OLBIA bronze dolphin circa 200 BC


THRACE, OLBIA, dolphin, no date (circa 200 BC), Obverse: eyes both sides and dorsal fin, bronze, 26x9mm, 1.51g, SG1684, VF

1 in stock

SKU: 3204029 Categories: ,


The dolphin shaped coins were a unique Olbian product. The little ones were cast in large quantities. Larger ones, and specimens with writing on them, are rare.

Olbia was a city on the Ukraine coast northwest of Crimea near a small town called Parutine and not far from Odessa. It was founded by colonists from Miletos. In the archaic and early classical periods it was the major port on the Black Sea.

Thrace is the land between the Balkan mountains and the Black Sea from northern Greece to southern Bulgaria and European Turkey. The ancient Thracians are thought to have been indigenous, meaning, I suppose, that they were there at least as far back as the neolithic period, before the invention of history. The ancient and extinct Thracian language is “generally agreed” to be Indo-European, which is supposed to mean that they came from somewhere else. During the early coin period the coins of Thrace were mostly made by Greek colonists.

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.