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    Description

    SARONIC ISLANDS. Aegina. Ca. 480-457 BC. AR stater (12.22 gm). NGC Choice Fine 5/5 - 2/5, scratches. Sea turtle, viewed from above, head turned sideways, with trefoil collar and row of five dots down center of shell / Large "skew pattern" incuse with five sunken compartments. HGC 6, 435. Meadows Group IIIa. Milbank pl. 1, 13. SNG Lockett 1970.

    The city of Aegina located on the Saronic Gulf island of the same name appears to have been the first European city to mint coins of any type, starting circa 550 BC. From earliest times the maritime city placed a sea turtle on the obverse of its coins, with a simple abstract incuse punch on the reverse. These "turtles" soon circulated widely and impressed neighboring Athens enough that it began striking its own silver coins a few decades later. The sea turtle on Aeginetan coins underwent a slow evolution as the decades past, with a brief divergence in the mid-sixth century of depicting a land tortoise with a segmented shell. This specimen represents the final form of the sea turtle circa 480-457 BC, after the Aeginetan navy distinguished itself at the Battle of Salamis: A robust creature with a collar and a row of dots running down the otherwise smooth shell. After about 450 BC the obverse type switched permanently to a land tortoise, perhaps reflecting the eclipse of Aegina's naval power by nearby Athens.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    5th Thursday
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