Numismatic Museum Athens |

The exhibition entitled ABDERA – LONDON – NEW YORK – ATHENS is dedicated to the donation of a coin hoard containing issues of the ancient city of Abdera. It is being presented along with other hoards and coins of Abdera from the collections of the Athens Numismatic Museum. The purpose has been to show a more complete view of the Abdera coinage from the 6th century BC through the 2nd century AD alongside its circulation from Sicily to Phoenicia and from Thrace to Egypt. This exhibition approach enables a better understanding of the contribution of the particular hoard as well as of hoards in general with regards to the study and assessment of an ancient Greek coinage.
In 2000, the American collector Mr Jonathan Kagan located in the London market coins of Abdera dated to 520/515-500 BC. He realised this was a case of a hoard and was able to purchase 22 of them, thus preserving its unity. Mr Kagan published the hoard and in September 2010 donated it to the Athens Numismatic Museum in honour of John (Jack) H. Kroll, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, widely known for his research in ancient Numismatics. In excellent cooperation with the Consulate General of Greece in New York, the Directorates of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods and the Athens Numismatic Museum, the hoard was transported to Athens and delivered to the Museum.

The Ionian city Teos founded Abdera in the mid-6th century BC on the coast of Thrace. Soon the city was to become a significant power in the region. The history of Abdera was determined by its relations with the Persian kings, Athens, the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace, the kings of Macedon and Rome. The first issues are dated to 520/515 BC. The griffin, a mythological creature with a lion’s body, an eagle’s head and wings and a snake’s tail, was the predominant type in the coin iconography of Abdera. This type was associated with both the mother-city Teos and the gods Dionysus and Apollo who were worshipped in Abdera. The head of Apollo became a standard type from the mid-4th to the mid-3rd century BC and was influenced by the respective type on the gold staters of Philip II of Macedon. The magistrate was the official responsible for the production of coins and his name was inscribed on them. The issues were differentiated by the variations in the depiction of the griffin, the selection of symbols and the changes in the reverse types. During the period of Roman domination, Abdera issued bronze coins from the 1st to the mid-2nd century AD bearing the busts of the Roman emperors.

The wide distribution of the Abderan issues testifies to the importance of the city and the geographic spread of its administrative and commercial transactions. The coins have been found in hoards located not only in Thrace but also in Asia Minor, Phoenicia, Egypt and Sicily and dated from the end of the 6th to the mid-5th century BC. After that, their circulation appears to have been restricted in the Thracian region.

Three hoards containing 57 Abdera coins together with 38 typical examples issued by the city are presented in the exhibition.

21 NOVEMBER 2011 – 4 MARCH 2012

12 El. Venizelou (Panepistimiou) Ave., 10671 ATHENS
Tel: 210 3632057, 210 3643774
Fax: 210 3635953


General coordination: Despoina Evgenidou
Exhibition curators: Despoina Evgenidou
Εfterpi Ralli
Panagiotis Tselekas
Stamatoula Makrypodi
Conservation: Νike Katsikosta
Elena Kontou
Rebecca Manta
General support: Νikos Sougles
Μaria Garoufalia
Exhibition design: Elpida Boubalou
Velissarios Voutsas
Translation into English: Dafni Dimitriadou

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