412-378 BC Mytilene Hekte NGC AU 4/5 - 4/5

$2,500.00 USD


The first coins of the world were minted in Lydia and Ionia (today the west coast of Turkey) from Electrum, a naturally formed metal of gold and silver. Silver coins followed and later gold and bronze coins.

This coin is from the city of Mytilene, the largest city on the island, on the eastern coast of the island of Lesbos. Mytilene was at first a small island itself just off the coast that was joined to Lesbos forming two harbors. Mytilene was known for its large output of electrum coins from the 6th to 4th centuries BC.

Around the time of production of this coin, Mytilene revolted against Athens in 428 BC but was overcome by an Athenian expeditionary force. The Athenian public assembly voted to massacre all the men of the city and to sell the women and children into slavery but changed its mind the next day. A fast trireme sailed the 186 nautical miles (344 km) in less than a day and brought the decision to cancel the massacre.

Aristotle lived on Mytilene for two years, 337-335 BC, with his friend and successor, Theophrastus (a native of the island), after becoming the tutor to Alexander, son of King Philip II of Macedon.

One of its most famous citizens was the Greek poet Sappho, while Aristotle also spent two years there after he had tutored Alexander the Great.

Forepart of winged lion left/Rev: Sphinx seated.  Bodenstedt My-63  Well centered and sharply struck!   

Additional Rarity: A LESBOS. Mytilene. Ca. 412-378 BC. EL sixth stater or hecte (10mm, 2.55 gm, 5h). NGC AU ★ 5/5 - 5/5 sold at an auction on September 7, 2017 for $6,600.