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Animal Symbolism in Ancient Coins

Artistic depictions of animals have been used as representative symbols and icons on various items for centuries. Since the very beginning of coinage, empires and countries have utilized significant animals based on their different meanings and how they ultimately relate to the country’s beliefs, morals, and views.

The Lion

Animal Symbolism | Ancient Coins | Atlanta Gold And Coin

One of the first animals that consistently appears on historic coinage is a golden lion. Lydia, an ancient kingdom that once presided in western Asia, is believed to have been the first empire to have coins minted around 610-600 B.C. but also the first to have used a depiction of a lion.

Originally, the coin only depicted the lion’s head, but then the kingdom included the full body of the lion. Throughout history, the lion has been a symbol of pride and regality; it also symbolizes unending courage and strength. These are both attractive attributes to have in a country and its people.

The Dog

The dog is another well-known animal used for its symbolism and meaning throughout history. Since ancient times, dogs have been seen as representatives of guardianship and protection. The Roman Republic was one of the earliest civilizations that used a dog as the main feature of their coins (c. 235 B.C.). The dog was also an important symbol to the ancient city of Segesta, and was featured on two known coins, the Silver Didrachm (c. 461-415 B.C.) and the Triantes of Segesta (c. 410-400 B.C.).

The Eagle

Unsurprisingly, the animal symbolism  is most commonly depicted on coins during ancient times through today is the eagle. Romans used the eagle on their coinage for many years, and the city of Antioch featured many varieties of the eagle on their currency from the Greco-Roman civilization. In current times, the eagle is used as the symbol for freedom in the United States and is featured on many coins.

Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers has an assortment of animal-depicted coins, including the American Buffalo, Chinese Panda, and the Australian Kangaroo; just to name a few. Call 404-236-9744 to learn more about our inventory and how you can continue growing your coin collection today!

Image courtesy of CNG of Wikimedia Commons.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis