Electrum (mixture of gold and silver)
circa 412-378 BC
Head of lo, wreathed, facing right, with small cow's horn
Head of youthful Dionysos, wearing ivy wreath, facing right, within linear square; all within shallow incuse square
10.38mm, 2.51g, 12h
aEF, exquisite style, boldly struck, well centred, lustrous
ex Solidus Numismatik e.K. Premium Auction 20 (21 Oct 2017), Lot 78
An exquisite example of the famous electrum coinage from Lesbos, Mytilene.
Mytilene is the capital city of Lesbos, a status which it has enjoyed the 7th centruy BC. In the 6th to 4th centuries BC, the city was famous for the production of electrum (gold and silver alloy) coinage. It is considered to be the first city in the world to experiment with the reduction of purity of metals used to produce coins.