MA-Shops: The First Coins – Part 1

posted in: Numismatic Topics | 0

MA-Shops: Kingdom Lydia

Precious metals had long been in use in large parts of the ancient Near East as a means of payment. Especially silver was saved and transacted by weight in different forms. The invention of coins made the use of metals as money more popular.

A topic with a lot of controversy is where the first coins are minted in the world.

There are three options who minted coins for the first time: China with the so called knife money, India with the Mahajanapadas of the Indo-Gangetic Plain with the Punch-marked coins and Lydia with the electrum coins.

For me there is only a debate possible between the coins from China and the kingdom Lydia, but the real questions to me is if the outcome of that debate is of significant value. I will therefore discuss these different types of coins in different blogs. In this blog I will discuss the coins from the kingdom of Lydia. When talking about the first coins, I assume the they were minted in the kingdom of Lydia.

The convention now is that the first coins were minted before the year 560B.C. in the kingdom of Lydia. This date is based upon the sequence of structures were these coins were found, namely at the excavated temple of Artemis in Ephesos. Before this archaeological analysis, the coins were date earlier.

Based on art-historical arguments and a date on one of the vessels the coins were dated around 650-625 B.C. Art-historical arguments are most of the time reprehensible by subjectivity and it is possible that the coins were buried in an old vessel.1

1 A good summary about this subject can be found in Howgego, C.J., 1995. Ancient history from coins, London [etc.]: Routledge chapter 1

AV Stater 550-546 BC KINGS of LYDIA, Kroisos

21,000.00 US$

Catalog: Traité I 401-403; SNG von Aulock 2875

Sardes mint. Light Stater Series.

Foreparts of lion and bull, confronted)(two rough square incuse punches of unequal size.

8,00 gram, 19 mm. Bold. Faint marks. Very rare

EL-1/12 Stater KINGDOM LYDIA – Sardes

2,100.00 US$

Catalog: Sear 3402 | BMC 17 | SNG.Copenhagen 453 | SNG.Kayhan 1015
Time of Sardys, Sadyattes and Alyattes, circa 650 – 561 B.C.
Weight 1,19gr. |  Electron Ø 8mm.

Stater 561–546 BC Lydia AR Half- Croesus (Kroisos)

1,450.00 US$

Catalog: BMC 41; Sr. 3420; Cop. 456; v.Aul. 2877
Material: Silver
Lydian Kingdom (Kroisos)
Specialty: ± 16mm; 5.33 gr.
KROISOS 561–546 BC was the son of King Alyattes.

Obv. foreparts of lion and bull, confronted.
Rev. two rough square incuse punches.

Written by Joël van Dam, Owner of Joëlnumismatics.

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