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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Greece| ▸ |Athens||View Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of 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 "old style" design remained essentially unchanged and somewhat archaic long after other cities began to produce coins of with more refined artistry. The Athens types were so popular, numerous imitatives were struck in the Levant, Egypt and elsewhere (we include those on this page too). Under Roman rule, as a semi-autonomous city, Athens struck "new style" (Hellenic style) tetradrachms. "Owls" are still very popular - for ancient Greek coin collectors, they are perhaps the most popular ancient coin type.

Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 440 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |440| |-| |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.
SL110170. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (6556678-002), weight 17.189 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 440 - 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, ΑΘΕ downward on right, all within incuse square; ex Classical Numismatic Group, NGC| Lookup; $1450.00 (1334.00)


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 440 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |440| |-| |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.
SL110173. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (6556678-005), weight 17.212 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 225o, Athens mint, c. 440 - 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, ΑΘΕ downward on right, all within incuse square; ex Classical Numismatic Group, NGC| Lookup; $1530.00 (1407.60)


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

|Persian| |Rule|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Philistia| |(Gaza| |or| |Samaria),| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.,| |Imitative| |of| |Athens||obol|
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.
GS110013. Silver obol, cf. Samaria Hoard pls. 45 - 50, SH269 ff.; Gitler-Tal 4.4.IX.1O; SNG ANS 18; Sofaer Gaza pl. 103, 6, F, toned, off center, die wear, tight somewhat squared flan, ragged edge, weight 0.478 g, maximum diameter 8.7 mm, 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 Classical Numismatic Group, ex Richard L. Horst Collection; $65.00 (59.80)










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