Boeotia, Orchomenos. c. 525-500 BC

Boeotia, Orchomenos. c. 525-500 BC


AR Obol, 0.91g (7mm). Grain kernel; to right, E (faint) / Quadripartite incuse square with two incuse quadrants divided by a line.

Pedigree: Ex Goldberg 91, 7 June 2016, lot 1814. Ex CNG E193 (6 August 2008), 193; BCD Collection. Ex Superior Galleries, 12-14 December 1987, lot 602

References: BCD Boiotia 189 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen -

Grade: Struck in high relief with some iridescent toning. EF (gk1291)

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This coin is very tiny but the past of Orchomenos is historically significant. It was the setting of many Greek myths. For example, it is suggested by Homer that during the Trojan War, Orchomenos, as part of the Achaean League, contributed thirty ships as part of the war effort. Later in their history when the Greek forces fought Xerxes and the Persians, Orchomenos together with Thebes pushed back the rivals.

In the 1880’s the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, found the tomb of Minyas of the Mycenaean age on Orchomenos. Following Schliemann’s discovery other archaeologists found further prehistoric structures. Today, the tomb of Minyas is considered one of the burial monuments of the Mycenaean period.

The kernel of grain reflected on the obverse of this coin undoubtedly referred to the plentiful harvest of the area.