Lucania, Metapontum. c. 540-510 BC

Lucania, Metapontum. c. 540-510 BC


AR Nomos, 8.14g (30mm, 12h). Ear of barley with eight grains / Incuse ear of barley with nine grains; raised and dotted border.

Grade: Breathtaking iridescent toning. Light scratch in field on obverse. Extremely sharp strike. EF (gk1229)

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The coinage of Metapontum is among the earliest coins struck in mainland Greece after the onset of coinage in c. 650 BC. These early coins have thinner flans and the reverse is simply an incuse of the obverse. Other Italian cities such as Sybaris and Poseidonia also had similar styles with an incuse for the reverse.

It was typical for coins to reflect the symbolism of important features of the minting Greek city state. In this case, the grain was used to exhibit that wheat was plentifully grown in the area and likely a source of wealth and prosperity for the inhabitants of Metapontum.

The innovative incuse reverse types are valued for their beauty, as well as the skill of the 6th century die engravers.