In search of a Starr Group V owl.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by tartanhill, May 11, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    The style of the hair is very similar to that used for the decadrachms.
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  3. Fereydoon

    Fereydoon Member

    I only have a modest one . Nothing compared to yours


  4. Meander

    Meander Well-Known Member

    Now this is mine. I assume it is a transition issue since the tail feathers are not separated. attica-athens-460-450-bc-ar-5472017-O.jpg
  5. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Thanks, @robinjojo. I do think that this example is dated before the Peloponnesian War. Likely in between Starr V and the Intermediate period. More likely around 450 BC. The owl design is similar to the more-rounded Starr V type, which is dated around 465 BC.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Here's my Starr Group V tetradrachm, in a NGC holder (came that way) graded Choice VF, which I guess is fairly accurate. I'm not sure where this coin is placed within Group. The owl's tail feathers are separated into three distinct groups, but not a dramatically as other types (beginning of the merge?). Athena's hair shows a slight curve at the top, but not the sharp downward curve for the lower part, as is seen in earlier types.

    The image is slightly darker than the actual coin.

    17.09 grams, approximately 23.5 mm, 7 h. Circa 465-455 BCE

    D-Camera Athens Tetradrachm, Starr Group V, NGC, Ch VF, 5-11-20.jpg
  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I actually placed a bid on the bottom coin, mainly because of that massive jaw line! That coin has a lot of character. I not successful, alas.
  8. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    This is group IV you're very lucky you got/paid it as a V
    Eric Kondratieff likes this.
  9. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member


    I guess I need to buy a copy of the Starr reference. I've been collecting owls since the 1980's on an on-again off-again basis, depending on focus, and I've never paid much attention to that reference.

    This particular coin was obtained online from a dealer who primarily sells US coins. I forgot how much the coin costed, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $700 or so, definitely under $1K.
    Eric Kondratieff likes this.
  10. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    That surely is an excellent price for a group IV. :happy:
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Thank you.

    Would this example fall within Group V, or would it be considered post-Group V, early mass production?

    Clearly, all owls are not necessarily birds of a feather.

    Attica Tetradrachm 454-404 BCE, Dr Busso Peus Nachf, Purchased MA Shops.jpg
    shanxi, Carl Wilmont and Bing like this.
  12. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    I think the owl design of your coin makes it fall between post Starr V and Mass Classical.
  13. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    I don't know OLD STYLE owls,but maybe a gallery of all the Starr types with their attributes would be useful on CT.
    And since Starr, the late Ted Buttrey and Peter van Alfin has written on them.
    The last thing I saw was a book in French by Flament.
    Old Style attribution is a nightmare!
  14. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    I can understand NewStyleKing's as well as others, frustration with the series as it is an extremely complex coinage. Despite its importance the coinage has been only superficially studied. Complicating the problem is that about half the coins being offered in the trade that are listed as Starr groups coins are not. They are usually improperly listed examples of the Mass coinage series which is currently dated 454-404 B.C. Perhaps to start off I will submit a Starr Group IV Coin athens44.jpg
    The easiest feature to note when tying to distinguish the Starr Group IV coins from the later issues is the slight wave in the hair circled in red below. athens44.jpg The reverse featured the splayed tail feathers on the owl Circled in red below athens44 - Copy.jpg Now we can try to look at the Starr group V coins. This group is divided into two groups A and B. Below is a Starr V A Coin athens22 (3).jpg Below is a Starr V B Coin CNG 111 Lot 147.jpg Picture CNG 111 Lot 147 This is not my coin. The principal difference between the Starr Group IV coins and the Group V coins is the treatment of the hair over the forehead of Athena. The treatment of the hair has been simplified
    The current hoard seems to have had very few if any of the Starr Group V A coins. The main difference between the two groups is that the owl on the A issues seem to be smaller and less robust than the B issues. Now we get to the Mass coinage. Flament divides this coinage into three broad groups Group I Group II and Group III The early Flament Group I coins which some here have called "transitional" issues Share many features with the Starr Group V B issues except one Below Early Flament Group I coin athens21.png The tail feathers on the owl are no longer splayed but are treated as a single prong. 11100147 - Copy.jpg Conparison between the reverse of a Starr V B and a Flament Group I Early. In conclusion that this is an extremely simplified examination of this period of the coinage of Athens. All photos except for the ones from CNG are done by W Hansen
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Thank you.

    This is a very illuminating post. The nuances of distinguishing the types within the Starr groups are quite complex, as you say, and this is something that I should look at more closely, perhaps even buying a copy of Chester Starr's work.
  16. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your very informative post. A picture is surely worth a thousand words here. Now, my next target for the second half of 2020 is a Starr IV. :happy:
  17. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I just ordered a copy of Starr's work on the coinage of Athens in the 5th century BC.

    This is something that has been long overdue, but I procrastinate.

    Now, on its arrival, I can spend time during this period of shelter in place, going through the owls to see if any fall within Starr's system. I suspect the vast majority won't; they will be later issues or imitative (a favorite area for me). Still, it will be a diversion, while the dust bunnies around the house organize into a union....
  18. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Hi all
    athens 465-455.jpg
    Sorry to pile on, but am I correct to say this is a Starr Group V A? Since Athena's hair is straight, but the owl is thin and has distinct tail feathers.
  19. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    Richard T what you have is a Starr Group V B The owl is larger overall. The splayed tail feathers is correct.
    NewStyleKing likes this.
  20. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks Terence! That really helps.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this very illuminating explanation and illustrations. Do you know if there are photos anywhere online that show the features of the later Flament Group I coins, as well as those belonging to Flament Group II and Group III? I think such photos would be extremely helpful to those of us with Owl coins that are clearly from the "Mass" coinage, but I have been unable to find them anywhere.
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