Late 5th-4th Century B.C. Greek Apollonia Pontica Silver Drachm NGC AU

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Take Home a Mighty Gorgon – And Ward Off Evil Spirits While You’re At It!

On the obverse of this ancient coin is a fearsome gorgon, its hair a mass of writhing and hissing snakes; its tongue extended like a weapon. As terrifying as this image is, these coins were actually carried by sailors who believed that the horrific visage would ward off evil and protect them on their travels. Struck in the ancient colony of Apollonia Pontica, this silver Drachm also displays an anchor – a symbol of the town’s prosperous seaport economy.

Located on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, Apollonia Pontica is known today as the city of Sozopol. Thousands of tourists from around the world visit the tiny city each summer for its weather, sandy beaches, culture and delicious Balkan-Mediterranean cuisine. Nestled on the Black Sea’s west coast, the city began minting its own coins near the end of the 6th century B.C., all with the famous anchor symbol. And while the mythical gorgon was one of the most famous creatures of Greek mythology, a more familiar creature has also been present in Sozopol: Vampires! During an archeological dig there in 2012, the skeletal remains of a corpse pierced through the chest with an iron bar was discovered – evidence of a vampire being staked through the heart to prevent it from rising from its grave. In fact, there are more than 100 such graves found all over Bulgaria!

Could it be that this ancient Gorgon coin was a not only a good luck piece but also a charm to ward off vampires? You be the judge. Secure this beautiful piece graded by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) to be in About Uncirculated (AU) condition now!

From the desk of’s resident ancient coin expert, David Levine:

  • This is among the first silver coins of the world to have a design on both sides.
  • The ancient gorgons represented three sisters -- Stheno, Euryale and Medusa. Medusa shows up in many forms of ancient Greek art. According to Greek Mythology, anyone who looked at Medusa turned to stone. So, people would keep an image of Medusa in case they needed to put it between them and an enemy.
  • The 5th and 4th century BC coinage of Apollonia Pontica reflects that city's origins: commercial wealth and maritime power. The gorgon was a popular apotropaic device, seen as warding off evil; thus a number of ancient Greek cities adopted it as a coin design. The anchor and the crayfish attest to the city's reliance on maritime commerce for its economy, and the anchor depicted on these coins is actually one of the first anchors of modern design rendered in Greek art.
Country Greece
Composition Silver
Purity 0.9500
Condition Graded
Grade AU
Currency Type Drachm
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