World Coins

New €10 coin pays ode to Greek poet Sappho

Greece celebrates the cultural contributions of the famous ancient poet Sappho on a Proof 2017 silver €10 coin.

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The Greek poet Sappho is honored on a Proof 2017 silver €10 coin from Greece.

The Bank of Greece celebrates the artist, who lived circa 630 to 570 B.C., on the latest coin in its series showcasing Greek culture.

Sappho of the island of Lesbos was one of the greatest lyric poets in ancient Greece and one of the first in the Western world to consistently express personal emotions. She composed her poems in the Aeolian dialect and sang them to the accompaniment of a lyre.

She was exiled to Sicily around 600 BC, and may have continued to work until around 570.

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Scholars suggest she wrote as much as 10,000 lines of poetry, earning her a place of regard among Hellenistic Alexandria. A reported 650 lines of her poems survive to present times.

Her works, which survive mostly in fragments, cover a broad thematic range: poems celebrating nature and love, hymeneals and epithalamia (marriage songs), odes and invocations of gods.

Her superb lyric imagery, vivid rendering of female sensitivity and bold eroticism have, for centuries, stirred widespread interest as well as controversy.

Sappho won high acclaim in ancient times and was even hailed as the “tenth Muse.” To this day, she remains one of the most influential ancient poets, despite the fact that most of her poetry was lost to the ages.

Beyond poetry, she is well known as a symbol of love and desire between women, though scholars disagree on her sexuality.

Georgios Stamatopolous designed the coin, which shows on the obverse the poet, with her years of birth and death, the scene surrounded by a floral pattern.

The reverse shows a lyre, the ancient musical instrument that resembles a harp, the denomination and country of issue, surrounded by the same floral pattern as found on the obverse.

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The Proof .925 fine silver coin weighs 34.1 grams, measures 40 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 2,000 pieces.

Distributor Royal Scandinavian Mint offers the coin for $115 plus shipping and handling.

To order, visit the distributor website.

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