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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. 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.
GS88879. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice EF, well centered, some luster, light marks, small edge splits, weight 17.186 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 15o, 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; $1000.00 (€850.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 393 - 297 B.C.

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GS86848. Silver obol, cf. Svoronos Athens pl. 22, 1 ff.; HGC 4 1666 (R1); Kroll -; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, tight flan, weight 0.695 g, maximum diameter 8.7 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, c. 393 - 297 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel curves, eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, head facing, sprig of one olive and one large leaf behind, all in incuse square, AΘE downward on right; ex Beast Coins; rare; $215.00 (€182.75)
 


Persian Empire, Philistia (Gaza or Samaria), c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens

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A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Holy Land. In the past these coins were all attributed to Gaza, however, recent hoard finds indicate a mint at Ashkelon probably also struck this type. It is likely that at least several small mints struck these imitative types.
GS86843. Silver obol, cf. Samaria Hoard pls. 45 - 50, SH269 ff.; Gitler-Tal 4.4.IX.1O; SNG ANS 18; Sofaer Gaza pl. 103, 6, VF, toned, well centered on a tight rhomboid flan, a little rough, encrustations, weight 9.4 g, maximum diameter 0.636 mm, die axis 180o, Gaza(?) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel bands, eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, olive spray with one olive between two leaves and a crescent behind, AΘE downward on right, all in incuse square, no Aramaic inscription; ex Beast Coins; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 140 - 90 B.C.

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The Panathenaic Games were held every four years in Athens from 566 B.C. to the 3rd century A.D. These games incorporated religious festival, ceremony, athletic competitions, and cultural events hosted within a stadium. Ritual observances consisted of numerous sacrifices to Athena, as well as Poseidon and others. The competitions were the most prestigious games for the citizens of Athens, but not as important as the Olympic Games or the other Panhellenic Games. Award ceremonies included the giving of Panathenaic amphorae which were the large ceramic vessels that contained the oil given as prizes. The winner of the chariot race received as a prize one-hundred and forty Panathenaic amphorae full of olive oil.
GB88151. Bronze AE 12, Agora XXVI 105; Svoronos pl. 107, 36-41, VF, reverse rough, weight 1.920 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 140 - 90 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse A-Θ/E, panathenaic amphora; rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Les Monnaies D'Athenes (The Coins of Athens)

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Please note that if you order 3 or more books and our shopping cart shipping charges add up to an excessive amount, we will reduce the shipping charge and only charge the actual cost of postage!
BK15565. Les Monnaies D'Athenes (The Coins of Athens) by Par E Beule, Reprinted, 1858, in French, 417 pages, illustrated, softcover, fading on spine/cover, international shipping at the actual cost of postage; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Persian Empire, Philistia (Gaza or Samaria), c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens

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A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Holy Land. In the past these coins were all attributed to Gaza, however, recent hoard finds indicate a mint at Ashkelon probably also struck this type. It is likely that at least several small mints struck these imitative types.
JD86845. Silver hemiobol, cf. Samaria Hoard pls. 50 - 51, SH306 ff.; SNG ANS 20, gF, toned, die wear, rough/porous, irregular flan, edge chips, weight 0.216 g, maximum diameter 6.6 mm, die axis 270o, Gaza(?) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel bands, very large eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, olive spray with one olive between two leaves behind (no crescent visible), AΘE downward on right (off flan), all in incuse square; ex Beast Coins; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 275 B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Megara had 23,456 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
GB85880. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Peloponnesos 9.2 ff. (various symbols below); BMC Attica p. 120, 26 (dolphin below); HGC 4 1797; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 2.829 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, c. 370 - 275 B.C.; obverse prow of galley left, uncertain symbol (cuttlefish, prawn, dolphin, or club?) below; reverse two dolphins swimming clockwise around MEΓ, all within dotted border; ex J. Cohen Collection; $85.00 (€72.25)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 87 - 86 B.C., Mithradatic War Issue

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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.
GB88333. Bronze chalkous, SNG Cop 307; BMC Attica p. 81, 554; Kroll 97; Svoronos Athens pl. 84, 45 - 48, F, some light corrosion, weight 9.370 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, 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; ex Harlan J. Berk, ex John Twente Collection; $80.00 (€68.00) ON RESERVE


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 87 - 86 B.C., Mithradatic War Issue

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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.
GB88953. Bronze chalkous, SNG Cop 307, BMC Attica p. 81, 554; Kroll 97; Svoronos Athens pl. 84, 45 - 48, F, obverse off center, weight 8.251 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 30o, Athens mint, 87 - 86 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Zeus advancing right, nude, hurling thunderbolt with right hand, left extended extended, A/Q-E flanking below arms, star between two crescents (one above and one below) in lower right field; ex Roma Numismatics; $80.00 (€68.00)
 







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Thursday, April 18, 2019.
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Athens Greek Coins