Jump to content

Let's see some Lesbians!


Recommended Posts

  • Benefactor

One thing I find interesting is the number of ancient mints that the island of Lesbos had, despite its size (big by Aegean standards but still pretty small). As part of my collection of cities from 350-250 BCE, I made a special effort to collect all those from Lesbos that applied. Today, I finally added the last one!

Note that some numismatists attribute coins to Aegiros, but I didn't find any evidence of one in private hands (and the attribution itself is controversial). Kithos is also believed to have minted coins, but from 500-440 BCE, so they don't count for this collection. The island of Chalke is also listed occasionally as Lesbos, but I don't know why. It's next to Rhodes, not Lesbos, though I do have a coin from there.

All but Mytilene are difficult to come by, though my Mytilene is a rare issue that reflected both Philip II's and Alexander the Great's coinage and therefore it's among the favorite coins in my collection. My Eresos is unpublished and may be unique. 



Mytilene EL Hekte c. 332 BCE
10.5mm 2.57g 12h
Avers : Tête laurée et barbue de Zeus à droite (Philippe II de Macédoine).
Revers : Tête imberbe d’Héraklès à droite coiffée de la léonté dans un carré linéaire (Alexandre III le Grand).
Bod.103 - B. traité- - Aulock1711 - P.- - BMC.- - Cop.- - HGCS. 5/1029 (R2)




Lesbos, Methymna
c. 350-240 BCE
Æ 11mm, 1.65g, 9h
Helmeted head of Athena r.
R/ Kantharos; star above.
HGC 6, 916




Lesbos, Antissa
Circa 250-167 BCE
Æ 2.19g, 15mm, 11h.
Bull standing to left; club above
A-N, Apollo standing to left, holding lyre and plectrum
BMC 9; HGC 6, 870.
Ex Roma Numismatics




Lesbos. Pyrrha
circa 400-300 BCE
Bronze Æ 10 mm, 1,12 g
Obv: Female head left, wearing sphendone.
Rev: ΠΥΡ.
Filleted goat standing left.
SNG Copenhagen 428.




Lesbos. Eresos
circa 300-200 BCE
Æ 9 mm, 0,74 g
Head of Hermes to left, wearing petasos
Head of female right EPEΣI to left


The next two are on the mainland but are usually lumped in with Lesbos.



Islands of Lesbos. Pordoselene
Circa 400 BCE
AE 8.81mm 0.59g
Obverse: Bearded head of Silenos right
Reverse: ???, Dolphin leaping right
Attribution: SNG Von Aulock 1765
ex Gorny & Mosch auction 181




Islands off Aiolis. Nasos Pordosilene
3rd-2nd centuries BCE
AE 8.43mm .68g
Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo right
Reverse: ΝΑΣ, panther crouching left, head half reverted
SNG Copenhagen 431


Let's see your Lesbians (coins)!

  • Like 14
  • Cookie 1
  • Cool Think 1
  • Popcorn 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lesbos Billon Stater 500-450 BC Obv Teo calf head confronted. Rv  rough incuse square anepigraphic HGC 1076 11.29 grms 18 mm Photo by W. Hansenlesbos1.jpeg.322326a6be15313f24ec14693dededf9.jpegThis unusual billon coinage appears to be unique to the island. The reasons for it are unknown.

  • Like 13
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Lesbos - Methymna
Koinon of Lesbos, 330-280 BC
Obv.: Female head right
Rev.: ΑΙΟΛΕ, thunderbolt, bunch of grapes right
AE, 1.57g, 11mm
Ref.: BMC Lesbos pg. 171, 2.



Lesbos, uncertain
AR sixth of a stater
Circa 500-450 BC
Obv.:Two facing boar heads
Rev.: Diagonally quadripartite incuse square.
Ag (not billon), 2.65g, 12,8mm
Ref.: Lazzarini "A contribution to the study of the Archaic billon coinage of Lesbos", Fig.2, 3

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clever click bait! Of course I was extremely glad and relieved to see it's a thread about coins.

Not that I, no, no

Im Not No Way GIF

I have two coins fitting this subject 


Lesbos. Uncertain mint circa 480-400 BC.

1/12 Stater BI

7 mm, 0,94 g

Female head to left, wearing taenia. Rev. Head of a lion to right within incuse square. BMC 60-2. HGC 6, 1095. SNG Copenhagen 366.



Lesbos, Methymna. AR Hemiobol. 7 mm 0,30 g Circa 400 BC.

Bearded head of Silenos facing / Tortoise in dotted square frame. Unpublished with square frame but several known.

Aufhäuser 14, 127; Lanz 117, 112; G & M 196, 1632. Cf Traité 2263 (circular frame)

  • Like 8
  • Laugh 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here’s my coin-tribution:

Lesbos, Myteline, EL Hekte, 2.52g, c  521-478 BCE, HGC-6 936, Bod-11, obv. Head of Ram R/rev. Incuse Head of Lion L, Rectangular Punch to R




Edited by Bailathacl
Corrected overly aggressive spellcheck
  • Like 9
  • Cookie 1
  • Gasp 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice coins Kirispupis! That EL of yours with Alexander and Philip ll is a dream!!!

From archaic:


To an African rarity:


LESBOS. Uncertain. BI 1/12 Stater (Circa 500-450 BC).

Obv: Head of African right.

Rev: Uneven incuse square.

SNG von Aulock 7715; SNG Copenhagen 295 var. (head left); HGC 6, 1086.

Excellent portrait.

Condition: Very fine.

Weight: 0.85 g.

Diameter: 8 mm.

Purchased from Savoca 4/2021

"We know that the Greeks were well acquainted with black Africans, since they appear often in Greek literature as mythical or semi-mythical characters and warriors; it appears that they were known in the Greek world as early as the Minoan period, where they were employed by Minoan commanders as auxiliary troops. Indeed, if we may believe Quintus of Smyrna, the Greeks encountered black Africans in the army of Memnon at Troy. Black African contingents also formed a part of Xerxes' army and according to some scholars fought at Marathon (see Frazer, J. G., 1913: Pausanias' Description of Greece, II. Macmillan, London, pg. 434; and Graindor, P., 1908: Les Vases au Nègre. Musée Belge, pg. 29)."

Edited by Ryro
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
10 minutes ago, Ryro said:

Very nice coins Kirispupis! That EL of yours with Alexander and Philip ll is a dream!!!

Some nice Lesbians there! I've always liked the Methymna turtles.

The last Leu had the first Alexander+Philip II EL that I've seen since I bought mine. I was happy to see a hammer higher than what I paid. 🙂 The interesting thing with that coinage is it's almost never centered. Mine has a near perfect Philip II but off center Alexander. The Leu coin has an off center Philip II but nicely centered Alexander. It certainly seems that they minted them in a hurry.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...