Leeds Museums and Galleries object of the week- 2,500 year-old ancient Greek coin

Greek coin
The 2,500 year-old ancient Greek coin

Measuring just 12mm across, this tiny coin’s humble appearance belies its truly remarkable age.

Dated at around the 5th Century, the coin is of a type produced at a town called Eion in Thrace between 500 and 480 B.C, making it around 2,500 years old.

Known as a trihembiol, the coin carries a design which depicts a goose turning its neck round so it can look at the salamander and the Greek capital letter Η (theta).

Eion was a town in western Thrace that had been established as a trading post by Persian traders in the sixth century B.C.

The town was seen as a strategically important port and soon after 476 B.C. the Persians had been removed and Athenian settlers arrived.

Trihembiols are often found pierced with a hole so that they could be worn and are found not just in the area near Eion, but across southern Thrace.

It may have been that they were carried not just as currency, but as a good luck charm or a reminder of home.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said:

“It’s absolutely incredible to think that this coin has been around for 2,500 years and that such a small object can be such an amazing window to the past.

“Ancients artefacts like this and the history they encapsulate can be truly humbling and we are very fortunate to have such an impressive and comprehensive collection here in Leeds.”

The coin is currently part of the collection at the Leeds Discovery Centre, which is home to more than a million different artefacts.

The centre hosts a programme of fascinating tours and talks which can be booked in advance by contacting 0113 378 2100.

For more details, visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/discoverycentre