|One of the world’s oldest coins was recently sold in Germany for over over $380,000. Issued between 600 and 625 B.C., this coin is unique because of the stamp of Phanes. The exact identity of Phanes remains unknown. “I am the badge of Phanes” is one of the English translations of the stamp. The words can also be translated as the more cryptic “I am the tomb of light.” Since Phanes was the god of light, and also the word for light, the ancient words can be interpreted in many different ways.|
There are four examples of these types of coins. Known as “Staters of Phanes,” the denomination is one stater. A stater is an early currency of ancient Greece. Denominations began at 1/96, and went up to one stater. There were seven total denominations. Only the two highest had the Phanes stamp.
|Electrum Stater Of Miletos. Several Greek cities as well as the Lydian kings began minting the first coins by stamping the badge of their city into one side of a standard weight lump of electrum and various punches into the other. These were used to facilitate trade by certifying that the intrinsic value and weight of the metal was guaranteed by the issuing authority.|
Of these early coins, those of Miletos (600-550 BC), are probably the finest.