To crest or not to crest - the marketing of owls on today's retail and auction markets

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Apr 27, 2021.

  1. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Mine doesn't have the full mohawk either, but it ticked most of the check boxes for me on both sides.

    ATTICA Athens - AR Tetradrachm 1st New 3111.jpg
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  3. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Athens tetradrachm.jpg

    Athena is smiling on mine. I prefer that to a full crest. Who invented that a full crest was important? Did that someone make money on this invention?
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Isn't it wonderful that there are so many thousands of these in the market that we each can pay what we want and customize what id on the flan and what is not? Most of us paid twice as much for half the coin before the latest hoard made a common coin into one common in EF (especially if you define EF as a coin with wear erasing forehead detail as is the trend by so many sellers now). I got mine pre-hoard and paid too much. No one else would want one so flatly struck and I could not get half what I paid in return so we are stuck with each other. At least mine has an uncrowded nose.:)
  5. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    I think you're right about the rarity and probably also price when comparing same condition coins. I've never run into a tetra as cheap as this drachm (but I also haven't run into one in as poor of shape :D)
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  6. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    But having a full mohawk is an important feature of the design...if you can afford it. Indeed a full Athena uncrowded on a 27 mm flan sounds perfect to me.
    The Split in the crest at the back once was the subject of an acrimonious battle on Forum Ancient Coins.
    A coin was bought which did not sport the split on the crest which was therefore the factor in many correspondents' arguing this prize piece was a fake... that went down like a lead balloon ! It later sold for a good price...but I wonder...any experts out there?
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  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Same here!

    Exactly :D.

    I wanted a well-centered coin and intact nose. Because of thick flans and large heads, the crest, nose, or both are incomplete on most coins. There are some with smaller heads of Athena and those are generally the ones where a full crest is possible. My coin has only a hint of crest because of the large rendering of Athena and the compact/thick flan. Even more important to me than the crest was the reverse. I wanted a well-centered and well-struck reverse which fully showed the square die.

    More details of why I picked this particular coin are here: It's far from a perfect coin but it satisfied all of my requirements and was attainable for a relatively good price ($834 all in).

    ATTICA, Athens
    c. 454-404 BCE
    AR tetradrachm; 17.21 gm, ~25 mm
    Obv: head of Athena right, with frontal eye
    Rev: owl standing right, head facing, closed tail feathers; olive sprig and crescent to left; AΘE downward in right field; all within incuse square
    Removed from an NGC slab; AU 5/5 strike, 3/5 surfaces, "Parliament Collection"
    Ref: I really don't know. There are so many catalogs and types and I have no idea how nitpicky various catalogers are. Reid Goldsborough noted that David Sear said there were so many owl tets that in all his years he's never seen a die matched pair! Suffice it to say that this coin is authentic and it is from the "mass emission" period... a "classical owl tet".

    Hmm. I should reshoot this. The color is off and I think I can do better with lighting.

  8. AuldFartte

    AuldFartte Supporter! Supporter

    My only owl:
    Athens Owl Tetradrachm.jpg
    Attica. Athens. AR Tetradrachm (16.88 gm). Circa 454-404 BC. Obv. Head of Athena right, in crested Attic helmet ornamented with three olive leaves above visor and spiral palmette on bowl, wearing round earring with central boss. Rev. ΑΘΕ (before) - Owl standing to right with head facing, olive sprig and crescent behind; all within incuse square. Dewing 1591-8 | HGC 4, 1597. Very Fine÷Extremely Fine, old cabinet tone. Silver, 16.88 gm, 26 mm

    I picked this up from an Italian dealer on VCoins for about $930 USD, shipping included. My desire was to get a good example of the owl. Yes, Athena's face is smooshed, but that didn't bother me. Perhaps at a later date, I will obtain a nice one, well-centered obverse and reverse. But this is what I could justify spending when I acquired it a few months ago.
  9. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Drachms are much scarcer than the tetradrachms. However, the demand is clearly focused on the tetradrachms, as it has been since I began collecting ancients back in the 1980s. It has very much to do with perception and desire on the part of collectors. When it comes to ancient Athens and her coinage, what comes first as the image? The tetradrachm, of course. Also, a tetradrachm has a pleasing heft to it, and a large enough surface for the obverse and reverse design elements to be easily discernable.

    I have noticed that drachm prices are also climbing, I think as more collectors, who have developed an interest in this series, search the market for a nice drachm example to add to the collection.

    Here's a drachm that I recently picked up. It is quite crude and dark, with an obverse die shift, and it looks pretty much as it came out of the ground.

    4th century BC, possible imitation.

    3.8 grams

    D-Camera Athens drachm 4th century BC 3.8 grams Israel 4-28-21.jpg
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  10. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Nice owl!

    Yes, I find the expressive portraits very appealing.

    I think full crest obverses have always carried a premium. It just seems now that the price disparity between a full crest versus a partial or no crest owl has grown significantly over the past few years. This crest is certainly desirable, but there are other factors, that I mentioned, that are of equal importance.
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  11. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Probably my favorite one, it has the deepest strike I ever saw. The dot in the center of theta pops out like a nipple. It could have been an almost full crest but the area was not struck well. I could have easily bought the potts example but I preferred to collect several different styles and not stick to a single perfect coin.

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