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ANCIENT LYDIA circa 561 B.C. - Croesus Silver Half-Stater NGC AU 5x3 quality
THE HISTORY: Over 2,500 years ago, King Croesus of the Lydian Empire was responsible for pushing the evolution of coinage into a new era. Until this point in history, electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, was used for currency. Croesus’ genius came in the creation of “a complex interrelated, bimetallic monetary system” using the first ever pure gold and pure silver coins. This system established a silver to gold ratio of 13:1 meaning that thirteen Silver Staters was worth one Gold Stater. The large Staters were complimented by fractional denominations as small as a 1/24th Stater – an expansive, but popular project for set-builders.
Unfortunately, the Lydians did not have the strength to fend off the Persians who defeated them in 546 B.C. However, the Persians thought highly enough of Croesus to keep him in place as a puppet-ruler and his legacy of pure gold and silver coins would continue into the modern world.
THE DESIGN: It appears Croesus was a rare specimen in the Ancient World – a king with humility – illustrated by his coins featuring neither his name nor his likeness. On both his gold and silver coinage, the reverse bears the early version of “incuse” designs where the features are struck into the coin instead of raised out from the coin. This was created by the tool holding the planchette as the obverse was struck. The stunning obverse design features a leaping lion, symbolizing strength and power, facing a bull which represents fertility. The irregular, oblong planchettes of Croesus’ coinage have become a distinct feature very popular with today’s buyers.
The legacy of Croesus’ advancement in coinage is so revered as to land the #9 spot in the 100 Greatest Ancient Coins book on page 12. Coin pictured is the exact coin that you will receive.
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