Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    First True Coin

    IONIA. Uncertain mint. Ca. 670-660 BC. EL stater (14.32 gm). Field of striated lines, resembling ripples on water / Triple incuse punch, with narrow rectangular punch arranged vertically between two roughly square ones. Linzalone, "Electrum" 1013 (this coin). Cf. Weidauer 5 (trite), footnote to the British Museum specimen. Traite I 16, pl. i, 12. BMC Ionia 1. Extremely rare, one of only 12 known examples. Good Very Fine.

    In the new books "Electrum and the Invention of Coinage" (Dennis McMillan, 2011), author Joe Linzalone presents a convincing case that this Ionian issue of circa 670-660 BC should be considered the first true coin type ever struck. Pre-weighed lumps of electrum, some marked with a rough punch, had been employed as a medium of exchange for some years before this issue, but they lacked anything that could be called an obverse "type" or design. The field of striated lines seen here, Linzalone theorizes, could evoke the ripples of water in the stream beds where natural electrum was found in Lydia and Ionia, where coinage originated; alternatively it could simply be an abstract design engraved into the anvil striking surface intended to hold the blank in position. However, Linzalone points out the striated fields were maintained for a while even after other design elements were added, indicated more than a simple mechanical function. In any case, in his early treatise on economics and money, Aristotle stated that the addition of an obverse image was the decisive step to converting bullion into coinage. The striated stater is of special importance as it is the highest denomination initially struck; all other denominations served as fractions of a stater (see next lot). Only 12 striated full-weight staters are known to exist, all survivors from the very dawn of coinage.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,018

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 April 22 - 27 Central States World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Due completely to Heritage's thoroughly diligent and professional management and promotion of the collection, the faraday Collection stirred national attention among numismatists and the auction results brought a gross value greater than that last estimated by the experienced collector.
    The Estate of David M. Faraday ,
    San Rafael, CA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 October 17-24 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 October 17-24 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $7,412,570
    2019 September 5 - 9 Long Beach Expo World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2019 September 5 - 9 Long Beach Expo World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $5,898,481
    2019 September 5 - 9 Long Beach Expo World Paper Money Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2019 September 5 - 9 Long Beach Expo World Paper Money Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $1,866,390