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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Birds| ▸ |Owl||View Options:  |  |  | 

Owls on Ancient Coins

Owls are depicted on many different ancient coin types but the most prolific types are the coins of ancient Athens. The ancient slang names for the coins of Athens were "owls" (but in Greek of course) and "girls" (referring to Athena on the obverse, also in Greek). "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" of Athens are still very popular. For collectors, they are perhaps the most popular ancient coin type.

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

|Domitian|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
In 86, Dacia attacked the Roman province of Moesia. After the attack, Domitian personally went to Moesia and reorganized the province into Moesia Inferior and Moesia Superior. In the summer of 87, five or six legions crossed the Danube to attack Dacia. At Tapae they were ambushed. Almost all of the soldiers from Legio V Alaudae were killed, the Dacians captured their flags and war machines, and general Cornelius Fuscus himself was killed in battle. After this victory, the Dacian king Diurpaneus received the name of Decebalus, meaning as strong (or brave) as ten men.
RS96570. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 576, BMCRE II 117, RSC II 236, BnF III 115, SRCV I -, Choice aVF, attractive portrait, well centered on a round flan, nice toning, flow lines, light marks, weight 32.9 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 1 Sep 88 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on the capital of a rostral column, helmeted, wearing aegis, brandishing javelin in right hand, shield on left arm, owl at feet on right; toned; $150.00 (€138.00) ON RESERVE


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

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
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.
SH71597. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, no test cuts, nice Athena and owl, toned, well centered on a tight flan, as usual crest off flan, light marks and scratches, weight 17.042 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 135o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C. (probably close to 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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