An interesting owl with a reduced size obverse die

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    This coin, a mass production owl, has what appears to be a reduced size obverse die. The obverse was struck off center, yet almost all die detail was still captured. It appears that the mint was attempting to address the issue of incomplete strikes, especially on the obverse. This obverse die is around 18mm wide, as opposed to around 21 mm or wider that it typically seen.

    NGC grades this coin AU. I think elsewhere it would be called a good EF.

    17.14 grams

    D-Camera Athens tetradrachm after 449 BC reduced obv. die, 17.14 g , 12-14-20.jpg

    Here are a couple of photos showing this coin and another owl.

    D-Camera Athens 1, tetradrachm after 449 BC reduced obv. die, 17.14 g , 12-14-20.jpg

    D-Camera Athens 2, tetradrachm after 449 BC reduced obv. die, 17.14 g , 12-14-20.jpg

    As can be seen, there is a significant difference in the sizes of the two obverse dies, while the reverse die sizes are generally comparable.
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Only a thought, and I do not have: Is it possibly an Egyptian Imitative of the Athens Owl Tet to pay their Greek Mercenaries in Egypt?
  4. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Maybe the die engraver is used to make dies for smaller drachma coins...
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  5. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    It's a possibility, but a remote one, I think. Stylistically, the posted owl is very much in keeping with similar owls minted in Athens. Still, it could be a very good imitation.

    Here are two imitation owls that I think are of Egyptian or Eastern origin. The left owl weighs 16.2 grams, while the owl on the right weighs 16.9 grams.

    D-Camera Egypt or Eastern 2 imitation tets of Athens, 4th cen BC, 16.2, 16.9 g , 12-14-20.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
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  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's another possibility, for a didrachm or tridrachm? But I don't think those denominations existed during the mass production period.
    happy_collector likes this.
  7. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Supporter! Supporter

    The mouth & nose are unusual for want of a better word.
    Have you found any similar types to compare it to ?

    Not qualified to have an opinion either way but, i can't stop staring at the nose :wideyed:
  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I see what you mean. I think that difference can be attributed to the coin being a somewhat late mass production coin. The reverse is less framed in, compared to earlier coins of this period. Athena's portrait is also quite flat, with a downturn to the mouth.

    Still, it is possible that this coin is an imitation.
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