Ancient Greek Didrachm Coins



2015-06-26 11:14:05

Ancient Greek Didrachm Coins are coins used in Ancient Greek society.

History and Description

A Greek didrachm is a silver coin of Greek currency, with a value of two drachmas. The word drachma is derived from the word “fistful” and the coin was worth however many iron rods a man could hold in his fist – coming to be standardized as six rods. Therefore, a didrachm was worth twelve rods.

The Greeks were minting coins before 600BC, and didrachms have been found from that period. By 400BC, the Greek culture had spread to much of the world, through conquest and trade, and ancient Greek coins have been found in places as far apart as Iran and Britain.

The largest museum collections are held in the UK, Denmark and the USA.

Guide For Collectors

Didrachms were made by hand, with the design of the intended obverse carved into the surface of a wooden stamp. The reverse was carved into the surface of another block, a blank disc of silver put between the two, then the top stamp was struck with great force using an iron mallet.

The designs are not standardised. The early coins carried a crude symbol representing the regional ruler. Later, more complex designs were used, depicting gods, mythological beasts, animals, and the name, as well as the image, of the ruler. To confirm the age of coins, it is always advisable to seek expert advice.


In May 2012, the Ancient Resource website offered for sale a silver didrachm of the Lamposkos mint. Dated 336 - 323BC, during the reign of Alexander the Great, it featured the head of Herakles, and Zeus seated, holding an eagle and sceptre. The price was $250.

In the same month, for $110, the same website offered a silver didrachm dated c. 450 - 400BC (Appollonia Pontica.) It has a facing gorgon head with snake hair, and a reversed anchor flanked by crayfish.

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