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This ancient Greek silver hemidrachm (half drachm) was minted in Cherronesos, Thrace between 480 and 350 BCE., and is a superb example of classical Greek coinage. On the obverse is the forepart of a lion, looking back with raised paws. On the reverse is an incuse square divided into four parts, two of which contain a symbol and a pellet.
Despite the small size of the coin, this unusually well-preserved specimen shows an intricately detailed lion's mane, with the lion's body clearly demarcated into chest, midsection, and hind quarters. Many different symbols can appear on the reverse of these coins, including a pellet, cicada, scorpion, tunny fish, flower, torch, trowel, ram's head, caduceus, rooster, bee, wine leaf, bucranium, conch shell, scallop shell, dot in a circle, boar head, pileus, plow, sunburst, club, bow, and helmet.
This type of hemidrachm was used in ancient times to trade with the cities along the coast of the Black Sea. Cherronesos was under the control of Athens from 560 BC to 338 BC, aside from a brief period during this time when it was controlled by Persia. It was taken over by Philip II in 338 BCE, Pergamon in 189 BCE, and Rome in 133 BCE. The area was later controlled by Byzantium, then the Ottoman Turks.
• Ancient Greek Silver Hemidrachm, struck at Chersonesos 480-350 B.C.E.