Ancient Archaic Era Coins
630 - 480 BC

We have specimens from Archaic Greece and the Persian Empire

The Archaic Era is preceded by the Greek Dark Ages (c.1200- 800 BCE), and is followed by the Classical Period (c. 510- 323 BCE). Numismatically this is the world's first coinage and is characterized by cruder, naturalistic designs. Many of these coins are uniface: having a design on one side with a simple punch mark on the reverse. While the term "archaic" is applied to Greece, it was the pioneer in the development of coinage, thus the label will be applied to other civilizations' coinage of this time.

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Classical Greek Era

pictures of coin coin notes history notes
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 {see below} 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.

The Electrum Coinage of Samos in the Light of a Recent Hoard3.415 MB
Dr. Rudolf Habelt, Bonn, Germany, exact pub date unknown but after 2004

Samos 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 daric

Gorney & Mosche
1992, lot# ___

Acheamid Persia, gold daric

Macedon, City State of Akanthos


Lydia, croeseid foree
(510-480 BC)

22 May, 2014, lot# 111

These coins are attributed to the Greek independent kingdom of Lydia where they are arguably the 1st silver coinage. They are commonly referred to as Croisads.

Ancient Lydia was

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Classical Greek Era