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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. 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. 307 - 300 B.C.

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |307| |-| |300| |B.C.||AE| |15|NEW
The designs of the early Athenian bronzes were apparently copied from the fractions that they replaced. This coin has a similar design to the silver tetrobol. Later bronzes had much lower value, in relation to their size.
GB93816. Bronze AE 15, Kroll 50; Svoronos pl. 22, 85 - 88; SNG Cop 94: HGC 4 1719 (S), VF, tight flan, obverse a little off center, porosity, weight 3.838 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 307 - 300 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right, crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a snake; reverse owl standing left, head turned facing, wings closed, A-ΘH divided across fields from right to left (retrograde, as usual for the type), all within olive wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very scarce; $160.00 (€131.20)

Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 449 B.C., Very Early "Old Style" Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |449| |B.C.,| |Very| |Early| |"Old| |Style"| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
On this coin and all classic "old style" tetradrachms struck c. 454 - 404 B.C., the owl's tail feathers are represented by a single prong. On Athens' earlier issues, the owl's tail is composed of three separate feathers. Other than the single prong tail, this coin closely resembles the preceding issues of Starr Group V, in particular the palmette and olive leaves on Athena's helmet, and the narrow, deep incuse of the reverse. It is very likely this coin was among the earliest of the classical "old style" tetradrachms of the c. 545 - 404 B.C. issues.
SH87206. Silver tetradrachm, some characteristics of Starr Group V, but a single prong tail; cf. Svoronos Athens pl. 10, 16 - 18; Starr pl. XXII, 1 - 3; SNG Munchen 46, Choice aEF, bold high relief, flow lines, light toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 17.143 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 449 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral palmette scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse robust owl standing right, head facing, tail of one long prong, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; rare style variant; 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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