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_Great_Tetradrachm_GF_obv

Alexander Great Tetradrachm GF

Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), Silver Tetradrachm (25mm) in Good Fine Condition. Obverse: Head of Alexander as Herakles wearing lion-skin head-dress. Reverse: Zeus enthroned holding eagle and sceptre. Good Fine Condition. PHOTOGRAPH IS REPRESENTATIVE OF COIN SUPPLIED.
£195.00
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
Alexander the Great Silver Tetradrachm 3rd Century B.C. Countermarked_obv

Alexander the Great Silver Tetradrachm 3rd Century B.C. Countermarked

Everyone has heard of Alexander the Great but most collectors only dream of owning a coin in his name. We have a small group of silver tetradrachms that were struck in his name by the Ptolemaic dynasty in the 3rd Century B.C. On one side you have the head of Herakles wearing a lion’s skin headdress and on the other Alexander’s name ‘AΛEΞANΔPOY’ in Greek script with the seated Zeus holding an eagle and sceptre. These particular coins also have a countermark of an anchor that would have allowed them to circulate in Seleukid lands, three kingdoms for the price of one! They are struck on a large flan, grade About Very Fine with some discolouration from their time spent in the ground, don’t miss out on owning an Alexander the Great Tetradrachm struck in the 3rd Century.
£149.50
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
Attica_Athens_Ca_431-393 B.C. AR_Tetradrachm_AOE_obv

Attica, Athens. Ca. 431-393 B.C. AR Tetradrachm. AOE. About Extremely Fine

Attica, Athens. Ca. 431-393 B.C. AR Tetradrachm. Helmeted head of Athena right / Owl standing facing, olive sprig with crescent moon to left & 'AOE' to right. About Extremely Fine & Scarce. Made using the silver from the mines of Laurion during the Peloponnesian War. A Classic coin everyone knows. PHOTOGRAPH IS REPRESENTATIVE OF COIN SUPPLIED.
£1,100.00
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
Picture of Crete, Rhaukos, Silver Stater, 350-330 B.C. VF

Crete, Rhaukos, Silver Stater, 350-330 B.C. VF

Silver Stater from Rhaukos, Crete dating from ca.350-330 B.C. (S.3374) Very Fine
£850.00
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
Picture of Drachm of Ariobarzanes III Very Good

Drachm of Ariobarzanes III Very Good

Ariobarzanes III of Cappadocia was one of the last of the true Greek kings. He had the surnames ‘Eusebes Philorhomaios’ meaning ‘Pious and Friend of the Romans’. He earned this as the Roman senate helped put him on the throne about 52 B.C., just before the huge Roman civil war between the Senate, under Pompey the Great, and Julius Caesar. Repaying this he supported Pompey and the Roman Senate against Julius Caesar but when it was obvious that Caesar would win he switched sides to survive. Eventually, though this ‘treachery’ caught up with him! In 42 B.C. he was killed by one of Caesar's assassins, Gaius Cassius Longinus, for being fed up and refusing to allow more Romans to interfere in his kingdom. We offer a Silver Drachm from Cappadocia of Ariobarzanes III. They grade Very Good and show his head on the obverse with Athena holding Nike on the reverse. Add to your collection one of the last truly Greek silver coins from a ruler who learned the hard way, what did the Romans do for us!
£49.50
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
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!
£19.95
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
Kimmerian Bosporos, Pantikapaion. Ca. 325-310 B.C. Æ 19.

Kimmerian Bosporos, Pantikapaion. Ca. 325-310 B.C. Æ 19.

Kimmerian Bosporos, Pantikapaion. Ca. 325-310 B.C.Æ 19. Ivy wreathed head of young satyr L. / ‘Π-Α-N’ around head of lion L. with sturgeon below. Good Very Fine & Scarce
£295.00
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-ca-167-100-bc-olympus-mint-ar-hemidrachm_obv

Lycian League. Ca. 167-100 B.C. Olympus mint. AR Hemidrachm.

Lycian League. Ca. 167-100 B.C. Olympus mint. AR Hemidrachm. Head of Apollo R. / Lyre with sword to L. & shield to R., legend above. Extremely Fine & Rare with mintmarks.
£195.00
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
Mysia, Kyzikos. Ca. 450-400 B.C. AR Diobol_obv

Mysia, Kyzikos. Ca. 450-400 B.C. AR Diobol

Mysia, Kyzikos. Ca. 450-400 B.C. AR Diobol. Forepart of boar left; to right, tunny upward / Head of roaring lion left within incuse square. Very Fine & Scarce. A Scarcer denomination these are a well known coin from antiquity frequently missing from many collections.
£185.00
Satraps_of_Caria_Pixodaros. Ca. 341-335_B.C._AR_Didrachm_obv

Satraps of Caria, Pixodaros. Ca. 341-335 B.C. Halikarnassos mint. AR Didrachm.

Laureate head of Apollo facing, turned slightly right / ΠIΞΩΔAPOY’ Zeus Labraundos standing right, holding double-axe (labrys) & lotus-tipped sceptre. Very Fine & Scarce. A beautiful Hellenistic portrait of Apollo. This ruler almost married his daughter to Alexander the Great before Philip, his father, put a stop to it!
£1,295.00
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
Sicily_Syracuse_Tetradrachm_485-478_BC_rev

Sicily, Syracuse, Under Tyrant Gelon. 485-478 B.C. AR Tetradrachm.

Sicily, Syracuse, Under Tyrant Gelon. 485-478 B.C. AR Tetradrachm. Slow quadriga driven right by male with Nike flying above right crowning horses / Head of Aretemis-Arethusa right with four dolphins around. Rare & Very Fine. These famous archaic coins are much sought after.
£995.00

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