Ancient Greece - Aegina - Silver Stater - Circa 525-480 - Mounted in Sterling Silver

"The first ancient coin - Aegina's Sea Turtle"

Denomination: Silver Stater (21 mm, 9.24 gm) 

Mint: Aegina (Islands of Attica)

Date: Circa 525-480 BCE

Mount: Sterling Silver

Description: Obverse: Sea tortoise seen from above, head in profile. Reverse: Square incuse with small skew pattern.

History: Aegina is one of the Saronic islands of Greece in the Saronic gulf, 17 mi from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina the mother of the hero Aeacus, who was born on the island and became its king. Its early history reveals that the maritime importance of the island dates to pre-Dorian times. It is usually stated on the authority of Ephorus, that Pheidon of Argos established a mint in Aegina, the first city-state to issue coins in Europe, the Aeginetic stater.

One stamped stater can be seen in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris. It is an electrum Stater of a turtle, an animal sacred to Aphrodite, struck at Aegina that dates from 700 BC. Therefore, it is thought that the Aeginetes, within 30 or 40 years of the invention of coinage in Asia Minor by the Ionian Greeks or the Lydians (c. 630 BC), might have been the ones to introduce coinage to the Western world.