Ancient Greek Coins

The first Ancient Greek Coins appeared in Aegina around 600 BCE and were amongst the first coins ever minted by a western civilization. Their design tells the story of a fascinating civilisation. A society that minted coins to celebrate outstanding individuals, gods, and religious practices, as well as ancient international relations. Examples are the Alexander the Great coins the Athenian Owl, and the Obol, just to name a few.

What were Ancient Greek Coins Called?

The coins of Ancient Greece, as well as modern-day Greece pre-euro, were called Drachma. The denominations used in the old city-states of Greece, differ from city-state to city-state (polis) and derive from the weights for gold and silver merchants used to trade goods. To make matters worse, the weights used also differed from era to era. And as you may know, their coinage went through 4 different periods: the Archaic, the Classical, the Hellenistic, and the Roman. So here too, there are substantial differences coin collectors need to be aware of.

So in the name of keeping things simple for newbie coin collectors, we are going to use the Attic standard to answer this question. As it was the most popular weight standard in the Greek world, due to the power and influence of Athens across the ancient world.  In this standard, the Drachm is the base, divided by obols with a sixth of the value.

Starting from largest to smallest, the denominations of Greek coins were as follows:

  • Dekadrachm – ratio of 10
  • Tetradrachm – ratio of 4
  • the Drachm – ratio 1
  • Tetrobol – ratio of 2/3
  • Triobol/Hemidrachm – ratio of 1/2
  • Diobol – ratio of 1/3
  • Trihemiobol – ratio of 1/4
  • Obol – ratio of 1/6
  • Tritartemorion  – ratio of 1/8
  • Hemiobol – ratio of 1/12
  • Trihemitartemorion – ratio of 1/16
  • Tetartemorion –  ratio of 1/24

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Alexander_the_Great_Silver_Drachm_obv

Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), Silver Drachm

Silver drachm coin minted by Alexander the Great (336-323 BC). Obverse: Head of Herakles wearing lion-skin head-dress. Reverse: Zeus enthroned holding eagle and sceptre. Very Fine Condition Actual size of coin varies between 15-17mm diameter PHOTOGRAPH IS REPRESENTATIVE OF COIN SUPPLIED
£195.00
Picture of Alexander the Great Tetradrachm VF

Alexander the Great Tetradrachm VF

Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), Silver Tetradrachm (25mm). Obverse: Head of Alexander as Herakles wearing lion-skin head-dress. Reverse: Zeus enthroned holding eagle and sceptre. Very Fine Condition. PHOTOGRAPH IS REPRESENTATIVE OF COIN SUPPLIED.
£375.00
Ancient Greek Bronze Tanged Arrowhead

Ancient Greek Bronze Tanged Arrowhead

We were sorting out old stock we have recently relocated and we discovered these Ancient Greek bronze arrowheads! They date from Ca. 1000-600 B.C. and have a wide, slashing head. This meant they would have been e effective for hunting or war, which at the time was mostly fought between unarmoured warriors. While the size varies slightly they average 45 mm long with the tang that would have been socketed into a shaft to make the arrow. They come with a certificate of authenticity and are priced at only £49.50! A nearly 3000-year-old artefact! Let's hope they don't vanish before you get the chance to buy yours…
£49.50
Aspendos Stater 400-350 B.C_obv

Aspendos Stater 400-350 B.C.

The ancient City of Aspendos in Pamphylia is famous for its ancient coins. They were an early city to mint regularly to display their great wealth from trade. These silver Stater coins were struck about 400-350 B.C. and show Olympic wrestlers on the obverse with a slinger on the reverse. Likely because the word sling (σφενδόνη) sounds similar to the name of the city (ασπενδοζ), the Ancient Greeks loved a pun! These coins were used in their local area and across the ancient world. If a person accepting this as payment wanted to be sure it was solid silver they would make a ‘test-cut’ into the Stater to see the core without losing any silver. Some then stamped it with a mark to show they had checked the coin, ancient quality control! We bought this fascinating group for a great deal so we offer these trade coins to you at inflation busting prices, just £195 for 11g of Ancient Greek silver with individual history! An ancient person once looked at this coin in their pocket like you do today…
£195.00
Bronze coin of Timoleon of Syracuse_obv

Bronze coin of Timoleon of Syracuse

Syracuse was founded by people from Corinth in the 8th Century B.C. They would often call on the mother city in times of trouble and in 344 B.C. when Sicily was at the mercy of the tyrants, Dionysius & Hicetas, Timoleon was sent to help. He defeated them and their Carthaginian allies and a treaty in 338 B.C. set up a democracy which he was involved in until his death in 337 B.C. These bronze coins date to this period of change in Sicily. The obverse shows Athena in Corinthian helmet with the reverse a Hippocamp, the horse of the sea. These are Scarce coins in a Very Good grade at only £25 for an over 2300-year-old coin.
£25.00
Cilicia, Kelenderis. Ca. 450-400 B.C. AR Stater_obv

Cilicia, Kelenderis. Ca. 450-400 B.C. AR Stater.

Cilicia, Kelenderis. Ca. 450-400 B.C. AR Stater. Nude ephebe L. dismounting from horse at the gallop in a calpe or anabates race / goat crouching L., head to R. Very Fine & Scarce.
£425.00
Cilicia_Mallos_Ca_440-390 B.C._AR_Stater_obv

Cilicia, Mallos. Ca. 440-390 B.C. AR Stater.

Cilicia, Mallos. Ca. 440-390 B.C. AR Stater. Bearded & winged male deity (Kronos?) in kneeling-running stance to right, holding solar disc with both hands / 'MA?' swan standing left, with wings uplifted. About Very Fine, archaic & Scarce. Mallos had an oracle where people would dream in the temple to receive the gods instructions. The Swan is most likely for Apollo.
£725.00
Cyprus_Kition_Azbaal_Ca. 449-425 B.C. AR Stater_obv

Cyprus, Kition. Azbaal - Ca. 449-425 B.C. AR Stater.

Cyprus, Kition. Azbaal - Ca. 449-425 B.C. AR Stater. Herakles in fighting stance right wearing lion skin & holding bow with club overhead / Lion attacking (from behind) a stag, facing right, inside dotted border within incuse square. Obverse struck from worn die as usual for these, Very Fine & Rare. Made during the time of Persian rule on Cyprus. The founder of Stoicism, Zeno, was from this city.
£495.00
Dynasts of Lycia, Perikles. Ca. 380-360 B.C. AR 1/3 Stater_obv

Dynasts of Lycia, Perikles. Ca. 380-360 B.C. AR 1/3 Stater. VF

Dynasts of Lycia, Perikles. Ca. 380-360 B.C. AR 1/3 Stater. Lion's scalp facing / Legend around Triskeles. Very Fine.
£215.00
Dynasts of Lycia. Trbbenimi - Ca. 390-370 B.C. 1/3 Stater_obv

Dynasts of Lycia. Trbbenimi - Ca. 390-370 B.C. 1/3 Stater.

Dynasts of Lycia. Trbbenimi - Ca. 390-370 B.C. AR 1/3 Stater. Facing lion's scalp / The name in Lycian around Triskeles. Very Fine & Scarce.
£225.00
Picture of Gorgon of Parion Silver Drachm 5th Century B.C.

Gorgon of Parion Silver Drachm 5th Century B.C.

Founded in 709 B.C., the ancient city of Parion is the present day town of Kemer in Canakkale province of Turkey. It was a major coastal city and trading port with two harbours. Parion enjoyed strong relations with Thrace and Anatolia throughout history and it was the main customs station through which all goods bound for Constantinople (Istanbul) from Greece and the Aegean had to pass. After being conquered by the Persian Empire in the 6th Century B.C. it passed to Lysimachus in the 4th Century B.C. and then the Attalids in the 3rd. From one tyrant to another! A local city-coinage system was introduced by the ancient Greeks and continued through to Roman times with later coins being issued in the name of the emperor. The image of the Gorgoneion was used to ward off evil and for that reason was put on door frames, shields and, of course, on coins! We have recently bought a small collection of archaic Silver Drachm made in this city in the 5th Century B.C.. The obverse shows the facing head of a Gorgoneion with a protruding tongue and the reverse depicts a disorganized linear pattern within an incuse square. The coins are all in a Fine condition as they were used at the time and have survived from 2400 years ago! But they are a fascinating charm to ward off evil, then and now. Pick up this ancient coin for just £90, priced to please!
£64.50
Histiaia, Euboia, ca. 340-330BC, Silver Tetrobol_obv

Histiaia, Euboia, ca. 340-330BC, Silver Tetrobol

Histiaia, Euboia, ca. 340-330BC, Silver Tetrobol. Obverse: Head of the nymph Histiaia wreathed with vine and hair rolled facing to right. Reverse.: The nymph Histiaia seated to right on the stern of a galley. Very Fine+
£85.00
Islands off Thrace, Thasos, AR Tetradrachm (29mm), Head Of Dionysos_obv

Islands off Thrace, Thasos, AR Tetradrachm (29mm), Head Of Dionysos

Islands off Thrace, Thasos, ca.148-90 BC. Silver Tetradrachm. Obv. Head of young Dionysos to right. Rev. Herakles standing naked left holding club and lion's skin. About Extremely Fine / Good Very Fine
£450.00
Lampsakos Trihemiobol 5th Century B.C_obv

Lampsakos Trihemiobol 5th Century B.C.

Lampsakos (Latinised as Lampsacus) was an ancient Greek city on the Eastern side of the Hellespont, founded in the 7th Century B.C. It grew rich controlling trade through this corridor so during the 6th-4th centuries B.C. It was conquered by the Lydians, then Persians, then Athenians, Spartans, and finally Persia again. Captured in the 330s B.C. by Alexander the Great he threatened destruction on them as he thought them pro-Persian. They sent Anaximenes of Lampsakos who heard Alexander had sworn to do the opposite they asked, so he said, ‘Please majesty: enslave the women and children of Lampsakos, burn their temples, and raze the city to the ground.’ Alexander was tricked and reluctantly pardoned the people of Lampsakos. It prospered for the rest of antiquity. We have a little group of small silver coins from this city dating between 500-450 B.C. They have the early, archaic style showing a female Janiform (one face forward, one backward) head on the obverse with Athena in a Corinthian helmet on the reverse. They are about 2500 years old, grade About Very Fine and the first to order will get the best centred examples! At this price, we do not expect them to stay long.
£95.00
Lucania_Metapontum_Ca. 470-440 B.C. AR Nomos_obv

Lucania, Metapontum. Ca. 470-440 B.C. AR Nomos.

Lucania, Metapontum. Ca. 470-440 B.C. AR Nomos. Barley ear; in left field a ram's head facing upward / Incuse barley ear. About Very Fine & Scarce. A well known coin from antiquity the incuse is said to have been designed by Pythagoras, the school childs bane.
£295.00
Lycian League. Lycia, Phaselis. Ca. 100-88 B.C. AR Drachm_rev

Lycian League. Lycia, Phaselis. Ca. 100-88 B.C. AR Drachm.

Lycian League. Lycia, Phaselis. Ca. 100-88 B.C. AR Hemidrachm. Laur. head of Apollo R. / Lyre, headress of Isis L., torch to R., in incuse square. About Extremely Fine.
£95.00
Macedon, Philip II (358-336 B.C.) AE.18 Very Fine_obv

Macedon, Philip II (358-336 B.C.) AE.18 Choice Good Very Fine

Philip II ruled from 359-336 B.C. and began the rise of the Kingdom of Macedon. He reformed the army and was able to dominate the rest of the Greek city-states. As he was preparing to invade the Achaemenid Persian Empire he was assassinated by a member of his bodyguard so his son Alexander the Great took over, how different history could have been! The last time we had this type they sold out in all grades and it has been hard to get more! These bronze coins grade Very Fine, show the head of Apollo on the obverse and a naked youth on horseback on the reverse. Be the proud owner of a nearly two and a half thousand-year-old coin of Philip II of Macedon, Father of Alexander the Great.
£110.00
Miletos Diobol 520-450 B.C_obv

Miletos Diobol 520-450 B.C. Good Fine

The city of Miletos on the coast of modern Turkey has been occupied since the Neolithic, rising and falling a few times before this coin was made between 520-450 B.C. In 499 B.C. the Ionion Revolt started, headed by Miletos’ tyrant, Aristagoras, against the Achaemenid Persian Empire. This revolt was the first act of the famous Greco-Persian Wars! Despite a good start it was crushed by Darius the Great in 494 B.C. He killed the men, sold the women & children into slavery with the young men made eunuchs so that no Milesian would ever be born again. Don’t worry, some had escaped to Greece so Miletos survived and the Persians quickly rebuilt the city for trade. These small silver coins called a Diobol were made before and after the revolt, show a Lion on the obverse with a stellate pattern on the reverse. Archaic, Greek silver coin in Good Fine grade, nearly £2,500 years old and at under £100!
£95.00
Picture of Seleukid Kingdom. Antiochos I. 280-261 B.C. Seleucia on the Tigris. AR Tetradrachm.

Seleukid Kingdom. Antiochos I. 280-261 B.C. Seleucia on the Tigris. AR Tetradrachm.

Seleukid Kingdom. Antiochos I. 280-261 B.C. Seleucia on the Tigris. AR Tetradrachm. Diad. head of Antiochos with middle-aged features / Naked Apollo seated L. on Omphalos holding arrow; Monograms to L. & R. About Very Fine & Scarce as early in the dynasty.
£425.00
Silver Drachm of Parion 6th Century B.C. Very Fine_obv

Silver Drachm of Parion 6th Century B.C. Very Fine

Founded in 709 B.C., the ancient city of Parion is the present day town of Kemer in Turkey. The image of the Gorgoneion was used to ward off evil and so was put on this silver Drachm made in Parion in the 6th Century B.C. We have two grades, Fine & Very Fine, a fascinating charm, 2500 years ago and now.
£75.00
Thessaly, Larissa, ca. 344-337 B.C., Silver Trihemiobol_obv

Thessaly, Larissa, ca. 344-337 B.C., Silver Trihemiobol

Thessaly, Larissa, ca.344-337 B.C.. Silver Trihemiobol. Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa three quarter facing to left with her hair floating loosely. Reverse: Thessalian horseman galloping to right holding a spear, ΛAP-I Σ around, AIΩN below. About Very Fine
£125.00
Thrace, Cherronesos Hemidrachm Good Fine_obv

Thrace, Cherronesos Hemidrachm Good Fine

These silver coins come from the Greek colony of Cherronesos, on the present-day Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. They were issued over the period from 400-350 B.C. to support trade with cities along the coast of the Black Sea. They feature the forepart of a lion on the obverse and on the reverse a four-part incuse square with various mintmark symbols. A striking coin and now nearly 2400 years old!
£75.00

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