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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 98. Estimate CHF11000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF10000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLANDS off ATTICA, Aegina. Circa 456/45-431 BC. Stater (Silver, 12.40 g). Tortoise seen from above. Rev. Incuse square divided into five compartments. ACGC 127. Dewing 1683-1685. Milbank pl. 2, 12-13. An exceptionally well-preserved piece struck in very high relief. Minor bang at the top of the shell, otherwise, good extremely fine.

From the Mieza collection, ex Nomos 1, 6 May 2009, 65.

Exactly why turtles or tortoises appear on the coinage of Aegina is not clear: it was not a sacred animal. One suggestion is that early, pre-coinage silver ingots in use in the Aegean area were plano-convex in shape; and that on Aegina they were colloquially known as ‘turtles.’ Thus, when coins were introduced, using the turtle as a coin type was a reference to the older, pure-silver ingots that had previously been used in trade.