The bee on coins of antiquity 

From the very beginning of coinage, in about 6 century BC, the Greeks made coins depicting animals symbolic of their city or state.  The Bee was one of the first symbols on Greek coins and there is  a coin from Ephesus that was made between 600 and 550 BC. 

Ephesus is a city where they used the bee symbol for a very long time on their coins, right from the tetradrachm to the very small bronze coins. 
The bee was associated with Ephesus for many reasons. According to the writer Philostratos, the Athenians who came to colonize Ionia, where Ephesus is located, were led by the Muses, who took the shape of bees. Artemis' priestesses were called melissai or "bees" of the goddess (Inschriften von Ephesus 2109), and were directed by "king bees" (essenes), priests who served a year-long term under strict rules of purity (Pausanias 8.13.1); the ancient Greeks and Romans didn't realize that the leader of a beehive is a queen, not a king.

More information about the coinage of Ephesus you can find on the following website of the Macquarie University (Sydney Astralia):

But not only Ephesos used the bee symbol on their coins.  Sometimes the bee is used as side-symbol, like the tetradrachme of Alexander the Great from Babylon (see picture 4).  The bee is used as symbol of the magistrate of that moment (325 323 BC).

There are about 215 Greek coins with a bee as symbol.

The Roman coins that I know (6pc.) are all from the beginning of Rome (before the empire-time).


Ephesos hemidrachme silver n 141

Ephesus: hemidrachme
anno 460 - 450 b.c.

Ephesos cistoforisch silver n 42

Ephesus: tetradrachme Cistofor
anno 202 - 133 b.c.

Ephesos drachme silver n 35

Ephesus: drachme
anno 202 - 133 b.c.

Babilon Tetradrachme AlexIII silver n20

If you want, or do you have more information?
contact me: thank you very much for mailing me:

Babilon: thetradrachme Alexander III
anno 325 - 323 b.c.

Rome quinaire silver n108

Rome: Victoriatus
anno 179 - 170 b.c.