AEGINA SILVER OBOL – TORTOISE ISSUE EX SALTON COLLECTION – CHOICE XF NGC GRADED GREEK COIN (Inv. 18519)
FPL V, 22 (18519). ISLAND OF AEGINA. Ca. 350-338 BC.
Silver obol, 0.84 g, 11 mm.
Obv. Tortoise with segmented shell with square ornamentation within, A-I in field. Rev. N-I within square incuse with skew pattern.
HGC 6, 452; SNG Lockett 2012.
Ex Salton Collection, likely acquired in the 1950s-1960s when Mr. Salton owned a numismatic firm in New York.
NGC graded CHOICE XF, Strike 5/5, Surface 3/5, dark patina with iridescent highlights, light surface weathering.
In contrast with the earlier silver coinages of Aegina, which feature a sea turtle (see catalogue 20 above), later issues like the present coins depict a land tortoise on the obverse. It has been suggested that this iconographic change, which took place around in the mid-fifth century, was indicative of the change in the city’s fortunes. Whereas once Aegina had been an important hub for Peloponnesian and maritime trade, this came to an end ca. 445 BC, when the Athenians conquered the island and expelled its inhabitants. Ironically, by the time this obol was struck in the fourth century BC, the Aeginetans had been restored to their island and Aegina was being used as a Macedonian base for harassing Athens.