Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    For those interested in imitations of Athenian coinage, here is an important study in that field. Many of you, I am sure, are very familiar with it, but for those new to it, or wish to explore this fascinating subject in more detail, here is the attached study (PDF).

    Attached Files:

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  3. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    "Athens tets were not in much demand in Asia Minor". Oh Yeah? If the Turkish origin of that oft talked about but without true facts tet hoard is really Turkey, then what was the purpose of these high quality Mass classic owls? What else were they found with?.
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    You're right. The Athenian tetradrachms and other denominations have been discovered individually and in hoards through out Asian Minor and to the East and South over a wide geographical area.

    What part of the study are you citing?
  5. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    This reminds me that I just noticed 2 owl tets to be sold in HA, which are die matches to one of my coins, see photo below. First of all, I am thrilled to find 3 coins from the same dies.

    One of the HA coins is NGC certified and classified as "Near East or Egypt" (@Barry Murphy)

    Edit: the second HA coin is here

    The reference given by HA is Peter van Alfen, "The 'Owls' from the 1989 Syria Hoard with a review of Pre-Macedonian Coinage in Egypt," AJN 14 (2002), pl. 11, 2" which is a shockingly different coin and so I believe they didn't even open the article before citing it.

    So my question to @Barry Murphy is: do you have a reference which classifies this coin as "Near East or Egypt"? The only slightly unusual feature I see, is the the high density of dots (plumes) on the owl.

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a beautiful coin, well struck and made of good metal.

    Absent a pedigree to a hoard, many imitative owls are classified as such based on style. Many are clearly imitative, with marked deviations from the classic Athenian design, while others are much more nuanced.

    So, let's compare your coin with the one below, an Athenian Tetradrachm, mid-mass production, from the Roma Numismatics E-Sale 55, lot 168, which I acquired last year.

    I pasted the photo of your coin next to this one for easier comparison.

    D-Camera Athens Tetradrachm, Roma E-Sale 55, 7-5-20.jpg


    Both coins, on first glance seem almost identical and indeed that was the purpose of the imitation. However, there are differences on further inspection.


    On the obverse, the style is flatter on the imitation. Of course, many later production Athenian tetradrachms also have a flatter appearance, as the quality of the dies deteriorated with the failing fortunes of Athens during the Peloponnesian War.

    On the imitation, there is less detail to the lips and the crest is not a well engraved, treated almost as an after thought. The neck on the imitation is much narrower compared to the Athenian coin. The palmet is thicker, with much less flair. For the hair, both the upper and lower curls are larger and somewhat flatter. The dots for the neck guard on the imitation are larger, compared to the Athenian coin. The eye is similar to the Athenian coin, but a bit wider, with the upper and lower lids more roughly engraved. The leaves on the helmet, as well as the earring are very similar to those on the Athenian coin.


    The olive leaves and crescent moon are very well engraved, but than those on the Athenian coin. The owl's head on the imitation is somewhat wider and squarer in appearance. The treatment of the owl's beak differs in design, something that I have seen on other imitative coins. The owl's feet are thickly engraved on the imitation, again something that I have seen on other imitations. The breast feather detail on the imitation is actually very close to that on the Athenian coin, as are the wing feathers. Notice, however, how the middle wing feathers on the Athenian coin have a pronounced curve. That's much more understated on the imitation. There are also differences between the two coins in the treatment of the lower feathers, above the legs. There are also some differences with the AΘE ethnic, with the Athenian coin's letters being somewhat larger, although these differences are quite minor.

    These are my observations. Perhaps others may have additional information. I'm still learning about these imitative tetradrachms, and given my learning curve, this is a long term project!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  7. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    lll.B-Asia Minor
  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Van Alfen refers to the areas of central and southern Asian Minor as being dominated by local indigenous coinage, especially in Lycia. This situation limited the influence of outside coinage, apparently. He cites a forthcoming work by Konuk. I'll look into the availability of that paper.

    This seems to be the work Van Alfen was referring to:

    Konuk, Koray (2003), From Kroisos to Karia; Early Anatolian Coins from the Muharrem Kayhan Collection, ISBN 975-8070-61-4
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  9. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    There are no Athens old style tets in the Fethiye Museum, Lycia



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  10. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Very interesting photos. So, the large hoard found in Turkey of 5th century owls might be an anomaly.

    Turkey is a sizable country, and the actual location of the hoard is not clear, but it is possible that some local family of great wealth accumulated the Athenian tetradrachms and buried them for safekeeping. So perhaps these coins were used as a way of storing one's wealth, while local coinage was used for everyday transactions - just a theory.
  12. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your reply; however if you choose any 2 owl tets you can easily come up with a long list of differences. I can't consider any tet as imitative unless a peer reviewed journal article proves so. Even then there is controversy eg on some aspects van alfen and flament disagree with each other and with buttrey...

    For the time being my only proven imitative is this one. Edit: this is Buttrey Type M => Egyptian
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  13. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Someone mentioned that the hoard is from Konya but this is merely a rumor. My assumpion is that the recent influx of coins from Athens, Kelenderis, Side, Cyprus, Aspendos etc is the looted basement of a museum in Syria. Turkey supports ISIS. There's the connection.
  14. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a nice one, probably Egyptian.

    Here's a similar coin that I acquired earlier this year, with symbols in front of the portrait. This coin was heavily cleaned when I received it. With time it will re-tone.

    D-Camera Athens Imitative Tetradrachm, Reshoot, eBay purchase, 7-7-20.jpg

    Here are two more imitative tetradrachms. The first from the Levant, the second, probably from the Arabian peninsula.

    D-Camera ,Philistia Attica Imitation Tetradrachm, eBay Israel purchase.2, 6-19-20.jpg
    D-Camera Athens Arabian Imitation Tetradrachm,  Jordan Find, Forum Purchase 2020C, 2019  5-31-20.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  15. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    Without a real genuine large dealer spilling the beans we will never know. I don't buy your Syrian loot theory and Turkey hates various Kurdish factions but helped with pushing out IS. There are always smugglers, borders are porous!

    Maybe some of you know real genuine serious dealers to ask-aren't there supposed to be dealers who are members of CT? Maybe they can use a pseudonym.
  16. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Provenance is always problematic, especially when it comes to coins sold from hoards.

    Individual coins are being found, I am told, in the Jordan Valley and in Syria, by metal detector.

    I recently posted images of a hoard of Athenian tetradrachms that came out of Syria. Part of it is pictured below.

    They could very well have been looted, but we may never know. As far as I know this hoard has been sold and dispersed.

    Attica Classic Period Tetradrachm Hoard.1 - Syria 2019.png
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  17. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    They look nice. Some of them-at first sight- look to have obverse die matches? Individual coins are found all the time but tend to be in poor condition as surface finds whilst that lot look like a pot hoard with a bit of earth leaked into it.
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  18. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    They are nice, and I think that lends credence to the idea that they may have come from a museum or private collection.

    I think the coins from the hoard photo were arranged quite haphazardly. There are more rows (6) in the second photo, compared to the first photo, which has 5 rows. So, I wouldn't assume there's a match for each coin's obverse and reverse.

    Yes, the individual coins found by metal detector are usually very rough, with some totally encrusted and quite often corroded. I image we would look the same way stuck in the ground for over two thousand years. I'd be a little on the stiff side - time to dust off the Peloton bike!

    The Arabian coin, by the way, is a surface find, from Jordan, brought to the US by the family when they emigrated.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  19. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Notice the inclination of the shadows they leave on the table cloth...It must have been a table full of them and they photographed with the same external light source which didn't move.
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  20. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    There was a hoard found in Afghanistan recently. It was supposed to be published in Koinon II but another journal, who had initially declined the article, went ahead and published anyway without telling the author! We had to pull it at the last minute.
  21. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    What was the rogue journal?

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