Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Apr 27, 2021.
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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?
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 )
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?
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:
https://www.cointalk.com/threads/whats-the-secret-handshake-another-new-owl-tet-club-member.339458/ 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).
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.
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.
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.
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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