New arrivals: A hard stone intaglio Roman ring and a classical owl with an interesting countermark

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Aug 13, 2022.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Here's a truly mixed bag.

    This is an antiquity that came out of Roma's E-Sale 100.

    The hard stone is either jasper or carnelian, probably the former, since it is fairly opaque and not translucent. The figure depicted is really different from one usually seeing with these intaglios.

    Here's the lot description:

    "Roman Silver and Hardstone Ring. Circa 3rd - 4th Century AD. Octagonally faceted gnostic intaglio, set in silver shank with broad shoulders, engraved with gryllus head, composed of human head with pointed chin, with birds' legs, wearing tall cap in the form of a maned-horse's head holding frond in its mouth. 11.35g, 11mm (intaglio).

    Condition as seen.

    From the Altstetten Collection, kept in the vault of Crédit Suisse Geneva (documentation available upon request) since 26 November 1969."

    The ring measures 25mm x 15mm. D-Camera Roman jasper itaglo silver ring 3rd-4th cen AD stone 11mm 25mmx15mm ring 11.33g 8-10-22.jpg

    On the owl front, I picked up this classical standardized owl from the same sale. This is a high grade example, albeit with an off center obverse. Normally I would pass on this coin, but what attracted me is the small countermark on the obverse. As some of you probably know I like to collect owls with different types of countermarks, which exist in a profusion of types on these famous trade coins.

    The countermark, I believe, is a Paleo Hebrew "taw", as shown below this owl, which indicates this coin was in the Levant but not put into circulation. Perhaps it was countermarked and then put in a bank of sorts or a hoard where it resided for the next 2,400 years or so.

    17.18 grams

    D-Camera Athens owl 440-404 BC Paleo-Hebrew 'Taw' cm obv 17.18g Roma 100 133 8-9-22.jpg

    Paleo-Hebrew Taw 7-9-22.jpg
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  3. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    With the complex design, that ring has a lot going on, @robinjojo! Does it fit one of your fingers? The Athenian coin is very attractive, and that countermark is a plus. Congratulations on finding it to add to your collection!

    Adding an owl here, but no countermarks on it:


    Attica. Athens circa 454-404 BC
    AR Tetradrachm (25 mm, 17.20 g)
    Head of Athena to right, wearing disc earring, pearl necklace and a crested Attic helmet adorned with three olive leaves and a spiral palmette. / ΑΘΕ, Owl standing to right, head facing the viewer; to left, olive sprig and crescent moon; all within incuse square.
    Struck7, Curtis, cmezner and 3 others like this.
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Thanks and that's a really nice classical owl!

    No, the ring really doesn't fit - a bit too small for my short fat figures.

    I recently received a classical owl from Israel. I was told by the seller that it was found in that country, probably West Bank, where other owls, many of which are imitative have come from.

    This example is basically in "as found" condition, with an earthy overall appearance, some porosity and a few marks. It's well centered though and there's an apparent die break running on the reverse from the bottom of the owl's head left to the olive.

    16.93 grams

    D-Camera Athens owl c. 440BC late transitional found in Israel 'as found' 16.93g eBay  8-11-22.jpg
    GinoLR, Struck7, Curtis and 4 others like this.
  5. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    I like the ring. Carnelian me thinks. I would be happy to relieve you of it.
    robinjojo likes this.
  6. Struck7

    Struck7 Active Member

    What a finely carved and thought provoking design that intaglio roman ring has. The ancient person of note who was wearing and using it was perhaps a bit "different" as you say @robinjojo. It reminds me of a quote from Canadian designer David Craib "Design should never say Look at me, It should always say Look at this"
    robinjojo likes this.
  7. marchal steel

    marchal steel Member

    A beautiful owl and a lovely strike of detail with Athena. A true classic coin!
    Carl Wilmont and robinjojo like this.
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