Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Adcono, Apr 11, 2022.
as well. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks
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A test cut, made in antiquity, by a private individual or merchant who wanted to make sure it was real silver throughout.
Found this old thread actually on the forum of members showcasing their owls. At the bottom of the screenshot you can see a similar type with the dotted helmet. So I guess it’s not so unusual. Iv just never seen one before and it’s definitely not the norm for the type.
I do have one that displays these dots.
The archaic owls are among the crudest coins produced by Athens. The flans were usually narrow, poorly prepared resulting in details missing (off the flan) and rough surfaces due to flaws in the metal. Add to the equation crudely engraved dies, worn dies and haphazard strikes, and the result is usually a quite primitive appearing coin, especially one produced by Athens.
However, I find their crude nature part of their charm. They are most idiosyncratic and as different from the later classical owls as night is to day. The basic designs are the same, but that's just about all they share in common.
The presence of a pupil can be seen in many archaic owls, especially those struck with dies that are not worn. I cannot say that this feature is present in all archaic owls, as demonstrated in the posted examples. There was quite a variation in the dies that were produced, at multiple mints, according to Seltman. The abilities of the engravers varied from mint to mint, and the artistic influences of the period often influenced how the dies were engraved.
Here's one more example. The reverse of this owl is my avatar for CT.
This is a classic situation. The obverse die used for this coin is worn and the metal is pitted and flawed. The result is a portrait of Athena that is recognizable, but lacking in much detail. The reverse die, on the other hand, as a very skillfully engraved owl, far better than most, which tend to be stiff and lacking in much detail.
This is actually a Pharaonic imitation owl, with what appears to be a Paleo Hebrew M countermark on the reverse (at least that's my opinion).
Not sure about the countermark on this owl - still researching.
Another owl with a Phoenician M countermark.
@Adcono There is no political reason for the test cuts at that time. This coin is dated pre 480 thus before the egemony of Athens.
Archaic coins with test cuts are mainly found in hoards far from Athens (e.g. the famous Asyut hoard in Egypt) where they were considered hacksilber, used as bullion or as currency by weight in antiquity.
I think at least the Vikings were a fidgety bunch, when you look at the dragon style carvings.
People will be people. Give out knives to a high school class, and you will soon see favorite bands and girlfriends carved out on the desks. We seem to like to put our marks on things.
Makes sense. I’m sure that’s the reason for the cuts I just am wondering aloud why it’s necessary to test a specific coin numerous times like on this example. And yes the early coins are dated before the Delian league and the rise of Athenian hegemonic power but I think these coins stayed in circulation for some time so could have been around much later.
You'll find most folks here a friendly and eclectic bunch. I have learned so much from the sidelines over the years and everyone is generous sharing their knowledge.
I've enjoyed the thread you started and thought I would share this. Not an academic response but interesting. We returned from a short vacation in Rhodes yesterday and whilst there I was given this coin in my change.
I thought it really fascinating that this symbol has continued to be used on a coin over two thousand years after its first use.
Here is my Owl Tetradrachm, my only other Greek Coin. I collect Roman and British but wanted to own one of these iconic coins so deviated from my interests.
Here are the two together for size comparison.
Finally, the Owl continues to be used on objects to this day and there is a plethora of them available as souvenirs as ornaments or printed on anything you can imagine as is the Mati or "Evil Eye" symbol. I collect fridge magnets on my travels and searched for an Owl Magnet but was unable to find what I wanted but killed two birds with one stone with this piece of tacky tourist bait.
This segues nicely into "Weird Al" Yankovic.
A ceramic owl hair spray cover, Japan, circa 1960s-1970s
And a print of an owl, made by my sister while at Ann Arbor, 1966
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