Ancient Greek, Persian, and Egyptian Coins

This encompasses ancient Greek cities, and Ancient non-Greek Empires

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Electrum stater
Flying Bird Design
Samoan weight standard, 17.32 g
mid 7th century B.C.E.

Stack's NYICS auction Jan 5, 2012, lot# 267
(photo by Stack's)

The Samoan electrum coins have been found in several hoards. One hoard was found in the 1880's and included one full stater. Another hoard dates from the 1960's and only has fractional pieces.

Electrum is described as a "naturally occurring alloy of gold & silver traceable to certain deposits found near the Western coast of the Mediterranean.

A paper discussing these coins includes a detailed compositional analysis. The trend is that as the denomination of the coin increases, the % gold in the alloy decreases. Thus the small denomimations, such as the 1/12 th staters and smaller can reach 80% gold. The full stater was analyzed at 40% gold / 60% silver and that appears to be visually the case with this specimen.

Samoa is an Ionian island in the Aegean Sea.

Aegina, silver didrachma also called a stater
480 - 457 B.C.

(StacksBowers NYINCS 8 Jan 2016, #30074)
(The Syracuse Collection, Part III. Ex: Coin Galleries November 2002, Lot# 122)

Aegina, silver didrachma 12.30 gms,
Milbank-pl. I#13; SNG Cop-507
smooth shelled turtle or rather T-shaped pellets on back

Darius I (r. 522 - 486 BC)
Persian gold dirac

Gorney & Mosche
1992, lot# ___

Acheamid Persia, gold dirac

Independent City State
silver tetradrachm, ca. 510 BC

Harlan J. Berk Auction #200
January 2017, lot# 51, inv# cc87413

The ubiquitous and persistent theme of the lion-bull combat can be traced back to the figurate art of the third millennium, where the geometrical motifs are replaced by symbolic representations, and the scene is characteristic of Near Eastern art in its infancy. The earliest known depiction occurs on a ewer found at Uruk dated to the latter part of the Protoliterate period, circa 3300 BC. The scene became widely distributed by 500 BC, featuring prominently in the Achaemenid Empire, and in particular at the palace of Darios in Persepolis.
from Roma Numismatics

Note that Akanthos was also allied with Achmead Persia and refused to join the Greek Athenian Alliance. It was also an ally of Sparta at various times. Due to this it was not destroyed by Philip II of Macedon and was coopted into his Empire ca. 350 BC.

Athens silver tetradrachm
480 - 420 B.C.E.
(photo by Stack's)

These were trade coins. Typically these were issued from 449 - 413 BC, however this one was described as struck from 480 BC: slightly earlier. Not sure sure why, have to talk with a specialist in these.

Phoenician city of Sidon
silver Dishekel also called an Octadrachm
King Abdashtart (Straton) I
reigned 365-352 BC ?
(27mm, est wt 25.5 g), dated royal year 2 (362 - 361 BC)


Egypt, Ptolemy II bronze
(r. 283-246 BC)
47 mm diam, 98.1 grams

Tom Cederlind Auctions,
22 May, 2014, lot# 111

While on-line charts seem to indicate this is Ptolemy III, I've been advised that the consensus of research indicates Ptolemy II. Also the size and weight of these is supposedly unusual at 98.1 grams. Ptolemaic bronzes at 67 grams and lighter are among the most common and inexpensive of large module ancient coins.

The circular pit in the coin center was used for machining purposes of the cast planchlets but unlike the Aes Grave series, these were struck coins. There are several excellent sites devoted just to Ptolemaic bronzes:

I should mention that Tom Cederlind appears to be a very knowledgeable ancient coin dealer and unlike some, he likes to talk to collectors about coins. You can find his website here:

Ancient Egypt was conquered and incorporated into the Persian Empire. They rebelled against Persian rule in 404 BC, although ultimately had to wait for Alexander of Macedon before gaining some degree of independence. They became independent until conquered again by the Romans ~30 BC. These large bronze coins were struck while they were an independent nation.

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