Greek Coins

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Ancient Greek Coins are often rare and difficult to find. They are often the rarest of the old coins and often sell to collectors for high prices. Most historians class ancient Greek coins as any coin minted from between 550 B.C. and 300 A.D. 

Ancient Greek coins are eye-catching and feature intricate designs. They're often considered the most beautiful of the old coins, with the Athenian Owl Tetradrachm being a fantastic example.  

History of the Greek Coins

The Ancient Greeks well a well-developed civilization in early times. They’ve had a significant impact on many aspects of today’s modern life. The Greeks have influenced everything from the architecture and government of America. Their coinage also inspired Theodore Roosevelt, who has become famous for revitalizing American coins. 

The first coins were produced in Greece in Aegina in around 600 BC. These coins were manufactured using silver and had a turtle on their face to symbolize the city’s maritime trade. Cities such as Athens and Corinth soon started producing their own coins using images that depicted their towns. Coins were manufactured across the country as they were considered a necessity and allowed people to trade and the government to pay mercenary soldiers. 

For the first time, soldiers were able to carry their wages conveniently. The government had found a payment method that they could apply to everyone. Coins were used for bartering and maritime trade with other countries in the ancient world. People were impressed with this new portable wealth and used it to trade with each other. Poor Greeks would carry money in their mouths, while more affluent people would often store and hide their wealth.

Ancient Greek coins denominations

There were several denominations in ancient Greece, and the coin's weight would vary slightly depending on which city it was produced. Ancient Greece’s main denominations were the Starter, struck in both Gold and Silver, the Tetradrachm, Dekadrachm, and Drachma. 

The Drachma was also sometimes called the Drachm, had different denominations, including the Obol or the Triobol. 

Gold Greek Coins

Greek coins were generally produced using silver, copper, or bronze as this was more readily available and affordable. Some coins were also made from Gold or electrum, an alloy of silver and gold. 

Gold was melted to help standardize each coin’s size and weight; it was then poured into molds that had previously been engraved with the coin's design. Gold coins were a symbol of status as not everyone could afford a gold coin. 

The Gold stater from Magnesia and Maeandrum is an example of a Greek gold coin. This design was dedicated to a magistrate called Euphemos. The coin's obverse has the Greek goddess Artemis, who is facing to the right. On the reverse is the winged goddess, Nike, riding a chariot. There’s also a Greek inscription, which means ‘of the Magnesians’ and ‘Euphemos son of Pausanias.’ The Gold Starter coin has been produced in approximately 145 BC. 

Greek owl coin

The Athenian Owl Tetradrachm is one of the most widely collected and most famous ancient coins. It was produced in Athena and was made with silver. The coin's obverse depicted Athena, who was the patron of the city. On the reverse is the owl, which was taken from Athens coat-of-arms. It’s thought that this coin is one of the first-ever to be produced in the world. It’s over 2,400 years old and is highly sought after, selling for between $800 and $1200 and sometimes even more in higher grade. 

The Athenian owl has been voted as one of the top ten ancient coins ever produced. Owls were essential animals in Ancient Greece, especially in Athens, where they were used for hunting small game and delivering messages to other cities. Like all ancient coins, the owl coin has been struck by hand, and each one is unique. The Athenian owl Tetradrachm is a large coin that has exquisite detail.

Ancient Greek coins for sale

Ancient Greek coins generally sell for high prices, especially at auction, due to their scarcity. They are also highly sought after by coin collections and dealers as they are unique and beautifully designed. Greek coins were struck by hand, which means that no two are the same, and it’s often hard to put a value on ancient coins. Many coin enthusiasts are interested in the rich history of ancient Greece. 

Bullion Shark’s inventory includes an extensive range of ancient coinage. We have a variety of certified ancient Greek coins. 

Ancient Greek Coins FAQs

Ancient Greek coins are coins minted in various city-states and regions of ancient Greece, typically between the 6th and 4th centuries BC. They often feature unique designs reflecting Greek culture and history.
The Greeks began minting coins in the 6th century BC, with the earliest known coins dating back to around 600 BC. These coins were made of electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver.
Ancient Greek coins were used as a medium of exchange in trade and daily life, similar to modern currency. They facilitated economic transactions and played a crucial role in the ancient Greek economy.
The "Owl of Athena" is one of the most iconic ancient Greek coin designs. It features the goddess Athena's head on the obverse and an owl on the reverse. This design is closely associated with the city of Athens and its patron deity, Athena.
Yes, the artistry and designs of ancient Greek coins had a significant influence on later coinages, including Roman, Byzantine, and medieval European coins. Greek coin designs are admired for their aesthetics and historical relevance.
Ancient Greek coins were made from various metals, including gold, silver, and bronze. Gold coins were typically of higher denominations, while silver and bronze coins were used for everyday transactions.
Greek coinage, featuring images of gods, heroes, and famous figures, played a role in disseminating Greek culture and art throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. These coins were widely used in trade and commerce.
The rarity and value of ancient Greek coins depend on factors such as rarity, historical significance, condition (grade), and demand among collectors. Numismatists use reference books and auction results to gauge a coin's value.
Coins bearing the image of Alexander the Great and his successors played a significant role in promoting his image and authority across his vast empire. These coins facilitated trade and helped unify the diverse regions under his rule.
While the primary function of ancient Greek coins was as a medium of exchange, some coins were used in religious or ceremonial contexts, such as offerings to gods or as part of burial practices.
Ancient Greek coins played a foundational role in the history of coinage, influencing later coin designs, monetary systems, and the development of modern currency. Concepts such as standardized weights and denominations have roots in Greek coinage.