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

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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.
SH85442. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, aEF, well centered, tight flan cutting off most of crest (as typical), some obverse die wear, weight 17.176 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 270o, 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 AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; $2000.00 SALE PRICE $1800.00
 


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

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.
SL85479. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4377469-075), weight 17.20 g, maximum diameter c. 24 mm, die axis 270o, 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 AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; ex Heritage auction 231723, lot 62016; $1620.00 SALE PRICE $1458.00
 


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

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.
SH85444. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered on a tight flan, light bumps and marks, weight 17.186 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 45o, 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 AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; $1400.00 SALE PRICE $1260.00
 


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

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.
SH85449. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, gVF, well centered and struck, high relief typical of the type, bumps and marks, slight die wear, tight flan typical of the type, weight 17.171 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 225o, 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 AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00
 


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

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.
SH85448. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, VF, high relief as usual for the type, obverse toned, minor edge split, light bumps and marks, tight flan typical for the type, weight 17.092 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 270o, 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 AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00
 


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

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.
GS85450. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered on a tight flan cutting off helmet crest, edge splits, scratches, weight 17.108 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, 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 AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; $850.00 SALE PRICE $765.00
 


Athens, Greece, Pi-Style III Tetradrachm, 353 - c. 340 B.C.

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The Pi III type introduced the true pi-style floral ornament. The lower tendrils have moved outward from the central tendril, and originate from and perpendicular to the curved horizontal line forming the upper tendrils; they parallel the central tendril for most of their length before flaring outward. The central tendril can be exceptionally long, extending down to Athena’s ear. Pi III may or may not have a pellet above the earring on the obverse, and have one or two columns of pellets (feathers) to the right of the owl's beak on the reverse. All are struck on folded flans, often elongated oval shaped flans nicknamed "logs."
SH85069. Silver tetradrachm, Kroll Pi-Style p. 244, fig. 8; Flament p. 126, 3; SNG Cop 63; SNG Munchen 96; SNG Delepierre 1479; Svoronos Athens pl. 20: 2, VF, well centered and struck on thick oval "log" flan, attractive toning, light bumps and marks, weight 17.091 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, 353 - c. 340 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right with eye seen in true profile, wearing crested helmet ornamented with three olive leaves and pi-style floral scroll; reverse owl standing right, head facing, to right AΘE in large lettering, to left olive sprig and crescent; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 245, part of lot 1906; $440.00 SALE PRICE $396.00
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, Pi-Style III or IV Tetradrachm, 353 - 340 B.C.

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The name Pi-style refers to the floral helmet ornament on the obverse which resembles the Greek letter pi (P) bisected by a long central tendril. On this coin, the Pi-like floral ornament is off the flan.
GS84493. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Kroll Pi-Style p. 244, fig. 8; Flament p. 127, 4; SNG Cop 63; SNG Munchen 96; BMC Attica pl. V, 4; SGCV I 2547, VF, toned, typical tight flan but full face of owl on flan, obverse off center but face of Athena on flan, bumps, marks and scratches, weight 17.157 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, 353 - 340 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right with eye seen in true profile, wearing crested helmet ornamented with three olive leaves and pi-style floral scroll; reverse owl standing right, head facing, to right AΘE in large lettering, to left olive sprig and crescent; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00
 


American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 26 (1981)

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Includes the following articles:
Kroll, J.H. From Wappenmünzen to Gorgoneia to owls
Thompson, M. The Cavalla hoard (IGCH 450)
Martin, T.R. A third-century B.C. hoard from Thessaly at the ANS (IGCH 168)
Mathisen, R.W. Antigonus Gonatas and the silver coinages of Macedonia circa 280-270 B.C.
Weiskopf, M. The Kuh Dasht hoard and the Parthian "Dark Age"
McLean, M.D. The initial coinage of Alexander Jannaeus
Harl, K.W. Caracalla or Elagabalus? The imperial imago at the Greek mint of Magnesia ad Maeandrum
Metcalf, W.E. A corrigendum to The Cistophori of Hadrian
Kaiser-Raiss, M.R. Posthumous Hadrianic medallions?
Malandra, G. Transitional style in the Siva images on Kusana gold coins
Bates, M.L. The Ottoman coinage of Tilimsa
Varriano, J.L. Some documentary evidence on the restriking of early Papal medals
BK11652. Museum Notes 26, American Numismatic Society (ANSMN 26), 1981, 223 pages, 32 plates, paperback, good condition, faded cover, bent corner (only one used copy available); $10.00 SALE PRICE $9.00
 







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REFERENCES

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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).
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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).
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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).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (New Jersey, 1982).
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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 Tuesday, August 22, 2017.
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Athens Greek Coins