Silver 20 Units, minted 3rd Century BC.
Obverse: Gorgoneion facing, with protruding tongue; below, X:X.
Reverse: Blank with feint markings.
(HN Italy 152; Vecchi XII.52, n. 37.3).
Dark old collection tone. Good Very Fine.
Populonia’s economy was underpinned by extensive reserves of iron ore and its close proximity to the sea. According to Strabo, writing in the 1st Century BC, it was the only coastal Etruscan city, a city which controlled territory rich in natural resources, from fish to salt. It was these characteristics which made Populonia the prime candidate for issuing a currency which, by Etruscan standards, was extensive.
While coins from Populonia featuring both obverse and reverse designs do exist, many silver and gold coins from the city were struck directly onto a flat surface (likely a stone slab), the result being a design appearing on only one side of the coin. Some examples bear marks from the surfaces on which they were struck.