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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. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
This type was struck on thick flans, almost always with a diameter too small to fit all the details from the obverse die. Most of the helmet crest is usually off the flan, or Athena's nose is cut off on the right. The happy coincidence of this irregularly shaped flan allowed an unusual nearly full strike of Athena's head and crested helmet.
SH98708. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice aEF, near full helmet crest, well centered on an oblong flan, flow lines, light toning, small bumps and marks, mild die wear, weight 17.159 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 90o, 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; $1750.00 SALE PRICE $1575.00

Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 465 - 454 B.C., Transitional Early "Old Style" Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |465| |-| |454| |B.C.,| |Transitional| |Early| |"Old| |Style"| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
This rare transitional early "old style" type features the most attractive owls of the entire Athenian tetradrachm series.
SH86209. Silver tetradrachm, Starr Group V.B, Series 2, 180; Svoronos Athens pl. 10, 9; HGC 4 1596 (R2); SNG Cop -, Choice VF, well centered and struck with high relief dies, superb owl, tight flan cutting off most of crest as usual for the type, bumps and marks, uneven hoard toning, weight 17.143 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 180o, Athens mint, c. 465 - 454 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 robust owl standing right, head facing, tail composed of three short feathers, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; rare; SOLD

Persian Empire, Mazakes, Satrap of Babylon and Egypt, c. 335 - 332 B.C.

|Persian| |Empire|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Mazakes,| |Satrap| |of| |Babylon| |and| |Egypt,| |c.| |335| |-| |332| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Mazakes was the Persian Satrap who surrendered Egypt to Alexander the Great. He was most likely Satrap in Babylon prior to his position in Egypt. After surrendering to Alexander, he was again Governor or an authority of some type in Babylon under the Satrap Mazaios, now working for Alexander. He may have actually been Satrap post Mazaios or at least worked together with Stamenes.

Mazakes issued Athenian type owls from both Mesopotamia and Egypt. Based on hoard evidence, most experts believe the types with thinner broader flans are from Memphis in Egypt, while those with thicker flans, more careless in execution, are from Babylon or Uruk. Most experts believe that Mazakes issued these coins in Babylon prior to 333 B.C., before his satrapy of Egypt. There is some possibility they were issued later while he governed under Alexander the Great, c. 325 - 315 B.C.
SH22453. Silver tetradrachm, Mitchiner IGIS vol 1, 12(a); Alram IP 378, VF, weight 16.603 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 270o, Mesopotamia, Babylon (Hillah, Iraq) or Uruk mint, c. 335 - 333 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse owl standing right, Aramaic inscription of Mazakes 'MaZDaKa' and monogram (possibly a fire altar symbol) to right; Ex Wayne Sayles, Ex Kovacs; rare; SOLD

Mesopotamia, Mazaces (satrap under Alexander the Great and Philip III), c. 325 - 315 B.C.

|Persia| |&| |Mesopotamia|, |Mesopotamia,| |Mazaces| |(satrap| |under| |Alexander| |the| |Great| |and| |Philip| |III),| |c.| |325| |-| |315| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Imitation of a 4th century Athens tetradrachm produced in Mesopotamia, probably under the authority of the Persian satrap Mazaces, whose name appears on some similar issues. He probably received the governorship of a city or district from Alexander as a reward for the peaceful surrender of Egypt in 332 B.C. This example is remarkable in having a head of Athena facing the "wrong" way, i.e. to left instead of to right as on all the prototypes.
SH08822. Silver tetradrachm, similar to cf. Mitchiner IGIS vol 1, p. 16 Type 13a 4 (owl also standing left), F, weight 16.85 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 45o, uncertain mint, obverse head of Athena left, wearing earring and helmet ornamented with three olive leaves; reverse AΘE, owl standing right head facing, olive sprig and lunar crescent in upper field to left; heavily oxidized (dark toned) surfaces; unpublished and possibly unique but similar to the attribution ref Mazaces type, Svoronos pl 23, 12 is another left facing Athena (fourree), these are the only known Athens type tetradrachms with Athena left; SOLD



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