LYDIA, ACHAEMENID, siglos, c. 450-330 BC, Obverse: king running R with bow & spear, Reverse: oblong punch, silver, 12-16mm, 5.59g, SG4678, banker’s marks, F

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The Persians did not immediately take to coinage, which they found when they conquered Lydia in Anatolia. The Persian state used the old system of keeping records for each and every commodity without relating anything to some standard value. But when they found themselves suddenly operating in a coin economy they jumped right on board and made their own coins to use in the coinage zone. Back in Persia they continued to not use them until Alexander the Great destroyed their government.

We think that our culture grew out of the culture of Greece because it was in Greece (and in China) that people started thinking about how things could be different than they were in a world where everything was dangerous and might made right. They also established principles of artistic expression that we still use today. We see this approach to art in their coins.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.