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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ GriffinView Options:  |  |  | 

Griffins on Ancient Coins

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure and well valued priceless possession.

Abdera, Thrace, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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Missing from most references and major collections.
BB60118. Bronze AE 16, CNT_6605, AMNG II-1 p. 100, 184 & pl. 3, 24; Chryssanthaki-Nagle p. 240, 318e; SNG Cop -; SNG Evelpidis -; BMC Thrace -; Weber -; Lindgren -, F, brown tone, tight flan, slightly rough, weight 5.000 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 180o, Abdera mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse AB-∆/HPITΩN (ending in exergue), Griffin leaping left, forepart and forpaws raised, feathered wings, tail curling and closed beak, NI (magistrate monogram?) behind; reverse EΠI HE-PO∆OTOY (proconsul Herodotos), beardless male head right; very rare; $70.00 (Ä59.50)

Assos, Troas, c. 400 - 241 B.C.

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Assos was a harbor city on the Gulf of Adramytteion, just north of the island of Lesbos. Hermias, a student of Plato, ruled Assos for a time during the 4th century B.C. He invited Plato's most famous student, Aristotle, who lived and taught in Assos for more than three years. When the Persians took the city, they executed Hermias and Aristotle fled to Lesbos. After visiting Alexandria Troas, Paul walked to Assos and visited the Christians there (Acts 20:13).
GB86554. Bronze AE 11, cf. SNG Cop 237 - 238; SNGvA 7587 - 7589; SNG MŁnchen 158 - 162; SNG TŁbingen 2567; BMC Troas p. 37, 10 - 22 (all various control symbols), aVF, dark patina, slightly off center, pitting, weight 1.327 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 180o, Assos mint, c. 400 - 241 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right, Attic helmet crested and ornamented with laurel branch and scroll; reverse griffin reclining left, AΣΣI above, obscure control symbol in exergue; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $60.00 (Ä51.00)

Phokaia, Ionia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Hermes is the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of thieves and road travelers, of orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics, of weights and measures, of invention, of general commerce, and of the cunning of thieves and liars. His symbols include the tortoise, the rooster, the winged sandals, and the caduceus. The analogous Roman deity is Mercury.
GB20880. Bronze AE 18, BMC Ionia 217, 105; SNG Cop 1038; SNGvA 7959; SNG MŁnchen -, gVF, dark green patina, slightly rough, weight 3.433 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, magistrate Pythis, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing chlamys and petasos; reverse forepart of griffin right, Φ−Ω divided above body and forelegs, ΠYΘIΣ below; ex FORVM (2014), ex Roma Numismatics auction 4 (30 Sep 2012), lot 1681; $55.00 (Ä46.75)


Catalog current as of Monday, March 18, 2019.
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