The Hermitage collection of ancient Greek coins consists of
63,360 pieces. It spans the period from the origin of coins in the
7th century BC to the 5th century AD. It includes the coinage of
practically all the regions of the Ancient World, from Spain to
Of great interest are staters from Lydia and a good selection of
electrum coins from the town of Cyzicus; they were the first
international currency in the Ancient World.
The collection also possesses such masterpieces of ancient
minting as 10-drachma pieces created by the remarkable artists
and engravers of dies Kimon and Euaenetus from Syracuse.
These coins were the first to be instituted in commemoration of
outstanding events: the victory of Syracuse over Athens in 413
BC. They are the pride of the collection.
Also of great interest is a collection of gold 8-drachma pieces of
Ptolemaic Egypt. These well-preserved large commemorative
ancient gold coins were handed out to courtiers at feasts and
treasured by the recipients.
There are also many silver coins from various Greek centers
including famous Athenian tetra-drachma pieces of various
styles which were of great value for their precise weight and
quality of metal.
The museum possesses a large collection of silver
tetra-drachmas of Philip II and Alexander the Great.
The coinage of the Seleucidae, Ptolemies and kings of Parthia is
quite fully represented. Of particular interest is the collection of
such comparatively rare coins as those of Axum Kingdom.
Copper coins of Greek towns of the Roman era, such as
Alexandria in Egypt, Cyzicus, Perinthus, Philippopolis,
Hadrianopolis and others also deserve attention. The largest of
them, so-called medallions, are of particular interest: they bear
the representation of constructions now lost – the Alexandrine
lighthouse, temples to various gods, famous statues etc.
The most remarkable part of the collection of Greek coins
consists of pieces from towns on the Northern Black Sea coast,
it covers the period from the beginning of minting in the 6th
century BC to the final disintegration of the Bosporan kingdom
in the 5th century.
Not only coins of large towns such as Olbia, Panticapaeum and
Chersonesus are represented in the collection, but also those of
small Bosporan towns, which are rare.
Of particular interest are gold staters of 5th-century BC
Panticapaeum. These comparatively small coins of pure gold are
of great artistic value. We can trace Bosporan minting
throughout over one thousand years.
The Hermitage collection of Greek coins gives quite a full idea
about minting in Greek countries and has a number of sections
which could be an important supplement to other world
If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.