AR Stater. 12.49g, 20mm x 18mm
MINTED: ATTICA, Aegina, circa 525-480 BC
REF: Meadows, Aegina, Group IIb; HGC 6, 429
OBVERSE: Sea turtle, head in profile, [with thin collar and row of dots down its back].
REVERSE: Incuse square with mill-sail pattern.
Fine. A fairly well-centered and detailed example of this early variety with the head of the turtle in profile. One of the most ancient of Greek coins.
Some surface roughness and dark toning in recesses a result of conditions of burial. Better in hand.
Aegina, an island in the Greek Saronic gulf, was where tradition states that Pheidon of Argos established a mint, making Aegina the first city-state in Europe to issue coins. These coins, the Aeginetic stater, or 'turtle', was the first introduction of the Western world to coinage, coming about three or four decades after the invention of coinage in Asia Minor by the Lydians.
The use of the 'turtles' throughout the Mediterranean during the Greek Archaic period established the commercial importance of Aegina, and they grew into a major trade and naval power, in rivalry with its nearby neighbour, Athens. Staters depicting a sea turtle were struck up to the end of the 5th century BC, but after Athens' triumph over Aegina in a major military engagement, Aegina's star began to wane, and the Athenian 'owl' tetradrachm quickly overtook the 'turtles' as the main currency of the Mediterranean.
ATTICA, Aegina . Circa 525-480 BC . AR Stater . Amongst the earliest Greek coins
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