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, New StyleTetradrachm, c. 86 - 84 B.C., Issued by Sulla
After 1 March 86 B.C., Sulla was the master of Athens. He recovered from the Pontic king Mithradates, who had taken it by force. This issue was struck for Sulla, either at Athens or outside Athens during the siege, to pay his legions and expenses during the war against Mithradates. The silver was collected from Greeks who supported the Romans against Mithradates and requisitioned from the sacred temple treasuries at Epidaurus, Olympia and Delphi. The ancients admired these Roman-Athenian coins and called them "flats of Lucullan." The MARKOY monogram may refer to Marcus the brother of the Roman general and politician Lucullus.
SH70948. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Thompson Athens 1293; Svoronos Athens pl. 78, 11; Dewing 1653; Boehringer AMUGS V, pp. 28-31 and pl. 9, 10; Kraay-Hirmer pl. 120, 366, gVF, attractive style, well struck, nicely toned, centered on a crowded slightly irregular shape flan, weight 16.581 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 86 - 84 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, triple-crested helmet decorated with a griffin right above the raised earpiece, and protomes of horses above visor; reverse owl standing right on amphora on its side right, head facing, MARKOY monogram left, TAMIOY monogram right, A on amphora, all within olive wreath; ex John Jencek; rare; $2500.00 (€2175.00)
Levant, Egypt or Arabia, Imitative Athenian Transitional StyleTetradrachm, c. 350 - 330 B.C.
This coin is from the hoard containing at least 76 Athenian-type owls, both Athenian issues and Egyptian and Levantine imitations, and two silver "dumps" cataloged and discussed by Peter G. van Alfen, in "A New Athenian "Owl" and Bullion Hoard from the Near East" in AJN 16-17 (2004-05), pp. 47-61, and pl. 6-13. The hoard is rumored to have come from the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
SH66406. Silver tetradrachm, Van Alfen New p. 58 and pl. 12, 67 (this coin), VF, test cut on reverse, weight 16.983 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, c. 353 - 294 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right with eye seen in true profile, wearing crested helmet ornamented with three olive leaves and floral scroll; reverse owl standing right, head facing, to right AΘE in large lettering, to left olive sprig and crescent; Van Alfen plate coin; very rare; $800.00 (€696.00)
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.
SH72177. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Kroll pl. 2, 15c - d; SNG Copenhagen 63; SNG München 93; BMC Attica pl. V, 4; SGCV I 2547, aVF, toned, usual compact flan, weight 17.076 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, 353 - 297 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; ; $370.00 (€321.90)
Persian Empire, Arabia, Gaza, Samaria or Judaea, c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens
A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Middle East.
JD66401. Silver obol, cf. Hendin 1011, Meshorer TJC 4 ff., SNG ANS 15 ff., VF, toned, weight 0.576 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 270o, obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse AΘE, owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, within incuse square; $200.00 (€174.00)
Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 87 - 86 B.C., Mithradatic War Issue
In 87 B.C., Mithridates moved his forces into Greece and established Aristion as a tyrant in Athens. Sulla landed in Epirus and marched through Boeotia into Attica. Most cities declared their allegiance to Rome, foremost among them Thebes. Athens, however, remained loyal to Mithridates. After a long and brutal siege, Sulla's rough battle hardened legions, veterans of the Social War, took Athens on the Kalends of March 86 B.C. They looted and burned temples and structures built in the city by various Hellenistic kings to honor themselves and gain prestige. Months later, only after they ran out of water, Aristion surrendered the Akropolis. Athens was looted and punished severely. Roman vengeance ensured Greece would remain docile during later civil wars and Mithridatic wars.
GB69776. Bronze chalkous, SNG Cop 307, BMC Attica p. 81, 554; Kroll 97; Svoronos Athens pl. 84, 45 - 48, F, flan crack, weight 7.255 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, Mithradates VI of Pontos & Aristion, 87 - 86 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Zeus advancing right, nude, hurling thunderbolt with right, left extended, A/Q-E flanking below arms, star between two crescents (one above and one below) in lower right field; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; scarce; $70.00 (€60.90)
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