Numismatic and History Discussions > Greek Coins

Curious about Small Pin or Cap on topside of Graded Athena/Owl Coin


Bryan A2:
I came across this Athena/owl coin graded by NGC and saw a small metal cap or pin-looking thing on top of it. I was curious what this could be from?! (pics attached)

Thanks, Bryan

Perhaps just a st ray bit of silver from the mint?

Bryan A2:
ah interesting @djmacdo. I ended up purchasing it, so will send close-up pics when it arrives in a few days lol. this is actually my first coin in the hobby so super pumped!

Congratulations on your first ancient coin purchase! I wouldn’t be too bothered by the pin-like object which appears to be just a stray silver globule adhering to the tetradrachm from the minting process creating the optical illusion of an anachronistic metal pin. NGC are very professional at encapsulating, conserving and grading ancient coins. They would never stoop to damaging irregularly-shaped ancient coins by anchoring them in place with metal pins or anything like that.

My very first ancient coin purchase was also the iconic and chunky Athenian Owl. They were the first widely-used international coins of the ancient world. People were excited by the explosion of new Western civilization and the prosperity of Athens - the coin itself came to represent those riches. The widespread exchange of the Owls helped to spread Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean. It’s believed that the U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt carried an Athenian Owl as a lucky charm, one that influenced him to redesign American coins.

Athens, Attica, Greece (c.454-404 BC), Old Style Silver Tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, EF, well-centred and struck on a tight flan, bold high relief, lightly toned, minor marks, reverse some hoard encrustations, small edge cracks, weight 17.25g, maximum diameter 23.0mm, die axis 330°, Athens mint, c.454-404 BC; 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.

Bryan A2:
Thank you so much!! @Serendipity I think "a stray silver globule adhering to the tetradrachm from the minting process creating the optical illusion of an anachronistic metal pin" is possibly the best description you could have given me and I am so appreciative. From my beginner perspective, the little globule looked quite strange but a friend made the same suggestion that it could have been silver that went airborne during the minting process and landed on the side of the coin!

I am honored to join the chunky Athenian Owl club with you and will add some follow up pictures soon when my chunky owl arrives! Thank you for the added information as well! One day I might buy a cheaper chunker to keep with me for good luck as Teddy did!


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