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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 Bactria.

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 collections.


If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.

Antiquities


Ten-Drachma Piece of the Greek City of Syracuse
5th-4th centuries BC
Full description




Four-Drachma Piece of Antimachus
2nd century BC
Full description




Medallion of Constantine the Great
4th century AD
Full description




Stater of the Kingdom of Panticapaeum
4th century BC
Full description



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The Hermitage
 
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The official homepage of the State Hermitage Museum: www.hermitagemuseum.org

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