• latw-27-1
    Gold croeseid twelfth-stater. Obverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-2
    Gold croeseid twelfth-stater. Reverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-3
    Group of three croeseid coins from sector MMS (one gold, two silver); obverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-4
    Group of three croeseid coins from Sector MMS (one gold, two silver); reverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-5
    Group of three croeseid coins (one gold, two silver) from sector MMS (placed on finger for scale); obverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-6
    Group of three croeseid coins (one gold, two silver) from sector MMS (placed on finger for scale); reverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-7
    Group of three croeseid coins (one gold and two silver) from sector MMS; obverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-27-8
    Group of three croeseid coins (one gold and two silver) from sector MMS; reverse. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Gold Croeseid Twelfth-Stater

Date
Second quarter of sixth century BC, Lydian
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 19267
Inventory No.
19267
Sardis CATNUM
2002.0002
Material
Gold
Object Type
Coin
Coin Denomination
Twelfth stater
Coin Mint
Sardis
Site
Sardis
Sector
MMS
Trench
MMS-III 02.2
Locus
MMS-III 02.2 Locus 2
Description
Gold croeseid twelfth-stater. Obverse: confronted foreparts of lion and bull. Reverse: single incuse punch. Weight 0.88 g, diameter 7.2 mm.
Comments
Found under the floor of the “recess” on the outside of the Lydian fortification, with coin No. 30 (Greenewalt, “Introduction,”; Cahill, “City of Sardis”). The recess was filled with destruction debris, and contained two skeletons (No. 210 and another), weapons (helmet No. 211), and a third coin, No. 31. That destruction can be dated with confidence to the middle of the sixth century BC, when Cyrus captured Sardis (Cahill, “The Persian Sack of Sardis”), thus proving that these coins were minted by the Lydians before the Persian sack, rather than under the Persians as some had argued.

This affirms the statement of Herodotus (1.94) that coins minted in pure gold and pure silver were invented by the Lydians; the invention is generally attributed to King Croesus, after an initial period when coins were minted in electrum, like Nos. 17-26 (see Kroll, “The Coins of Sardis”). Gold croeseids were minted on two different weight standards: an earlier, heavier standard based on a stater weight of 10.7 g, and a later, lighter standard based on a stater weight of 8.06 g; this coin belongs to the earlier, heavier type, while the gold staters from the hoard discovered in 1922 (Nos. 28.1-28.2) were minted on the lighter standard.

Discussed
Kroll, “Coins of Sardis”; Cahill, “City of Sardis”; Cahill, “Persian Sack”
Bibliography
Cahill and Kroll 2005
Author
NDC