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Athenian Owls

scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,713 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited October 16, 2023 12:30PM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

These are really interesting coins and I don't know much about them. While the tetradrachms were minted for many years with different variations and quality of strike, by far the most common are the "mid mass coinage" issue of 440-404 BC.

It seems that massive hoards of these have been discovered somewhat recently, such that NGC has now graded over 13,000 of them and there are doubtless many more ungraded. The morgan dollar of the ancient world?

Interestingly, at the top end of the grading spectrum (NGC Star) there are only about 400, and in Mint State Star there are ~150. So while there are a ton of these coins available, the top end is still pretty scarce. Prices are all over the place based mostly on eye appeal.

Is there anyone here who is an expert in these, or an enthusiastic collector? Or does most everyone just buy one or two for type if they're interested and call it a day (that describes me for sure).

Anyone have an NGC Star example?


  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 560 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have one, I think they’re wonderful, but given the amount available I wouldn’t spend an inordinate amount on one. You should be able to get a really decent one for 1k.

    I would consider myself an enthusiastic collector of a single example 😂. I just don’t think you can find a more “Greek” coin. Minted during the apex of Greek power, showing Athena in battle headfress, the patron of Athens and all that goes along with it, and the owl…so iconic and representational of knowledge and industriousness. Just a great coin!

    I'm BACK!!! Used to be Billet7 on the old forum.

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,561 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice example!

  • Bob13Bob13 Posts: 1,412 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Anyone have a toned example? And where do all of them come from?

    Don't get me wrong - I really would like one, but it seems like they are very available and most are in good condition.

    My current "Box of 20"

  • scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,713 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Bob, the one I posted has iridescent toning, especially on the owl side. It’s just hard to see in the image. Most of them are bright white like they spent time in a chemical bath after being unearthed.

    I’d also love to hear stories about how the hoards were discovered and what they looked like.

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