Do you like my bird? 2nd coin ever and it is an owl

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Only a Poor Old Man, Feb 29, 2020.

  1. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,

    Continuing from my first thread yesterday about my first coin, here is how I ended up with an owl a few days later. Buying my first coin (the Alexander tet) completely unplanned and the ensuing fascination resulting from researching its history, triggered my collecting buds and made me decide to become a coin collector. That initial enthusiasm turned almost immediatelly to obsession, and it led to a Pokemon mode of "Gotta to get them all". As an experienced collector of other things I should have know better and take my time to get books, study, familiarise myself with other ways to buy coins such as auctions, but no, I had to get another coin ASAP to get my fix.

    So I found myself entering the doors of the same shop only a few days later, and this time I was after an Athenian Owl one of the most iconic coins of ancient times. I was aware it wasn't going to be cheap and I wasn't prepared to settle for a coin that wasn't in good condition... But I had to have one... Unfortunately we live in an age of credit cards and imaginary wealth so I said it was going to be OK as I would put strain on the credit card for the next couple of months until things balance out by the incoming salary. Totaly idiotic, but that's what initial enthusiasm does to you coupled with a hint of mid-life crisis.

    I ended up with the following coin. Sorry about the photo quality, it is from the initial batch of photos I took of my coins under no ideal lighting conditions.



    I wanted to get a coin with a centered owl with good details, well defined square die, no test cuts and full ΑΘΕ if possible. I wasn't too bothered about the Athena side, but I managed to get a nice one with an almost full helmet and without a nose-job.

    I had done a bit of research on what those coins are supposed to weight, and luckily they had some coin scales. My example is 17.18 grams.

    Rather annoyingly not long after I got the coin I learned about the rumours of that massive hoard thay has flooded the market with affordable owls. I know I could have done better price-wise, and I am having lentils this weekend instead of steak because of this purchase. But I love my owl. There are many like it but this one is mine! :cigar:

    The reality is I could have done worse. There are more expensive owls in physical shops out there, and the better owls are still expensive even in auctions. I think I learned my lesson now and have calmed down a bit. I am not sure yet how I am going to go about my collecting from now on. I will avoid high-end coins for a while as it is not financially viable, but from looking around there are many interesting and fascinating coins to be had in VF condition or better for under £200. I will try to focus on them till I learn more... Maybe invest in a book or two...
    PeteB, Orfew, DonnaML and 14 others like this.
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  3. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    You have started your collection with two numismatic icons in top quality. You bought them safely from a reliable dealer, and you seem to do the homework too. Brilliant. All the coins we buy could have been cheaper. Or more expensive. You bought them, and I can tell you love them. I think it’s a great start.
    Bronze coins from Sicily may be an inexpensive way to go forward while getting your cc back in order? Or Byzantine coins, they can be outright cheap, far less than 200 pounds.
    I think we’ve all felt that numismatic rapture a few times. It’s wonderful. :)
    Only a Poor Old Man and dougsmit like this.
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Here on Coin Talk we are asked by beginners how to get started in the hobby. Most are more constrained by budget than you are but for those who can afford it, you seem to be following the suggestions we make whether or not you read them here. There is no single book that will solve all your problems and there are many that would be of benefit. Picking your first book is almost as difficult and almost as much of personal choice as selecting those first coins.

    Greek cities of Sicily and Italy would make a great choice for your next coin and there are enough of them that a book might help you select them. The problem is that I am not a major fan of the books I know for the overall region. Perhaps someone else here will have a suggestion. I might warn that several choices are reprints of books over a hundred years old. They are not worthless but they are not what I would prefer for a first book either.
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  5. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    One of the many good advices that often occur here too, is to look at many coins.
    I think that is a great advice. I often follow online auctions in the weekends, and even if I’m able to keep my resident bottom-feeder in check, ending up with no coins at all (phew :facepalm:), I get training in identification, grading, I learn where the market is at, and more. I believe it also helps developing an intuition for fakes, because you get used to the look of real coins. Then there is of course the possibility of getting a good deal, which is great. Avoid bidding wars, though. Remember there will always be a new coin.

    38E8F61A-7470-4133-BB96-460417F98290.jpeg AF14E5EA-BF92-44F5-9F8D-4AB1A08C1339.jpeg
  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    There are many beautiful and affordable bronze coins from ancient Greece. My advice would be to go to a reliable ancient coin dealer's web site and start poking around. I don't know what country you live in, but dealing with someone in your home country is easier and less hassle than with someone from overseas.

    I live in the US, and I like to peruse the e-auctions from CNG:

    Welcome aboard. I hope this is the beginning of a lifelong hobby for you.
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  7. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    You have two great coins. It looks like you did a bit of research and picked well.

    You must buy expensive steak!
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  8. Chiefbullsit

    Chiefbullsit CRAZY HORSE

  9. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    I am far from being a wealthy man. I don't even own a car, it is not necessary living in London. However, I have a philosophy. Life is short and afterlife uncertain, so it pays to spoil yourself once in a while. That could translate to a fancy restaurant, holiday or even a coin :pompous: My Mrs is all about saving, so we balance each other out!

    Aren't these expensive? From what I gather Sicily coins are the Kobe Beef of the ancient Greek coin world.

    And this is exactly what I am planning to do. Roma Numismatics next physical auction in London is next month.

    Having had a quick look at the catalogue, it is rich in Sicily coins and the quality seems to be staggering. I don't think I can afford any of the coins there (there are some with an estimate around £300, but I suspect they will go for much more). However as it is a physical auction, I can attend and examine some coins. Most auctions have preview days, anyone knows if this is the case with these guys?
    Parthicus and svessien like this.
  10. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    The two sicilian coins I posted here cost me 90 pounds.
    This was at a time where I trolled the net night and day to find cheap coins, though. I'm not a wealthy man either.
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Sicily has quite a range including some that would buy a small herd of Kobe Beef. To stay in my price range (less than yours from what you have shown), I have several possibilities.
    1. If silver, then small. Dekadrachms are very expensive. Tetradrachms are expensive. Tiny fractions can be reasonable unless...... see #2.

    2. High grade coins cost more....much more. I prefer the four mid grade examples to one high grade coin. svessien above showed a coin like mine but his was very high grade. Mine is not. My coin's price used two digits; his did not (I suspect). I do not define my coin as absolute garbage but some here most certainly would.

    3. Avoid great rarities; stick to the common and unpopular. Specialists want rare coins. Collectors seeking a typical example can avoid bidding wars for rarities and concentrate on finding a decent looking but common coin. This bronze from Syracuse is probably the most common coin seen from there. It is not high grade but still has legible legend naming the issuing ruler (Hieron).
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