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Greek Islands Ancient Coins

"Sifnos Coin-Silver Drachm"

Sifnos was famous for its gold and silver mines and its quarries of "Sifnian stone" from very ancient times. In gratitude for their good fortune, the inhabitants dedicated the tenth part of their profits to the god Apollo at Delphi, where the Sifnian Treasury was built of Parian marble about 530/525 BC.

Little is known of the history of the island. It is said that in 525 BC the inhabitants were attacked by Samian pirates and compelled to pay 100 talents, a very large sum of money for the period. During the Persian Wars they avoided involvement, but contributed one ship at the battle of Salamis. The island was a member of the Delian Confederacy, to whose treasury it contributed nine talents.

The Archaic uninscribed stater of Sifnos depicts an eagle flying to the right. After the Persian Wars the mints of the Cycladic islands ceased striking coins, under Athenian pressure; the sole exception to this was Sifnos. The silver staters dating from the early 5th c. BC have a depiction of the head of Apollo wearing an ivy wreath on the obverse, a characteristic example of Ionian art. In the incuse square on the reverse is engraved an eagle in flight. This double motif - with an engraving on both sides - is an innovation adopted by Sifnos alone of the Cyclades at this period.

ancient greek coins - silver drachm ancient greek coins - silver drachm
Silver drachm early 5th cencury BC. O. Head of apollo R. Eagle

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