A diver has found what is believed to be the oldest gold coin ever discovered in Bulgaria, Bulgarian news agency BTA reported on September 9. The coin was found in shallow waters near the resort town of Sozopol on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
The diver saw the gleaming coin by accident, the report said, and later passed it on to Bozhidar Dimitrov – a native of Sozopol and former diver himself, who is now head of the National History Museum in Sofia.
BTA quoted numismatist Vladimir Penchev from the National History Museum saying that the coin is not solid gold, but made of electrum – the naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, used to mint some of the earliest metal coins in human history.
This particular coin appears to have been minted in the kingdom of Lydia in western Anatolya, sometime in the second half of the seventh century BCE, which put the coin’s age at more than 2750 years, he said.
Sozopol was founded as a colony of the Greek city state of Miletus in western Anatolia about 611 BCE – first named Antheia, but later changing its name to Apollonia. Since Miletus was a neighbour of the kingdom of Lydia, it is no surprise that a Lydian coin has been found in the town’s environs, but it is the first of its kind found in Bulgaria, according to Penchev.
The coin weighs 0.63 grams and has a denomination of 1/24 of a stater.
(Photo: National History Museum)