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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Athena or MinervaView Options:  |  |  |   

Athena or Minerva on Ancient Coins

Athena was the virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts, and battle strategy. Her symbols are the olive tree and the owl. She is the daughter of Zeus, according to some traditions by Metis.


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 B.C.

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Phocaea, or Phokaia, was the northernmost Ionian city, on the boundary with Aeolis. The Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, developed a thriving seafaring economy, became a great naval power, and founded the colonies Massalia (Marseille, France), Emporion (Empúries, Spain) and Elea (Velia, Italy). They remained independent until all of mainland Ionia fell to Croesus of Lydia (c. 560-545 B.C.). In 546 B.C., Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia. After the Greeks defeated Xerxes I, Phocaea joined the Delian League, but later rebelled with the rest of Ionia. In 387 B.C., Phocaea returned to Persian control. After Alexander, it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid, and finally Roman rule.
SH86291. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 32, 7 (c/γ); Weber III 5736 (= Bodenstedt 7); Boston MFA 1906, SNG Kayhan -; SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Ionia -, Rosen -, EF, superb archaic style, well struck, tight flan, bumps and scratches (mostly on edge), tiny edge crack, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse archaic style head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet, almond shaped eye, slight smile, long hair in rows of dots, dotted necklace, seal upward behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $2000.00 (€1700.00)
 


Pergamene Kingdom, Eumenes I, 263 - 241 B.C.

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Philetaerus, an officer of Lysimachus, deserted in 282 B.C., taking control of Pergamon and a large treasure deposited there. At first nominally a Seleukid suzerainty, Pergamon grew into a strong, prosperous and independent kingdom. Loyal allies of Rome in the Macedonian Wars and against the Seleucids, they were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor. When Attalus III died without an heir in 133 B.C., to prevent a civil war, he bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic.
SH82711. Silver tetradrachm, Westermark group III; SNG BnF 1606; SNG Cop 334; SNGvA 7452; SNG Ashmolean 752; Meydancikkale 3002; BMC Mysia p. 115, 31; Jameson 1449, Choice aEF, magnificent high relief portrait, excellent reverse style Athena, bold well centered strike, beautiful dark toning, light bumps and marks, a superb coin!, weight 16.917 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 30o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, struck in the name of Philetairos; obverse laureate head of Philetairos I right; reverse ΦIΛETAIPOY downward on right, Athena enthroned left, wearing crested helmet, chiton and peplos, right hand supporting grounded round shield before her, shield ornamented with a gorgoneion, resting left elbow on left arm of throne which is ornamented with a sphinx, transverse spear leaning on left arm, ivy leaf above knee, A on throne, bow outer right; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
 


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.
SL86746. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 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; $1480.00 (€1258.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Sestos was an ancient town of the Thracian Chersonesos, the modern Gallipoli peninsula in European Turkey. Situated on the Hellespont opposite Abydos, it was an Aeolian colony, founded by settlers from Lesbos, and the home of Hero in the legend of Hero and Leander.
SH82662. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 29, Müller 331, Meydancikkale 1599 - 1600, SNG Cop -, SNG Tübingen -, VF, attractive style, high-relief, light toning, well struck, centered on tight flan, light marks, weight 16.958 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sestos mint, 297/6 - 282/1 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, Nike crowning name in right hand, rests left arm on shield, transverse spear against right side, flower under arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex H. D. Rauch GmbH, auction 105, lot 45; scarce; $950.00 (€807.50)
 


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.
SH86507. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered on a tight flan, nice toning, banker's marks, light marks, die wear and cracks, small edge cracks, weight 17.07 g, maximum diameter 24.4 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; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


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.
GS86603. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered on a tight flan, no test cuts, banker's marks, weight 17.171 g, maximum diameter 24.1 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 owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece 133 - 132 B.C. "New Style" Silver Tetradrachm

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"New style" tetradrachms were struck by Athens as a semi-autonomous city under Roman rule. Hellenic style replaces the archaic "old-style." The owl is surrounded by magistrates' names and symbols. The letter on the amphora may indicate the month of production. Letters below may indicate the source of the silver.
SH82664. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 377 var. (same obv. die; unlisted month/control letters combination), HGC 4 1602, SNG Cop -, BMC Attica -, aEF, beautiful Hellenistic Athena, attractive rose toning with a few darker spots, light marks, weight 16.811 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, Athens mint, 133 - 132 B.C.; obverse Head of Athena Parthenos right, wearing necklace, pendent earring, and triple-crested Attic helmet with protomes of four horses above visor, a Pegasos in flight rightward above raised earpiece, and a curvilinear ornament on shell; reverse Owl standing half right on amphora, head facing, A−ΘE (Athens) flanking head, winged kerykeion to left, ΠOΛY−XAPM / NIKOΓ / AIAN/TI (Polycharm(os), Nikog(enes), and Aianti-, magistrates) in five lines, B on amphora, ∆I below, all within wreath; ex CNG Triton XIV (4 Jan 2011), lot 216; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., portrait of Alexander

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Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and the Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
SH82663. Silver tetradrachm, Müller 517, Thompson -, SNG Cop -, Meydancikkale -, VF, excellent portrait, sculptural high relief, well centered, light uneven toning, light bumps and marks, weight 16.984 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 90o, Ionia, Magnesia ad Maeandrum (near Tekin, Turkey) mint, 297 - 282 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, Nike crowning name in right hand, rests left arm on shield, transverse spear against right side, Φ inner left under arm, AP on throne, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; scarce; $850.00 (€722.50)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 100 - 99 B.C., New Style Silver Tetradrachm

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The owl is surrounded by magistrates' names and symbols. The amphora is marked with a letter that may indicate the month of production. Letters in the exergue may indicate the source of the silver used in production.
SL35724. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 861d; cf. Svoronos Athens pl. 61, 1 (same magistrates); SNG Munchen 215 (same); HGC 4 1635; magistrates Dositheos, Charias, and Dion, NGC Choice VF, strike 4/5, surface 2/5, smoothing (2490379-008), weight 15.913 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, 100 - 99 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, triple-crested helmet decorated with curvilinear ornament on the shell, griffin (or Pegasus?) flying right above the raised earpiece, and protomes of horses above visor; reverse owl stands right on amphora, A−ΘE divided by owl's head, above magistrates names ∆Ω−ΣI/ΘEO−Σ / XAP/IAΣ / ∆IO in five divided lines across field; control symbol in right field: Tyche standing half left, long scepter vertical in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ∆ on amphora, AΠ below; NGC certified (slabbed); $800.00 (€680.00)
 


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.
GS86606. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, tight flan, light toning, edge cracks, no test cuts, weight 17.139 g, maximum diameter 25.3 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; $720.00 (€612.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

de Callataÿ, F. "Le monnayage d'argent au type d'Athéna Parthénos émis au nom des Ainianes" in Obolos 7.
Houghton, A. "The Seleucid Mint of Mallus And the Cult Figure of Athena Magarsia" in Studies Mildenberg.
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.

Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
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Athena or Minerva