Ancient Greek Coins

The first Ancient Greek Coins appeared in Aegina around 600 B.C. 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.

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Achaean League Silver Hemidrachm Good Fine_obv

Achaean League Silver Hemidrachm Good Fine

The Achaean League was originally formed in the 5th Century B.C. but collapsed soon after. When it was reformed around 280 B.C. it quickly grew to include nearly every state in the Peloponnese, except Sparta. It was formed to defend the small states against the larger empires, namely Macedon in the north. Over time the League grew more powerful, defeated Sparta and ruled the whole of the Peloponnese but changed its allegiance to Rome. Sadly for them this eventually lead to Rome gaining domination over all Greece and disbanding the League in all but name in 146 B.C. with the coins continuing until 30 B.C. What makes the League so interesting is that it was a very early example of Federalism, a system where central government shares power with regional governments. It was from the writings of Polybius, a Greek historian who was a roman hostage, that we know about the workings of the League. This infl uenced many modern state founders, chiefly the founding fathers of the United States of America! We have a small group of the Silver Hemidrachm made by the states in the League between 280 and 30 B.C. They have Zeus on the obverse with the Leagues monogram on the reverse. Each coin comes identified as to which state struck it and at what time. These Hemidrachm grade at least Good Fine and we have priced them to please in these times.
£95.00
Alexander_the_Great_Silver_Drachm_obv

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

Silver drachm coin minted by Alexander the Great (336-323 BC). Obverse: Alexander as Herakles wearing lion-skin head-dress. Reverse: Zeus enthroned holding eagle and sceptre. Very Fine Condition
£195.00
Alexander The Great Silver Drachm FINE_obv

Alexander The Great Silver Drachm FINE

Everyone has heard of Alexander the Great but most collectors can only dream of owning a coin issued by him. We have just bought a small group of his silver drachms and we got a great deal on them so we are going to pass that deal on to you. On one side you have the head of Herakles wearing a lion’s skin head-dress and on the other side Alexander’s name ‘AΛEΞANΔPOY’ in Greek script with the seated figure of Zeus holding an eagle and sceptre. We can off er them in two grades Fine and Very Fine. Alexander was born in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He died in the Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon at the age of 32 having created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, his campaigns legendary then and now.
£129.50
Alexander the Great. 336-323 B.C., Struck by Ptolemies in 3rd Century B.C. AR Tetradrachm_obv

Alexander the Great. 336-323 B.C., Struck by Ptolemies in 3rd Century B.C. AR Tetradrachm.

Alexander the Great. 336-323 B.C., Struck by Ptolemies in 3rd Century B.C. AR Tetradrachm. Head of Herakles in lionskin headdress right / Zeus Aetophorus seated left holding eagle & sceptre; Head of Helios Countemark. Fine and Scarce Countermark!
£160.00
Attica_Athens_Ca_431-393 B.C. AR_Tetradrachm_AOE_obv

Attica, Athens. Ca. 431-393 B.C. AR Tetradrachm. AOE. Extremely Fine + Floating Frame Display

These beautiful silver Tetradrachms of Athens are one of the most important and iconic coins ever struck. They were made from the silver mined at Laurion near Athens in the 5th century BC, making them around 2500 years, old and were known for their fineness of silver and standard weight so were accepted all over the known world at the time. The wonderful high-relief design has the helmeted head of the goddess Athena on one side and on the reverse, the eponymous owl of Athens with a sprig of olive above to signify Athens's trade in olive oil, with ‘AΘE’ beside meaning ‘of the Athenians’. The coins on offer are in Extremely Fine condition, a very high grade for an ancient coin, and each coin comes in a ‘floating frame’ to showcase these magnificent coins together with a certificate of authenticity. True ancient works of art in superb condition. Only a very limited number are available. Photograph is representative of coin supplied but all coins available are at least the grade illustrated (Extremely Fine).
£995.00
Calabria, Tarentum. Ca. 280-228 B.C. AR Obol_obv

Calabria, Tarentum. Ca. 280-228 B.C. AR Obol.

Calabria, Tarentum. Ca. 280-228 B.C. AR Obol. Kantharos; three pellets around / Kantharos; flanked by pellet left & tripod right. About Extremely Fine, toned & Scarce.
£150.00
Cilicia, Tarsos. Satrap: Tarkumuwa (Datames) - Ca. 380-360 B.C., AR Obol_rev

Cilicia, Tarsos. Satrap: Tarkumuwa (Datames) - Ca. 380-360 B.C., AR Obol.

Cilicia, Tarsos. Satrap: Tarkumuwa (Datames) - Ca. 380-360 B.C., AR Obol. Diademed female head (likely Aphrodite) right / Helmeted male head (likely Ares) right. Extremely Fine & Very Scarce.
£390.00
Cilicia, Uncertain mint. Ca. 4th Century B.C. AR Obol. Eagle_obv

Cilicia, Uncertain mint. Ca. 4th Century B.C. AR Obol. Eagle.

Cilicia, Uncertain mint. Ca. 4th Century B.C., AR Obol. Male head left wearing wreath of grain ears / Eagle standing left spreading wings; club in left field; all within pelleted square. Toned About Extremely Fine & Scarce. Eagle is on a lion that is off-struck.
£220.00
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.

Dynasts of Lycia, Perikles. Ca. 380-360 B.C. AR 1/3 Stater. Lion's scalp / Legend around Triskeles. Very Fine.
£185.00
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. Add this ancient coin to your collection. Priced to please!
£55.00
Greek_Dolphin_Money_from_Olibia

Greek Dolphin Money from Olibia

This is something you will not see often. These bronze coins from Greek colony city of Olbia in Thrace were cast in the shape of a dolphin! They were made to honour their god Apollo Delphinios. This name is linked to the story of Cretan sailors in a storm who were guided to safety by Apollo shaped as a dolphin, landing at Delphi they became his priests. It also likely that the people were imitating what they saw, there were large numbers of dolphins in the Black Sea and still are today! Playful and intelligent, they would have been as friendly then as they are now. These were cast in bronze in the 5th to 4th centuries B.C., and because of this process do not have a tail. They show the body, the vast majority have the dorsal fin and some will even have eye pellets. As always the first to order will get the best, in this case the shape and features!
£24.50
Illyrian_Silver_Drachm_obv

Illyrian Silver Drachm

In about 600 B.C. the Greek city of Corinth sent colonists up the coast to Illyria (which roughly corresponds to the modern Balkans) to create a city for trade. These Greek colonists prospered and spread but by the 3rd Century B.C. they needed the Romans to stop the Ardiaei pirates from plundering their cities & trade routes. This lead to three Illyrian Wars between 229-168 B.C. and after this the area came under Roman protection. From about 200 B.C. two cities in the area, Apollonia & Dyrrachium (Epidamnos) started to mint these Greek silver drachm coins for use in trade. On the obverse they a fertility symbol of a cow suckling a calf. On the reverse a double geometric pattern which scholars think is a schematic representation of the two stars of the Dioscuri. They grade Very Fine and continued to be struck until the arrival of Julius Caesar in 48 B.C. stopped the production. These will make great additions to any collection or an exciting present!
£95.00
Ionia, Ephesos. 82-81 B.C. AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm_obv

Ionia, Ephesos. 82-81 B.C. AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm.

Ionia, Ephesos. 82-81 B.C. AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm. Serpent emerging from cista mystica; all within ivy wreath / Two serpents entwined around bow & bowcase, torch right field. Very Fine. Struck as part of a closed monetary system, they weighed three Drachma but were valued at four.
£190.00
Kings of Cappadocia. Ariobarzanes III. 52-42 B.C., AR Drachm_obv

Kings of Cappadocia. Ariobarzanes III. 52-42 B.C., AR Drachm.

Kings of Cappadocia. Ariobarzanes III. 52-42 B.C., AR Drachm. Diademed head of Ariobarzanes III right / Athena standing to left holding Nike, spear & resting on a shield. About Very Fine.
£49.50
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.
£90.00
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
Lycia, Zagaba. Ca. 400-380 B.C. AR Tetrobol.

Lycia, Zagaba. Ca. 400-380 B.C. AR Tetrobol.

Lycia, Zagaba. Ca. 400-380 B.C., AR Third Stater. Lion's scalp facing / Facing head of helmeted Athena, Lycian legend to left & monogram to right. About Very Fine & Rare!
£295.00
Lykaonia, Laranda. Very Fine Wolf Obol._obv

Lykaonia, Laranda. Very Fine Wolf Obol.

Lykaonia was an area in what is now central Turkey, north of the Taurus Mountains. Lukkawanna, the Ancient Hittite name for the area, came from the 2nd millennium B.C. and translated as ‘Land of Lukka’ with ‘Lukka’ meaning wolf. The Ancient Greek for wolf was ‘Lykos’ so this archaic association with wolves was already thousands of years old when this coin was struck. This association is celebrated on the silver obols we are offering here with an impressively engraved forepart of a wolf on the reverse of the coin. The obverse shows Baaltars, the local version of the Greek god, Zeus. This parallel can be seen in the way he is seated and holding his sceptre, the same as Zeus on Alexander the Great’s coinage. These coins grade Very Fine and were struck at the city of Laranda. They date to the middle of the 4th century B.C. and we only have a small group, I hope you get one!
£65.00
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.
£95.00
Macedon. Kassander. 317-305 B.C., Æ 1/2 Unit_obv

Macedon. Kassander. 317-305 B.C., Æ 1/2 Unit.

Macedon. Kassander. 317-305 B.C., Æ 1/2 Unit. Herakles head in Nemean lionskin right / Lion seated right. Good Fine.
£75.00
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!
£85.00
Seleukid Kingdom. Demetrios I. 162-150 B.C., AR Drachm_obv

Seleukid Kingdom. Demetrios I. 162-150 B.C., AR Drachm.

Seleukid Kingdom. Demetrios I. 162-150 B.C., AR Drachm. Diademed head right / Cornucopiae; monograms & legends around. Good Very Fine with toning.
£365.00
Sicily, Syracuse. Hiketas II. 287-278 B.C. Æ 22_obv

Sicily, Syracuse. Hiketas II. 287-278 B.C. Æ 22.

Sicily, Syracuse. Hiketas II. 287-278 B.C. Æ 22. Laureate head of Zeus Hellanios R. / Eagle standing L. on thunderbolt. Good Very Fine & Scarce. Zeus Hellanios can mean 'Zeus worshipped by all Hellenes'
£385.00
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
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!
£60.00

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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