Reproduction of a coin from the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. The Aeginetans were great traders and their early 'turtle coins' are found abundantly in hoards all over the Greek speaking world. After the Persian Wars, Aegina's commercial importance declined in the face of Athenian dominance. In the mid 5th century, possibly following the Athenian conquest of Aegina in ca 456BC, the turtle was replaced by a tortoise and coinage output was much reduced.
bronze Aegina turtle coin paperweight
- diameter: 6cm depth: 0.4cm
The turtle is often thought of one of the wisest of souls in the animal kingdom, representing self-containment, earthiness, patience and a steady approach to life. It remains a symbol of longevity, protection and stability.
The ancient Greek word for turtle, chelone, was the name given to the famous coin of the Aegean island of Aegina. These were minted in their thousands at the turn of the 6th and 5th centuries BC and were the first coins produced in Europe. They were minted in silver from the island of Siphnos.