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    Description

    Dawn of Coinage

    Ionia. Uncertain kingdom or city. c. 650 BC. EL Trite, 4.76g. Obv: Pattern of parallel striations. Rx: Two-part incuse punch, interior of each square quartered. Weidauer 5. Extremely rare example of one of the world's first coins. Mint State.

    While the sequence of issues for the earliest electrum coinage is still imperfectly understood, recent discoveries have begun to clarify the picture. It is now evident that the first 'coins' were pre-weighed electrum globules of no particular design, but conforming to the weight standard prevalent in Ionia and Lydia-- a 'stater' of about 14 grams and its fractions. Next came pieces bearing simple punch patterns on the 'reverse,' but with a blank 'obverse,' followed very quickly by pieces being a series of parallel striations, the first example of something that could be termed an obverse 'type.' At least one specialist theorizes that the parallel striations imitate the ripples in the rivers that yielded most of the electrum then in use; others have theorized that the striated die surface was simply intended to secure the planchet in place during striking. Whatever the reason, the issue was extremely brief, but similar striations were retained as a background as more elaborate obverse dies came into use. The rare issues with striations only could thus be plausibly considered as the first 'type' coins ever issued.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    14th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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