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The Extremely Rare Tarentine Drachms with Owl Left, 281 - 272 B.C.

      
   VAuction 273, lot 13, 3.2g                                                        Enodia - Taras Collection, 2.89g

Drachms from Taras, in Southern Apulia, with the head of Athena on the obverse and an owl left on the reverse are extremely rare.

The following important references and major collections do not list even one Tarentine drachm with owl left:

SNG ANS -
SNG Christomanos -
SNG Delepierre -
SNG Dreer -
SNG Hart -
SNG Evelpidis -
SNG Fabricius -
SNG Gale -
SNG Lewis -
SNG Lloyd -
SNG Manchester -
SNG Milano -
SNG Newcastle
SNG Sweden I -
SNG Tubingen -
Norman Davis Collection -
Dewing -
Wulfing -
Wheaton -
Gulbenkian -
Frankfurt -
Pozzi -

The long list above, without even a single example of the types, is clear evidence of the rarity. (Note: the reference abbreviations in the list above are links - click them for more information.)

As seen below, there are two types of these drachm from Taras with the owl left reverse. On both, the head Athena on the obverse wears a crested Attic helmet ornamented with Scylla. The owl on the reverse stands left, with its wings closed and its head turned facing. On one type the head of Athena is right, on the other the head of Athena is left.


Head of Athena Right - Vlasto 1065

Taras, Southern Apulia, Italy, Evans Period VII (the Pyrrhic Hegemony), 281 - 272 B.C.
O: Head of Athena right, wearing crested helmet decorated with Skylla hurling rock, I (control symbol) on neckflap.
R: Owl with closed wings standing left on olive branch which turns upward on left, head turned facing, TAPAΣ (downward) upper right, AΠ monogram (downward, control symbol) over olive branch on left, AV monogram(?) in exergue.
References: Vlasto 1065, SNG BnF 1947, Cote 431, HN Italy 1017; Evans Horseman p. 162, 5

Vlasto 1065, 3.17g (Athena right)


SNG BnF 1947, 3.01g (Athena right)


The Vlasto and SNG BnF specimens, the two photographed coins at the top of this page, and one other are the only specimens of Vlasto 1065 known to Forum (5 specimens). 


Head of Athena left - Vlasto 1101

Taras, Southern Apulia, Italy, Evans Period (the Pyrrhic Hegemony), 281 - 272 B.C.
O: Head of Athena left, wearing crested helmet decorated with Skylla hurling rock, I (control symbol) on neckflap.
R: Owl with closed wings standing left on fulmen (thunderbolt), head turned facing, TAP (downward) upper right, race torch (control symbol) on left.
References: Vlasto 1101; SNG Munchen 714; SNG Hungary 125; SNG Cop 965; SNG Ashmolean 454; SNG BnF 1950; Cote 489; Evans Horseman -; HN Italy -

Vlasto 1101, 3.22g (Athena left)


SNG Munchen III 714, 3.06g (Athena left)


SNG Hungary 125, 3.02g (Athena left)


SNG Cop 965, 2.96g (Athena left)


SNG Ashmolean 454, 2.79g (Athena left)


SNG BnF 1950, 2.84g (Athena left)


Although Vlasto 1101 is listed in more references than Vlasto 1065, we do not know of a single sale of the type in the last two decades. These are the only specimens  of Vlasto 1065 known to forum (6 specimens).