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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. 449 - 431 B.C., Time of Pericles, 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.
SH87860. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526 , gVF+, sculptural high relief, well centered, uneven toning, edge splits, weight 17.169 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 285o, Athens mint, c. 449 - 431 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; ex Savoca Coins, silver auction 26, lot 169; SOLD


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 152 - 151 B.C., New Style Silver Tetradrachm

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In 1961, Margaret Thompson completed her brilliant study, "The New Style Coinage of Athens." At that time, she estimated there were fewer than 8000 new style tetradrachms "above ground."

This issue introduced the letter on the amphora, which that may indicate the month of production.
SH26244. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson Athens 82 (same dies); Svoronos Athens pl. 35, 21 (same obv. die); BMC Attica -; SNG Cop -; SNG Britain -, Weber -; ANS -; et al. -, gVF, nice style, weight 16.641 g, maximum diameter 33.9 mm, die axis 0o, early period; obverse head of Athena Parthenos right, wearing crested helmet ornamented with a griffin; reverse A−ΘE, owl stands right on amphora, XM monogram left, AΦN monogram over two snakes right, I on amphora, all within olive wreath; nice style; rare; SOLD


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

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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.
SH68874. Silver tetradrachm, Kroll Pi-Style p. 244, fig. 8; Flament p. 127, 4; SNG Delepierre 1475; Svoronos Athens pl. 20, 27; Kroll -; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, unusually nice for this late issue, weight 17.171 g, maximum diameter 24.8 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 Gemini auction I, lot 135 (2005), ex Commandeer David R. Hinkle Collection; SOLD


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.
SH86208. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, gVF, bold well centered strike with high relief dies, banker's mark and graffito on chin, edge cracks, weight 17.098 g, maximum diameter 26.1 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 owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; SOLD


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.
SH86608. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice gVF, well centered and struck on a tight flan, small edge split and crack, bumps and marks, some die wear, weight 17.136 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 315o, 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; SOLD


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.
SH85449. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, 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 owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; SOLD


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

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Struck during Athens' Golden Age, when great thinkers, writers, and artists flourished in the city. Herodotus, the father of history, lived and wrote in Athens. Socrates, the father of philosophy, taught in the marketplace. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, practiced there. The sculptor Phidias created his great works for the Parthenon on the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Democritus envisioned an atomic universe. Aeschylus, Euripedes, Aristophanes, and Sophocles wrote their famous plays and Pindar his Odes. This legacy would continue as, later, Plato would found his Academy outside the walls of Athens in 385 B.C. and, later, Aristotle would found his Lyceum in the city center.
SH32225. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, EF, weight 17.192 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, 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; ex CNG; SOLD


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.
SH87211. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice VF, excellent centering with near full helmet crest, nice owl, toned, light marks, edge cracks, weight 17.145 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 315o, 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; SOLD


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.
SL86746. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, NGC XF, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (4280036-004), weight 17.14 g, maximum diameter 23.3 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 owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; SOLD


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.
SH76170. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, EF, fabulous owl, well centered on a tight flan, no test cuts, a little obverse die wear, contact marks, weight 17.168 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 90o, 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; SOLD




    




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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 Monday, March 25, 2019.
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Athens Greek Coins