This coin was minted in Populonia, an Etruscan port-town. The Etruscan cities had traded with the Greeks since the 8th century BC. The highly civilized Etruscans admired Greek culture: the Etruscan king Arimnestos (late 8th c. BC) is said to have been the first non-Greek endowing Olympia with a sacrifice. Hence it is not surprising to see the Greek Gorgon on an Etruscan coin.
Gorgon was a female monster of Greek mythology – a brute, whose mere sight would turn people into stone. Because for its ghastly sight, the Gorgon's head – the so-called gorgoneion – also had a protective measure: whoever caught a glimpse of it froze with terror.