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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Greece ▸ AthensView Options:  |  |  | 

Athens, Other Cities of Attica, and Athenian Imitatives

The ancient slang names for the coins of Athens were "owls" and "girls" (but in Greek of course). "Owls" were so popular as a central currency of the ancient world that the design remained essentially unchanged and somewhat archaic long after other cities began to produce coins of a more refined artistic style. "Owls" are still very popular. For collectors, they are perhaps the most popular ancient coin type.


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH89850. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice EF, full crest, some light bumps and marks, weight 17.182 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 285o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

Click for a larger photo
The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH89851. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice EF, well centered with much of the crest on flan, some light bumps and marks, weight 17.210 g, maximum diameter 25.67 mm, die axis 285o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1600.00 (€1360.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 393 - 297 B.C.

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GS86848. Silver obol, cf. Svoronos Athens pl. 22, 1 ff.; HGC 4 1666 (R1); Kroll -; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, tight flan, weight 0.695 g, maximum diameter 8.7 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, c. 393 - 297 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel curves, eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, head facing, sprig of one olive and one large leaf behind, all in incuse square, AΘE downward on right; ex Beast Coins; rare; $215.00 (€182.75)
 


Persian Empire, Philistia (Gaza or Samaria), c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens

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A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Holy Land. In the past these coins were all attributed to Gaza, however, recent hoard finds indicate a mint at Ashkelon probably also struck this type. It is likely that at least several small mints struck these imitative types.
GS86843. Silver obol, cf. Samaria Hoard pls. 45 - 50, SH269 ff.; Gitler-Tal 4.4.IX.1O; SNG ANS 18; Sofaer Gaza pl. 103, 6, VF, toned, well centered on a tight rhomboid flan, a little rough, encrustations, weight 9.4 g, maximum diameter 0.636 mm, die axis 180o, Gaza(?) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel bands, eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, olive spray with one olive between two leaves and a crescent behind, AΘE downward on right, all in incuse square, no Aramaic inscription; ex Beast Coins; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Les Monnaies D'Athenes (The Coins of Athens)

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Please note that if you order 3 or more books and our shopping cart shipping charges add up to an excessive amount, we will reduce the shipping charge and only charge the actual cost of postage!
BK15565. Les Monnaies D'Athenes (The Coins of Athens) by Par E Beule, Reprinted, 1858, in French, 417 pages, illustrated, softcover, fading on spine/cover, international shipping at the actual cost of postage; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Persian Empire, Philistia (Gaza or Samaria), c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens

Click for a larger photo
A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Holy Land. In the past these coins were all attributed to Gaza, however, recent hoard finds indicate a mint at Ashkelon probably also struck this type. It is likely that at least several small mints struck these imitative types.
JD86845. Silver hemiobol, cf. Samaria Hoard pls. 50 - 51, SH306 ff.; SNG ANS 20, gF, toned, die wear, rough/porous, irregular flan, edge chips, weight 0.216 g, maximum diameter 6.6 mm, die axis 270o, Gaza(?) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel bands, very large eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, olive spray with one olive between two leaves behind (no crescent visible), AΘE downward on right (off flan), all in incuse square; ex Beast Coins; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 275 B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Megara had 23,456 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
GB85880. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Peloponnesos 9.2 ff. (various symbols below); BMC Attica p. 120, 26 (dolphin below); HGC 4 1797; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 2.829 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, c. 370 - 275 B.C.; obverse prow of galley left, uncertain symbol (cuttlefish, prawn, dolphin, or club?) below; reverse two dolphins swimming clockwise around MEΓ, all within dotted border; ex J. Cohen Collection; $85.00 (€72.25)
 







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REFERENCES

Bingen, J. "Le trésor de tétradrachmes attiques de style Pi" in MIGRA I. (Gent, 1975).
Bingen, J. "Le trésor monétaire Thorikos 1969" in Thorikos VI. (Brussels, 1973).
de Callatay, F. "Athenian new style tetradrachms in Macedonian hoards" in AJN 3-4 (New York, 1992).
Filipova, S. Coin Collections and Coin Hoards from Bulgaria, Numismatic Collection of the Regional Historical Museum at Pazardzhik. CCCHBulg V. (Sophia, 2015).
Fischer-Bossert, W. "More Athenian Decadrachms" in SNR 88. (2009).
Fischer-Bossert, W. The Athenian Decadrachm, ANSNNM 168. (New York, 2008).
Flament, C. Le monnayage en argent d'Athènes. De l'époque archaïque à l'époque hellénistique (c. 550-c. 40 av. J.-C.). (Lovain-la-Neuve, 2007).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Attica - Megaris - Aegina. (London, 1888).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of Northern and Central Greece: Achaia Phthiotis...Attica, Megaris, and Corinthia, Sixth to First Centuries BC, HGC 4. (Lancaster, PA, 2014).
Kroll, J. The Greek Coins. The Athenian Agora, vol. XXVI. (Princeton, 1993).
Kroll, J. "The Reminting of Athenian Silver Coinage, 353 B.C.," Hesperia, Vol. 80. (2011).
Kraay, C. Coins of Ancient Athens. Minerva Numismatic Handbooks No. 2. (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1968).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Mildenberg, L. & S. Hurter, eds. The Dewing Collection of Greek Coins. ACNAC 6. (New York, 1985).
Mørkholm, O. "The Chronology of the New Style Silver Coinage of Athens" in ANSMN 29. (New York, 1984).
Nicolet-Pierre, H & J. Kroll. "Athenian Tetradrachm Coinage of the Third Century BC," AJN 2 (1990). pp. 1-35.
Robinson, E. & G. Jenkins. A Catalogue of the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection of Greek Coins. (Lisboa, 1971-89).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Seltman, C. Athens, its history and coinage before the Persian invasion. (Cambridge, 1924).
Sverdrup, H. The history and catalogue of the tetradrachms of Athens. (Stockholm, 2010).
Starr, C. Athenian coinage 480-449 BC. (London, 1970).
Svoronos, J. Les monnaies d'Athenes. (Munich, 1923-26).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (New Jersey, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 14: Attika, Megaris, Ägina. (Berlin, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Thompson, M. The New Style Silver Coinage of Athens. ANSNS 10. (1961).
van Alfen, P. "A New Athenian 'Owl' and Bullion Hoard from the Near East" in AJN 16 - 17 (2004-05). pp. 47-61, pl. 6-17.

Catalog current as of Sunday, May 19, 2019.
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Athens Greek Coins