A video on Athenian owls

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Mar 8, 2021.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    The ANS just posted a video by Peter van Alfen on the coins Athens:

    It is quite well done and he shows some outstanding coins.

    Here is an owl with Athena having a profile eye. It is later than coins of the massive coinage we commonly see.


    22-19 mm. 16.84 grams. "c. 300-262 BC."
    It is very thick, as you can see from the shadows.
    Sear 2547.
    Bought in 1973 at a coin shop in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Watch the video when you have 15 minutes and show us coins of Athens.
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  3. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    A very nice coin and interesting video.

    The video is an excellent introduction into this coinage for beginning collectors, as well as collectors of this series who enjoy seeing some really nice examples of super rare types.

    Thanks for posting.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  4. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    The archaic owl in the video is very nice! :)
    robinjojo likes this.
  5. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I enjoyed the video :happy:, thanks for pointing it out.
  6. Exodus_gear

    Exodus_gear Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this, was a very neat video.
  7. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I added the Owl pictured below to my collection several years ago :happy:.

    Athens, 454-404 BC, AR Tet. 25 mm 17.22 gm, 3h.jpg
    Athens, 454-404 BCE, AR Tetradrachm: 25 mm, 17.22 gm, 3 h.
  8. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Seems that this is the "Ancient Worlds" most prolific coin. They must have really struck a lot of them for commerce in Athens.
  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Peter Van Alfen states that over a 500 year period hundreds of millions of them were struck :jawdrop:! Harlan Berk estimates that over 100,000 Owls are still extant. Despite the huge number of surviving Owls they still bring a hefty price today :p.
    panzerman and tartanhill like this.
  10. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    With respect to Harlan J Berk and Peter Van Alfen who also mentioned the 100 K number mentioned above by Al Kowsky the number of owls is probably much greater than the number cited above. If the current hoard is anywhere near the numbers usually cited I would suggest that the "mass coinage" of 454-404 BC alone survive in larger numbers than 100K. When one talks about the price of these particular coins one should note that the very common mass coinage owls were minted at a very important time in the history of Athens and it is a rather nice thought that a coin that you are holding might have been owned by Pericles, helped build the Parthenon or was in somebodies purse when Alcibiades talked everyone into attacking Syracuse. Furthermore if you collect the coins of ancient Greece, how could you not want a coin from Athens? It is a bit like the elephant in the room.
    Okay so much for that. Here is the coin that launched my current interest in Athenian coins. Before buying this coin I was perfectly happy owning just 2 wanting no more. Now I have 14 including 7 of the mass coinage and would like more. :banghead: Only one might have been in the current hoard. Athens Ar Tetradrachm 415-410 BC Flament group III Obv. Head of Athena right in Attic style helmet. Rv Owl standing right head facing. 17.20 grms 22 mm Photo by W. Hansen athens13.jpeg
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I'm with TC on this one. I have seen (20 years ago) a thousand owls at one coin show (mid grade and sorted in large bags by price). I would place the likely number much higher but doubt anyone has a really good count.
    happy_collector and panzerman like this.
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    A question: Before the recent 'hoard', Mass owls sold for considerably more than the later versions. They are better looking and come from the time Athens was the most important city in Greece. Back then, I assumed the late owls were more common but I suspect they were just less popular. Today, we see many mass owls for every late one. I have no idea what the count is but continue to believe that the price is set by demand. Low end mass owls are cheap today. I suspect many are in the jewelry market ready to be destroyed. Am I wrong? I wonder how many individual investors own a thousand of them.
    happy_collector and panzerman like this.
  13. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    Thats a sweet coin.
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