Gold Coins
Greek Gold Coins
index greek roman
other ancients byzantine medieval angel early modern modern and Brtish
Indian
royal
and
coronaton
gold

artnouveau gold

 

artnouveau silver

Greek Silver Coins

Coinage was invented in the seventh century BCE in the Black Sea region northeast of Greece, where the alluvial flow of gold and silver mixed together yeilded the metal known as electrum. Gold and Silver had been used by the earliest Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations as a store of wealth, and a medium of trade. But this naturally occuring electrum was first coined by the kings of Lydia, Miletos, Ephesos, Phokia, and then Lesbos and Kyzykos.

These coins undoubtedly were responsible for a boom in trade both between city-states, and in the rapid escalation of local markets. Herodutus famously refered to the Lydians as a nation of shopkeepers.

The largest unit of trade was the "Stater" which was a translation of the semitic "Shekel," a unit of weight used in the semitic East. Weights varied from between 14 and 16 grams according to local standards. These staters were broken down into trites (thirds) hektes (sixths) and various smaller units.

Croesus of Lydia was the first king to separate the electrum to issue gold and silver coins circa 545 BCE. He was conquered by Darios of Persia who issued his own gold and silver coinage. Coinage spread quickly in the early fifth century BCE through the Greek city states. Most of the trade coinage was silver, while gold was most often reserved for emergency issues associated with war.

Solon of Athens is credited as the man who not only codified the laws the governed Athenian Democracy but also introduced coinage from the Black Sea Area. It is said that he visited the court of Croesus, where Croesus asked him who the happiest man on earth must be. When Solon told him it was Tellus of Athens, a man governed in all things by the Athenian ideal of perfect moderation, Croesus banished Solon from Lydia. A short time later, when Croesus was conquered by Darios and about to be put to death he exclaimed: "If I had only listened to Solon!"

 

Grading: Many coins have been graded at NGC by David Vagi, the head of the new ancients department. Though this service has not yet been embraced by some dealers, I believe it is a crucial step towards bringing uniformity and objectivity into the grading and authentication process.

Ancient coins are works of art; no two are alike, and a grade is just a subjective guideline. At the same time, I credit NGC with developing a nuanced grading system that tends to give a more comprehensive grade than a simple numerical value. In the long run, it is inevitable that collectors will benefit from this developement.

CH: choice, MS: minst state, AU: about uncirculated, XF: extremely fine, VF: Very Fine. Important additional grades are given to the strike and surface of the coin.

Two additional notations of importance for ancient coins:

The NGC "**" (star) designation indicates a coin of superior visual appeal, resulting in an image far more beautiful than the technical grade might suggest.

"Fine Style" coins are often recognized by this notation. In all art, style is at least as important as condition. Ancient celators (die engravers) ranged from journeymen who simply knew how to operate the equipment to world famous artists hired expressly to dignifiy particular issues. For obvious reasons, great works of art are valued differently than pedestrian utilitarian issues.

POR (price on request) coins are those of great rarity due to the coin and condition. This makes these coins most difficult to replace.

MACEDONIA: Philip II of Macedon (359-336 BCE) inherited a war torn country from his brother Pedikas III. From his years as hostage of neighboring Thebes he learned the military strategy based on the phalanx whose manoevers were hidden by rows of warriors bearing "sarissas" - immensely long spears. A gifted warrior and statesmen, Philip, by a combination of strategic alliances and dramatic wars, managed to conquer Macedonia, Illyria, Epirus, Thrace, Thessaly and all of Greece save Sparta. He then set his eyes on Persia, but was murdered on the eve of his planned invasion. His Son Alexander, who was tutored by Aristotle, inherited the throne and conquered Persia and then India, extending his Empire throughout most of the known world.

Seleuked Kingdom, Antiochus II (261-246 BCE)

AR Tetracdrachm (16.74gm) Obv Head of Antiochus I, Rev: Apollo seated on omphalos ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY

NGC grade XF, strk 5/5, sruf 3/5
sold

ATHENS: Solon of Athens is credited as the man who not only codified the laws the governed Athenian Democracy but also introduced coinage from the Black Sea Area. It is said that he visited the court of Croesus, where Croesus asked him who the happiest man on earth must be. When Solon told him it was Tellus of Athens, a man governed in all things by the Athenian ideal of perfect moderation, Croesus banished Solon from Lydia. A short time later, when Croesus was conquered by Darios and about to be put to death he exclaimed: "If I had only listened to Solon!" Darios, asked what he meant, and upon hearing the story, he spared Croesus' life.

Attica, Athens, Ca 454-404 BCE

AR Tetradrachm (17.16 gm) Obv: Helmeted head of Athena, Rev: Owl standing rt. Olive sprig and moon behind, within incuse square.
Kroll 8, SNG COP 31

NGC graded AU strk 5/5 surf 3/5
sold

Attica, Athens, Ca 454-404 BCE

AR Tetradrachm (17.14 gm) Obv: Helmeted head of Athena, Rev: Owl standing rt. Olive sprig and moon behind, within incuse square.

NGC Graded: Mint State, stk 5/5 surf 5/5
sold

 


For info, comments, purchase requests contact: Jeff Kahn at Jkahn21@nyc.rr.com
Rare Gold Coins | Greek Gold Coins | Medieval Gold Coins | Roman Gold Coins