IONIA. Phocaea. Ca. 521-478 BC. EL sixth stater or hecte (10mm, 2.63 gm). Female head (Athena?) left of archaic style, wearing banded helmet or tight-fitting cap and floral earring; [to right, seal downward] / Quadripartite incuse square. Bodenstedt 31. Well-centered and sharply struck example, with a lovely mysterious smile. RARE!
Ionia/Western Asia Minor is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period (600–480 BC), settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.
The ancient practice for minting coins consisted of using an oven for heating blanks or "flans," tongs for handling hot flans, a table or bench on which an anvil was mounted, and a pair of dies struck with a heavy hammer to impress the design into the flan.
Additional Rarity: IONIA. Ephesus. Phanes (ca. 625-600 BC). EL stater. NGC VF 4/5 - 4/5 sold at auction on January 7, 2018 for $120,000.