Greece's financial crisis could certainly use the help of a drachma -- provided it's the 2400-year-old coin that is poised to fetch $2.5 million when it is auctioned next month.
The Dekadrachm of Akragas, which was minted in Sicily and dates to 409-406 B.C., will be sold at auction on January 4 from a U.S. collection by the Classical Numismatic Group, an international firm that deals in ancient, medieval and British coins.
The price would make it one of the top-priced coins ever sold at auction, although collectors of extraordinarily rare coins have paid more than $5 million in the past.
Earlier this year a rare, gold Islamic coin, the Umayyad dinar which dates to 723 A.D. sold for $6 million at a London auction.
The Greek coin, one of only 12 examples known to exist and only the third to come to market in a generation, measures about 35.5 mm (1.4 inches) and weighs 43.4 grams (1.5 oz). It depicts four horses and a chariot on one side and an eagle on the other.
Six versions of the coin are in museum collections.
In its online catalogue CNG described the coin as a masterpiece of late 5th century Greek art and one of the most beautiful of all Greek coins.
Bids will be accepted at a live sale in New York and online in real time for preregistered bidders via www.the-saleroom.com, CNG said.