10 Most Important Ancient Coins Ever Minted

ancient coins vary greatly in design, quality, and importance. Most were used by casual people, but some rose above the routines of day by day life to become suffer pieces of history .ancient coinsBrutus “Eid Mar” Denarius, ca. 42 BC; with Croesus Gold Stater, 550 BC; and Titus Colosseum Sestertius, 81-82 AD

These ten ancient coins are important for many reasons. Some commemorate major historical moments in the history of western refinement. Others represent the highest levels of aesthetic and technical foul accomplishment in numismatics, not seen again for over 2,000 years. And still, others are so rare, that only a handful survive nowadays. Continue reading to learn more about why each of these ancient coins made our number.

1. The Most Important Ancient Coin: The Brutus “Eid Mar” Denarius, 42 BC

eid mar denariuseid mar denariusBrutus “Eid Mar” Denarius, ca. 42 BC, via the British Museum, London

This ancient mint marks one of the most significant events in westerly history- the assassination of Julius Caesar. The coin features a portrait of Brutus on the front man ( obverse ) and a cap ( cap of liberty ) flanked by two daggers on the back ( reverse ). These daggers were known as pugio and were likely the weapons used for the assassination. One dagger represented Brutus and the early represented his co-conspirator, Cassius. The cap was a cap traditionally given to slaves when they were given their exemption. The hood and daggers showed that Brutus and Cassius liberated the Republic from a dictator .

In 44 BC, Julius Caesar declared himself dictator for life. many senators feared his absolute world power and what it would mean for the Roman Republic. Just a few months after his contract, a group of senators, including Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius, carried out their conspiracy to assassinate Caesar .

This coin was commissioned by Brutus himself in 42 BC, just months before his own suicide. The coins were recalled by Mark Antony and Octavian to be melted down for recycle. thus, less than 100 are known to have survived, making this one of the rare coins adenine well as the most significant .

2. The Athens Decadrachm, 460-430 BC

Athens DecadrachmAthens DecadrachmAthens Decadrachm, 460-30 BC, via the British Museum, London

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This important ancient coin was minted against the backdrop of war. The Greeks had spent the last 40 or so years fighting off invading persian armies. decisive battles included the celebrated Battle of Thermopylae, the Battle of Marathon, and the Battle of Plataea. These victories pushed the Persians out of Greece and back into Asia minor. Without these victories, the history of westerly culture would look very unlike today .

Athens joined an confederation of free Greeks who strove to free any greek cities still under irani principle. They achieved this victory erstwhile between 469 and 465 BC. The athenian Decadrachm was struck in memorial of this victory over the Persians. The front depicts Athena, the city god of Athens. The back depicts an owl, the symbol of Athena .

The silver for this coin probably came from the argent mines outside the city of Athens. The coin was indeed valuable that it chiefly circulated among the affluent. Most Athenians never came into contact with the mint and it ceased being minted during the fourth dimension of Pericles .

3. The Decadrachms Of Syracuse, 400-390 BC

Syracuse DecadrachmSyracuse DecadrachmSyracuse Decadrachm, 400-390 BC, via the British Museum, London
The art of engraving ancient coins reached its highest criterion during the fifth century on the island of Sicily. The diverse cities of the island competed to produce the highest-quality flatware coins. The following three coins on our list all come from the island of Sicily during this time period .
The decadrachms of Syracuse are considered among the finest examples of numismatic artwork from antiquity. Included in this group of ancient coins are the Kimon Decadrachm, the Arethusa Facing Head Tetradrachm, the Syracuse Demaraeteion Decadrachm, and the Euainetos Decadrachm .

The city of Syracuse was one of the most powerful cities in Magna Graecia. Among the most celebrated engravers of Syracuse was Kimon. The ancient coin pictured above is attributed to him. It features the water nymph Arethusa surrounded by four dolphins on the front and a quadriga ( four-horse chariot ) on the back. The quadriga represented the four tyrants of Syracuse. Nike appears flying above the quadriga .

4. The Akragas Decadrachm, 411 BC

akragas dedrachmakragas dedrachmAkragas Decadrachm, 411 BC, via the British Museum, London

The Akragas Decadrachm is one of the rarest ancient coins. Fewer than ten are known to have survived from antiquity. It is one of the great coins issued during the fifth century on the island of Sicily. These cities were among the earliest to begin minting eloquent coins .

The coin was probably issued to honor the winner of an Olympic chariot race in 411 BC. The front is a depicting of the sun deity Helio traveling in his chariot. The flip is represented by an eagle and the ocean downstairs is represented by a cancer. The back of the coin shows two eagles standing over the body of a hare .

The coin was probably used primarily as a commemorative piece. The amount of ash grey used to produce the mint made it excessively valuable to use in casual transactions .

5. The Naxos Tetradrachm, 460 BC

naxos tetradrachmnaxos tetradrachmNaxos Tetradrachm, 460 BC, via Coin Archives

Of the coins we ’ ve seen then far from the fifth century BC, this coin is arguably one of the greatest and best known. Unlike many early ancient coins, which were produced from multiple dies engraved by unlike people, this mint was struck from a single pair of dies. The mint is unsurpassed in the execution of the fine details and is one of the best examples of ancient greek mint make .

The coin was minted to commemorate the refounding of Naxos in 461 BC. Naxos was the oldest greek colony founded on the island of Sicily and was identical affluent due to the birthrate of the surrounding volcanic soil. This led to the city being subjugated by Syracuse in 476 BC and the removal of the Naxians to the city of Leontini. They regained their city after the death of Hieron .

The god Dionysus is shown on the front and the satyr Silenos is shown seated on the back. The level of detail given to the depiction of Dionysus is alone among ancient coins .

6. The Gold Stater Of Croesus, 550 BC

croesus gold statercroesus gold staterCroesus Gold Stater, 550 BC, via the British Museum, London

The earliest ancient coin was made of a naturally occurring debase called Electrum. This debase, a mix of gold and silver, was found near the city of Sardis, the capital of the lydian empire. King Croesus, the concluding king of Lydia, is most celebrated not for being the last king of the Lydian empire, but for introducing the foremost pure silver and pure gold coins .

Electrum proved to be a challenging material for minting coins. Because it is a naturally occurring mix of gold and silver, the claim amounts of aureate and ash grey in each coin varied. This made it very hard to determine an claim respect for the coins .

King Croesus solved this problem by minting coins in pure aureate and pure silver. This aureate Stater is the first pure aureate mint ever minted. It features a bull and a leo facing each other .

7. The Titus Colosseum Sestertius, 81-82 AD

titus colosseum copper sestertiustitus colosseum copper sestertiusTitus Colosseum Sestertius, 81-82 AD, via the British Museum, London

The Colosseum. One of the seven wonders of the world visited by over 6 million people a year. construction of this celebrated construct began in 71 AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. The first three levels were completed in 75 AD and the final two levels were completed in 80 AD. Upon its completion, Titus held dedication ceremonies that included the sacrifice of 5,000 animals and 100 days of games held in the new amphitheater .

Titus issued the sestertius to commemorate these ceremonies. It features a female chest of Titus on the front and a depicting of the Colosseum on the back. This ancient coin is one of the earliest depictions of the Colosseum. only 10 examples of the coin are known to exist .

8. The Portrait Denarius Of Cleopatra And Mark Antony, 32 BC

cleopatra mark antony silver denariuscleopatra mark antony silver denariusCleopatra and Mark Antony Portrait Denarius, 32 BC, via the British Museum, London

This ancient coin depicts one of the most celebrated couples in history- Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Cleopatra, besides known as Cleopatra VII, was the death Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. She was a central figure in the civil war between Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian. All three men sought manipulate of Egypt ’ s wealth to support their cause. Cleopatra first joined with Julius Caesar until his character assassination in 44 BC. Afterward, she joined Mark Antony against Octavian .

The denarius was struck in 32 BC, probably to commemorate their ephemeral alliance. augustus defeated Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 30 BC and Mark Antony and Cleopatra each committed suicide. The result of Cleopatra ’ s engagement in the civil war was the end of egyptian sovereignty, which wasn ’ metric ton regained by Egypt until advanced times, and the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty .

9. The Nero Port Of Ostia Sestertius, 64 AD

nero port ostia sestertiusnero port ostia sestertiusNero Port of Ostia Sestertius, 64 AD, via the British Museum, London

Rome was the largest city the ancient earth had ever known. Yet it was located inland on the Tiber river and had no lifelike harbor nearby on the slide. This presented an increasingly pressing problem. As the city ’ s population continued to grow, the need to import grain and goods to support the population grew american samoa well .

A bang-up dearth during the reign of Emperor Claudius led him to begin an ambitious mastermind project to construct a massive harbor at the Port of Ostia, which sat at the sass of the Tiber river. unfortunately, Claudius didn ’ t live to see the completion of the project. The harbor was completed in 64 AD during the reign of Emperor Nero .

This sestertius bears a tear of Nero on the front and an overview of the fresh harbor with a reclining prototype of the river god Tiber on the back. The ships on the back are drawn in very well detail .

10. The Final Ancient Coin: Portrait Denarius Of Julius Caesar, 44 BC

portrait denarius julius caesarportrait denarius julius caesarJulius Caesar Portrait Denarius, 44 BC, via the British Museum, London

Julius Caesar is arguably one of the most celebrated people in history. His character assassination led to the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. He was one of the most brilliant and controversial military leaders in Roman history .

This denarius is meaning because it bears the portrait of Julius Caesar. Prior to this, no coins minted in the Roman Republic bore the double of a rule. Julius Caesar set the precedent for many aspects of Roman policy and administration moving forward and his approach to Roman neologism was no exception. He was the first and every Roman emperor that came after him followed his case .

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