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    Description

    Pleasing Classical Owl

    ATTICA. Athens. Ca. 454-414 BC. AR tetradrachm (25mm, 17.13 gm, 7h).   Head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet ornamented with three laurel leaves and vine scroll / ΑΘΕ,  owl standing right, head facing, olive sprig and crescent moon behind, all within incuse square. SNG München 52. SNG Copenhagen 32. Well struck and nicely toned. NGC Choice AU? 5/5 - 5/5.

    From The California Collection. 

    The Athenian "owl" silver tetradrachm is unquestionably one of the most influential coins of all time. During the fifth century BC, when Athens emerged as the greatest of all Greek cities, owls were the most widely used international coin and helped to spread Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean world. The heyday of Athens, between 510 and 400 BC, witnessed the birth of democracy, the building of the Parthenon, the emergence of Classical art and sculpture, and the origins of Western literature. Never before or since has one city contributed so much to human progress. On all owls of the "mass coinage" period (454-415 BC), Athena retains her frontal, almond-shaped eye and her lips are drawn back into a tight "archaic smile." Although more fluid and realistic forms of artistic representation were spreading through Greece at the time, these anachronisms were retained on the Athenian owl for many decades, probably because people demanded a reliable, dependable, unchanging currency.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
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