The First Circulating Gold Coinage

27 May 2020  Wed

The first ancient gold coins were minted in Ionia, somewhere in central-western Anatolia on the shores of the Aegean Sea. Based on the weight of these coins, it is speculated that they could have been minted in Miletus, a city often referred to as the origin of the modern world, as it preceded Athens as the intellectual and commercial center of Greece.

This type likely represents the first true coins that circulated in everyday use. It is also generally attributed as being the first coin made with an obverse and reverse type, as opposed to a simple incuse reverse. The known populations of this type are primarily composed of small 1/24th staters. Larger denominations are quite rare which include hekte (one-sixth stater) and trites (one-third stater).

The above-shown coin is a Hekte – Sixth Stater issued around 650-600 BCE. The coin weighs 2.30 g. Both the obverse and reverse show well-executed geometric and linear images, with the obverse resembling a star.

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