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Ionia, Obol

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Ionia, Obol (obverse) Ionia, Obol (reverse)

In the early 20th century, a hoard was discovered in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. It contained numerous pieces of jewelry, scrimshaws from ivory and amber, silver lumps and coins. Among the coins were several pieces like this obol from electrum, a natural alloy of silver and gold. As the construction of the temple started approximately at 575 BC, all objects must date before that time.

Hence this obol dates back to the very first tangible phase of coinage. The issuer is not yet indicated. The stamp on the one side supposedly guarantied the quality of weight and material, the other side shows the imprint of the anvil. The name 'Oboloi' derived from the Greek word for spit, since these served as means of exchange before the development of coins.

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