Ancient Greek Coins

Posted by on October 27, 2011
5795586272 ef6d2f156a b 300x168 Ancient Greek Coins

Greek Silver Tetradrachm of Amphipolis (photo by AncientArt*)

Ancient Greek “Father of History” Herodotus (484–425 BC) wrote that the Lydians were the first to use gold and silver coins and establish permanent retail shops.  Lydia was an ancient Empire in modern day Turkey.  Lydian coins made of electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver, have been found which date back as far as 700 BC.  The dates of silver coins of antiquity are of some debate.  Aristotle (384–322 BC), teacher of Alexander the Great, wrote that the first coins were struck by Demodike who married King Midas.  Yes the one with “the golden touch” of various stories.  There are various modern opinions of these dates.

Regardless, the oldest coin found in the Ancient Old World is of electrum from Lydia with an obverse depicting a lion’s head and sunburst.  Lydian King Alyattes, of the 7th and 6th Centuries BC, standardized the weight of coins, 1 Starter = 168 grains of wheat about 4.7 grams.

2013814729054040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
Ancient Roman Silver Denarius Coin of Lucius Saufeius - 152 BC
Time Remaining: 29d 8h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $135.00
2719156484114040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
Time Remaining: 26d 1h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
3911884943994040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
Ancient Roman Republican Silver Denarius Coin of Quintus Marcius Libo - 148 BC
Time Remaining: 28d 10h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
1718453730464040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
Time Remaining: 29d 19h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $27.00
2619525239104040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
E-Coins Australia Lucania, Velia Silver Nomos Lion stag Ancient Greek coin
Time Remaining: 29d 10h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $176.29
3514343783674040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
Time Remaining: 20d 20h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $25.55
2817385377704040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
193 AD NGC XF Severus ROMAN EMPIRE SILVER Denarius Ancient Coin Rev. Lion Water
Time Remaining: 5d 21h 6m
Buy It Now for only: $175.69
2013811288134040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
Istros AR Obol 4th Century BC "Twins" Greek Silver Coin
Time Remaining: 28d 16h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
1617464307684040 1 Ancient Greek Coins
H24: Ancient Greek silver coin : Histiaia in Euboia -Tetrobol
Time Remaining: 24d 8h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $49.99

Ancient Greek Coins

The other Greek States started producing silver coins around 600-550 BC in denominations call ‘drachma’  The ‘drachma’ then came into use, about 3 grams, and 'obolus' about 0.5 grams.  Because Greece and its people relied very much on ships for commerce the early silver coins quickly migrated all around Greece and then ports, cities, and nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.  Then the idea of minting silver for coins caught on very quickly.

Many early silver drachme of Aegina depicts a tortoise on the obverse and on the reverse is indented with a dolphin and the inscription “A” ‘of the’, then,  “IG” ‘Aeg’.   Athena graces many of these earliest of silver coins, one of the more well known are the tetradrachm coins - 4 drachme silver coins from Athens with Athena wearing a helmet on the obverse and an owl with an olive sprig and a short hand inscription AQE ‘of the Athenians’ on the reverse (440 BC).  The Syracusan coins depicted the nymph Arethusa on the obverse regularly.

There is also a considerable assortment of ancient silver coins minted by the various Persian emperors; the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian all issued their own mints. 

During Alexander the Great's expansion of his empire the religious images on coins where replaced by various rulers’ profiles stamped on the coins they minted as well as other celebrated figures. First the Hellenistic kings and then during the rise of Rome the Romans adapted this tradition.  Silver coins are considered ‘ancient’ if minted before the Byzantine Empire.  Ancient silver coins are very popular numismatic coins.

Byzantine Coins

During the Byzantine era the issue of silver coins dropped considerably due to the lack of reliable supplies of silver being mined.  However during the end of this era silver started being added to the gold coins and a millennium after the early ancient Greek coin production electrum came back as a numismatic metal.

Medieval Coins

During the Medieval era there are Royal, Feudal, Crusader, and Ecclesiastical varieties of silver coins.  These were standardized by Charlemagne during his conquests and rule with the Denier (about 800 AD), or Penny in English, Pfenning in German, and Denaro in Italian. The Denier is a silver coin about the size of the modern United States penny.  This standard was maintained until the 14th Century AD.  There is a great and rich history from other regions as well.

The striving for independence of nations has continually produced their own variation of silver coins throughout the ages and into current times.  Even well established nations have continued using coins to reflect the changes that they have gone through.  This will become more and more evident the deeper you get into silver coin collecting.

51muumucz0L. SL75  Ancient Greek Coins
A Guide to Buying and Selling Peace & Morgan Silver Dollars (U.S. Silver Coin Series Book 2)
51zI%2BtaRxJL. SL75  Ancient Greek Coins
American Silver Eagles: A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program, 2nd Edition
Sale Price: $29.95
shipping Ancient Greek Coins  Eligible for free shipping!
51r6fI37MZL. SL75  Ancient Greek Coins
Coin Collecting For Dummies
List Price: $21.99
Sale Price: $9.99
You save: $12.00 (55%)
shipping Ancient Greek Coins  Eligible for free shipping!
51Kuv7VOLZL. SL75  Ancient Greek Coins
A Guide Book of United States Coins 2015: The Official Red Book Hardcover (Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins)
List Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $8.99
You save: $7.96 (47%)
shipping Ancient Greek Coins  Eligible for free shipping!
51VDVClonsL. SL75  Ancient Greek Coins
The Last 90 Percent Silver United States Coins - A Buying and Selling Guide (U.S. Silver Coin Series Book 1)
515Tj8Kv9vL. SL75  Ancient Greek Coins
A Guidebook of United States Coins 2014: The Official Red Book
List Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $5.99
You save: $10.96 (65%)
shipping Ancient Greek Coins  Eligible for free shipping!

6 comments on “Ancient Greek Coins

  1. betala lån on said:

    Hello. Fantastic text and a good blog

  2. Sell Scrap Gold Jewelry dot Com on said:

    Thanks for all your insight. This site has been really helpful to me…. by the way, hope you don’t mind I plug my site.

  3. That’s freakin awesome.

  4. Gold Buyers Las Vegas on said:

    Cheers, I really agree with what you are saying.

  5. miz crumb on said:

    Hi! a couple of people from this site stopped by my blog and commented, so I wanted to come over and visit

    some of these coins are really amazing! wonder where you get them

    I don’t know if I can leave a link here, but did you happen to see this story about a treasure trove of coins found in a French attic

    miz crumb

  6. Price of Silver Today on said:

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

389,597 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>