AR Tetradrachm. 17.15g, 25mm
MINTED: ATTICA, Athens, circa 454-404 BC
REF: Kroll 8; HGC 4, 1597; SNG Copenhagen 31
OBVERSE: Head of Athena right, wearing earring, necklace, and crested Attic helmet decorated with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl.
REVERSE: Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent to left, AΘE to right; all within incuse square.
A superb example of the iconic Athenian tetradrachm, with a very attractive head of the goddess Athena. The wonderfully struck reverse showcases the full square incuse and a nearly perfect owl.
This coin was struck during the Golden Age of Athens (480-404 BC), when it established its preeminence over all the other city-states in Greece. This was the period that saw great Athenians like the statesmen-generals Themistocles, Pericles and Alcibiades, philosophers Anaxagoras and Socrates, historian Thucydides, dramatist Sophocles, and many others, lay the foundations of thought, culture, and politics that shaped the history of western civilization.
The silver 'Owl' tetradrachms were renowned for the fineness of their silver, and as the influence of Athens grew, they quickly became used as the currency of international commerce. So ubiquitous were the 'owl' tetradrachms that their designs were copied in lands as far away Egypt and Arabia. Today, they remain amongst the most popular and recognisable of ancient coins amongst collectors.
ATTICA, Athens . 454-404 BC . AR Tetradrachm . *A Superb Owl*
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