C.||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Phocaea, or Phokaia, was the northernmost Ionian city, on the boundary with Aeolis. The Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, developed a thriving seafaring economy, became a great naval power, and founded the colonies Massalia (Marseille, France), Emporion (Empries, Spain) and Elea (Velia, Italy). They remained independent until all of mainland Ionia fell to Croesus of Lydia (c. 560-545 B.C.). In 546 B.C., Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia. After the Greeks defeated Xerxes I, Phocaea joined the Delian League, but later rebelled with the rest of Ionia. In 387 B.C., Phocaea returned to Persian control. After Alexander, it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid, and finally Roman rule.
SH86214. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), Bodenstedt 31, 3 (b/β); SNGvA 7943 (= Bodenstedt 3); SNG Kayhan 518; BMC Ionia -; SNG Cop -; Boston MFA -, EF, attractive archaic style, minor die wear, tiny edge cracks, seal off flan, weight 2.559 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse archaic style head of nymph left, almond eye, slight smile, curly hair as rows of dots, wearing close fitting cap ornamented with a row of dots, rosette earring, seal downward behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; SOLD


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Phokaia,| |Ionia,| |c.| |521| |-| |478| |B.C.||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Phocaea, or Phokaia, was the northernmost Ionian city, on the boundary with Aeolis. The Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, developed a thriving seafaring economy, became a great naval power, and founded the colonies Massalia (Marseille, France), Emporion (Empries, Spain) and Elea (Velia, Italy). They remained independent until all of mainland Ionia fell to Croesus of Lydia (c. 560-545 B.C.). In 546 B.C., Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia. After the Greeks defeated Xerxes I, Phocaea joined the Delian League, but later rebelled with the rest of Ionia. In 387 B.C., Phocaea returned to Persian control. After Alexander, it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid, and finally Roman rule.
SH86291. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), Bodenstedt 32, 7 (c/γ); Weber III 5736 (= Bodenstedt 7); Boston MFA 1906, SNG Kayhan -; SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Ionia -, Rosen -, EF, superb archaic style, well struck, tight flan, bumps and scratches (mostly on edge), tiny edge crack, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse archaic style head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet, almond shaped eye, slight smile, long hair in rows of dots, dotted necklace, seal upward behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; SOLD


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ionia,| |c.| |650| |-| |600| |B.C.,| |Plain| |Globular| |Type||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Mankind's first coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with simple square punches mark on one side (one punch on smaller denominations). Nine similar plain electrum pieces were within the famous "Artemision Find" at Ephesus in 1904, but all were smaller denominations, from 1/8 stater to a 1/96 stater.
SH76562. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), SNG Kayhan 674, Weidauer 4, Boston MFA 1750, Rosen -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, Trait -, BMC Ionia -, VF, contact marks, weight 2.317 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse two roughly square incuse punches, one punch damaged on one corner; very rare; SOLD


Ephesos, Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia,| |c.| |600| |-| |550| |B.C.||Trite| |(1/3| |Stater)|
This rare type is among the earliest of coins.
SL99234. Electrum Trite (1/3 Stater), Karwiese Series II.1, type 1; Rosen 257; SNGvA 1768, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (4935002-006), weight 4.65 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos (near Selcuk, Turkey) mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse primitive bee; reverse two incuse punches of various sizes; NGC| Lookup; ex Heritage auction 231947 (21 Nov, 2019), lot 63061; rare; SOLD


Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ionia,| |c.| |600| |-| |550| |B.C.||1/24| |stater|
SH84753. Electrum 1/24 stater, Phokaic standard, SNG Kayhan 719, Weidauer -, Rosen -, Trait I -, VF, well centered, die wear, scratches, weight 0.638 g, maximum diameter 6.1 mm, Ionia, uncertain mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse boar head left, linear form; reverse incuse irregular roughly square punch; extremely rare; SOLD


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ionia,| |c.| |650| |-| |600| |B.C.,| |Plain| |Globular| |Type||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Mankind's first coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with simple square punches mark on one side (one punch on smaller denominations). Nine similar plain electrum pieces were within the famous "Artemision Find" at Ephesus in 1904, but all were smaller denominations, from 1/8 stater to a 1/96 stater.
SH99224. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), 1/6 stater, Milesian standard; SNG Kayhan 674, Weidauer 4, Boston MFA 1750, Rosen -, SNGvA -, SNG C, VF, scratches and marks, polished, weight 2.267 g, maximum diameter 8.9 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse two incuse punches, one punch roughly square, the second was made with a punch quite worn from its original square shape; ex CNG auction 443 (1 May 2019), lot 93; very rare; SOLD


Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ionia,| |c.| |600| |-| |550| |B.C.||1/24| |stater|
SL110660. Electrum 1/24 stater, Unpublished in references; cf. SNG Kayhan 726 (1/48 stater), Rosen 353 (1/48 stater), NGC Choice VF, strike 2/5, surface 4/5 (6330404-003), weight 0.57 g, maximum diameter c. 5.0 mm, uncertain mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse winged scarab or bee; reverse rough incuse square; six similar specimens known to FORVM from auctions, some perhaps from the same dies, some clearly not; NGC| Lookup; extremely rare; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Babelon, E. Trait des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Brett, A. Catalogue of Greek Coins, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (Boston, 1955).
Bodenstedt, F. Die Elektronmnzen von Phokaia und Mytilene. (Tbingen, 1981).
Head, B. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Ionia. (London, 1892).
Karwiese, S. Die Mnzprgung von Ephesos. I. Die Anfnge: Die ltesten Prgungen und der Beginn der Mnzprgung berhaupt. (Cologne/Weimar, 1995)
Karwiese, S. "The Artemisium coin hoard and the first coins of Ephesus," RBN 137 (1991), pp. 1 - 28.
Konuk, K. & C. Lorber. White Gold: Revealing the World's Earliest Coins. (Jerusalem, 2012).
Linzalone, J. Electrum And The Invention of Coinage. (New Jersey, 2011).
Meadows, A. & R. Kan. History Re-Stored: Ancient Greek Coins from the Zhuyuetang Collection. (Hong Kong, 2004).
Mitchiner, M. Ancient Trade and Early Coinage. (London, 2004).
Mnzen und Medaillen Deutschland. Sammlung Elektron. Catalog of public auction 7, 20 October 2000. Stuttgart.
Robinson, W. "The Date of the Earliest Coins" in Numismatic Chronicle 16. (1956) 1-8.
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 5: Ionia, Caria and Lydia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Mnchen Staatlische Mnzsammlung, Part 20: Ionien 1: (Frhes Elektron-Priene). (Berlin, 1995).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Mnzsammlung Universitt Tbingen, Part 4: Mysien - Ionien. (Berlin, 1989).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 1: Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Mysia, Troas, Aiolis, Lesbos, Ionia. (Berlin, 1957).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, Part II: Asia Minor except Karia. (Helsinki, 1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Vickers, M. "Early Greek Coinage: A Reassessment" in NC 145 (1985) 1-4.
Waggoner, N. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).
Weidauer, L. Problemeder frhen Elektronprgung, Typos I. (Fribourg, 1975).

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