Lydia AU trite before 561 BC

Obv: Roaring Lion with rayed nob on head. Rev: incuse punch. Metal: Gold (electrum) 4.71 grams, 13 mm diameter. Condition: good VF well centered.

History of Ancient Lydia

In what is now Western Turkey; Lydia was rich in gold and is generally accepted as issueing the first coinage in the world. The coins were made of Electrum a natural mixture of gold and silver. One line of thought was by putting the royal lion emblem on the coin the king was declaring the purity and weight of the metal so it would not need to be re-weighed for each transaction. More recent hypothesis is that the King was short of money and he issued these impure gold coins with the royal emblem requiring their acceptance as pure. The main impetus for this idea is that the coins contain an unnaturally large amount of copper giving the coin a more goldish color than natural electrum.