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Image of Ancient Greek Silver Coin (Dekadrachm), about 400 B.C.E.
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Ancient Greek Silver Coin (Dekadrachm), about 400 B.C.E.


The colored flecks of gold and blue indicate a process of toning, which is a chemical reaction between the coin’s metal and some other substance such as the sulfur from older cardboard boxes, envelopes, or other coin holders.


The high relief and stunning artistry of coins like this one inspired President Theodore Roosevelt to seek the redesign of American coinage. Producing such high relief and exquisite imagery was a technical accomplishment in Syracuse at 400 B.C.E. The Greeks felt that coins were useful to showcase accomplishments of their country and considered these pieces works of art in their own right.


Legendary Beauties The following objects are in this section.
Ancient Greek Silver Coin (Dekadrachm), about 400 B.C.E.United States, 20 Dollars, 1906 (Pattern)United States 10 Dollars, 1907 (Pattern)
Roosevelt Inaugural Medal, 1905United States, 20 Dollars, 1907United States, 10 Dollars, 1908
United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (Pattern)United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 
United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (Experimental)United States. 20 Dollars, 1908 (Matte Proof) 
Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Behring Center Learning Resources Flash Exhibition
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