Aegina is a Greek Island of tough mountainous terrain, and limited cultivable farmland that neighbored the coasts of Attica and the Peloponnese. The people of Aegina turned to the sea for their food and to make a living. The Aegean seafarers and merchants founded a trading post at Naukratis in Egypt- their ships would sail up and down the Mediterranean sea, bearing merchandise and goods to trade or sell. These voyages brought the island wealth and power. The temple of Aphaia dominating the great harbour was decorated with sculptures of high artistic quality and value.
Prototype coins in the form of tokens first appeared in the eastern part of the Greek islands during the second half of the 7th c. BC, as is clear from the excavations at the temple of Artemis at Ephesos. This new invention and idea was carried back by Aegeans to their homeland- Aegina and their coinage was born. The silver staters of Aegina are regarded as the Western worlds first coinage, a sea turtle would symbolize their coinage. These staters were also considered the first international trade currency, they would circulated widely in the Mediterranean because of their popularity and silver purity. Aegina staters with a depiction of the sea turtle were struck in great quantities during the 6th and 5th century BC.
The “turtles” of Aegina, along with the “owls” of Attica, and the “Pegasus” of Corinth, would become the international currencies of the antiquity, all produced to a high standard and widely recognized. Today all three of these silver staters are recognized in the “Top 100 Ancients” book with nice prime examples selling pretty fast.