Ionia, Phokaia. c. 521-478 BC

Ionia, Phokaia. c. 521-478 BC

1,750.00

EL Hekte – Sixth Stater, 2.60g (11h). Head of ram left; below, small seal left / Quadripartite incuse square.

Pedigree: Ex CNG E-Auction 383, 28 Sept 2016, lot 179

References:  Bodenstedt Em. 37

Grade:  Lovely strike and well centered. EF  (gk1191)

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Phokaia, located on the western coast of Asia Minor, was an important maritime city on the continent. It was among the earliest of the Greek city states to start coining money around 600 BC, the majority of which were of the metal electrum. Electrum, an alloy of gold and silver, was used initially as the sole metal in coinage until Croesus began employing bimetallic metals. The Milesians also struck electrum but their weight standard was lighter and with a lower purity of the gold. This purity was evident in that the Phokian coins were much more yellow in color than that of the Milesians. 

There is an extensive variety of styles in electrum that were produced in Phokaia and rather little in silver and bronze. The principal reason was the proximity to the water and largely due to the acceptance of the hekte as the maritime commerce currency among neighboring cities. There are a plethora of various types in Phokian hektes, but one distinguishing common factor is the unmistakenable symbol of the seal which is present on all of its coins. The hektes from Phokaia, as well as other towns along the western coast remained the principal local currency until the age Alexander the Great.