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

    Description

    Earliest Inscribed Coin?

    IONIA. Uncertain. Ca. 660 BC. EL hecte (8mm, 2.35 gm). Blank field with Greek inscription AΘΩ(?) around upper edge / Rectangular incuse punch with raised linear lines. Unrecorded, but cf. Linzalone 1012 (typeless hemihecte). Excessively rare, one of only two specimens known. Very Fine.

    According to most experts, electrum coins with a blank (or typeless) obverse field represent the earliest attempt at coinage in Lydia and Ionia, dating to around 670-660 BC. This effort evolved into the invention of an obverse design, starting with simple striations, and the first true coin (see Heritage sale 3015, lot 23123). However our understanding of this series has recently been revolutionized by the the discovery, from a British collection, of an electrum blank hecte with an obverse Greek inscription, a great and significant surprise. A second similar example was found in a European collection. Although superficially similar to other known "blank" issues, the edge of this hecte (and the similar known example) display at least two and possibly three letters -- likely an A (alpha), an archaic squarish form of Θ (theta), and possibly an Ε (eta, lowercase). The interpretation suggests a connection to the famous "owl" coins of Athens, but the earliest "owls" appeared more than 130 years after the likely date of our hecte. More likely the letters represent an abbreviation of a personal name (such as the famous "Walwet" and "Phanes" EL coins of Lydia and Ionia) or possibly a dedicatory inscription to the goddess Athena. In any case what this humble electrum piece seems to represent is extremely significant: The first coin of any description to carry an inscription, likely struck at least 35 years before the issues in the name of Phanes (ca. 625-610 BC) and Walwet (610-560 BC).


    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2012
    6th-11th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 686

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    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 2017 December 8 - 9 World Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I am so proud of the work you have done and the layout was perfect!
    Steven L. Duckor,
    Orange, 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

    2017 July 6 - 9 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN
    2017 July 6 - 9 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Summer FUN
    REALIZED $5,911,817
    2017 June 22 - 23 HKINF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2017 June 22 - 23 HKINF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED $2,930,779
    2017 June 21 - 23 HKINF World Currency Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2017 June 21 - 23 HKINF World Currency Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED $1,149,869