The world’s oldest coin—estimated to be one of only twelve known in the world today—was recently sold by Austin Rare Coins and Bullion to a private collector.
Struck 2,650 years ago in Ionia (or present-day Turkey), the coin is described as being the “first actual coin ever struck in human history.” It’s referred to as an Ionian “Striated” Stater and is made from electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver that was found in local streams and riverbeds. The striated lines on the front of the coin are believed to represent flowing water which is where electrum was found.
“This remarkable coin represents the beginning of money and commerce as we know it today,” said Ryan Denby, president of Austin Rare Coins. “After nearly four years of patiently waiting, we were finally able to acquire this coin on behalf of our clients and they couldn’t be more excited with the outcome.”
The coin was assigned the grade of About Uncirculated condition with a star for outstanding eye appeal.
“Our clients were thrilled with the exceptional look of the coin and the remarkably high grade,” Denby added.
Ionian Staters were struck in different sizes, each representing different values of money. There are six primary sizes, ranging from a Full Stater down to a tiny 1/24th stater. All are extremely rare; however, the larger sizes are the most infrequently encountered examples. In the case of the Full Stater, only 12 are estimated to exist, making complete sets almost impossible to assemble.
“With the help of Capstone Acquisitions we were able to help our clients complete the entire set of Ionian Striated Staters, and we believe them to be only one of three collectors in the world to accomplish this awesome feat,” Denby added.