Starrs in the Eyes

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, May 27, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    After receiving Chester Starr's book on Athenian coinage, I started going through the owls, and came across another coin that I think falls into a Starr group, but I am having difficulty matching it with the photos. Perhaps I am now legally blind, but I have a lot of difficulty distinguishing the features that differentiate one coin within a group, or even across one group, say from III to IV. The differences in many cases seem very nuanced.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    So, here is the Starr Group IV owl that I posted a few days, and with the kind help of CT members, assigned it to this group. I believe, in the Starr scheme of things, is closest to # 136, Group IV:

    D-Camera Athens, Tetradrachm, Starr Group IV, #135, Obv.  5-27-20.jpg

    D-Camera Athens, Tetradrachm, Starr Group IV, #135, Rev.  5-27-20.jpg

    Here is the other owl, also slabbed and purchased from the same seller who sold the above owl. Would this example be classified as being in Group III, # 97?

    D-Camera Athens, Tetradrachm, Starr Group III, #97, Obv.  5-27-20.jpg

    D-Camera Athens, Tetradrachm, Starr Group III, #97, Rev.  5-27-20.jpg
    galba68, Xodus, Andres2 and 5 others like this.
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  3. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    I don't know the difference between Starr III and IV. However, these 2 owls are cool examples of early transitional.
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Perhaps it not terribly important to attribute to a Starr group. I've just been looking at similar coins through, and it seems that auction houses attribute to Group IV or to Group III or to Group V in what, at least for me, is somewhat mystifying. Also, the photos in the Starr book, published first in 1970 are often dark and grainy, so, I think it is time to just kick back and enjoy coins!
    DonnaML and happy_collector like this.
  5. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Totally agree. Enjoy the coins!
  6. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    Except for gross differences eg Archaic , frontal eye changes, introduction of moon and sprigs, is their any real evidence that these Starr groups like 3, 4 or 5 etc have any real chronological validity? Are they not individual die artist's whimsy? Here today gone tomorrow? Is their any reliable hoard evidence?
    What of the more interesting and very rare Heterogeneous Old Styles?
    robinjojo and Andres2 like this.
  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I agree - the later profile eye and rare heterogeneous styles are often overlooked by collectors in favor of the archaic styles. I think this is in part: 1) people associate the archaic style with Athens' golden age on the 5th century BC; and 2) the later owls are cruder and struck on usually thick "dumpy" flans, although, from time to time a really nicely struck and attractive coin does show up on the market.

    For those who "march to their own drummer", the owls of the 4th-3rd centuries offer better value and they have an appeal all their own.
  8. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    Of what I have read that the later dumpy flans were caused during a major re-striking of the quotidian banal mass classic owls. This seems to have consisting of heating them, smashing them and then folding them into smaller-often log-shaped-flans and then re-struck. Maybe they couldn't stand the mass classic Old Style. What a seemingly pointless waste of effort? Ideas?
  9. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I can only speculate that heating, folding and restriking was an expedient measure to speed up the minting process. Why they would do this to existing owls is a good question. Perhaps the mint was under orders to take coins of old designs, go through this process, to produce the new owls.

    I think there was also an issue that the silver mines of Laurion were starting to play out, so the recycling program began in the 4th century BC.
  10. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    Maybe there was an edict that Mass classic owls could not accepted at full value and must be re-coined to be tariffied again at full value. Since the weight of silver was the same per coin I guess you had to pay a fee for the large cost of the re-minting and a bit more which went into Athen's coffers. This is the only reason I can think of that makes sense, so it is a form of enforcing taxation-the need of which often is due to losing a war-Pellopenisian? And why not change the design a bit with Athena looking away from you?
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