Ionia, Phokaia. c. 478-387 BC

Ionia, Phokaia. c. 478-387 BC


EL Hekte – Sixth Stater, 2.52g (10mm). Head of nymph left, hair in sakkos; behind, small seal left / Quadripartite incuse square.

References: Bodenstedt Em. 94

Grade: Wonderful detail and pleasant style. aEF  (gk1090)

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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. 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 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