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". Why did I choose this one? Well, it seemed like a good time to pull the trigger. Prices are pretty palatable right now... still rather high but the coin is a must-have for ancient coin collectors and it is unfortunately popular with ancient coin tourists too. Of course the moment I bid and won I began second-guessing. Should I have waited? No, I think I'll be happy with this one. I had a bunch of criteria and this one ticked all the boxes while remaining, well, not exactly a bargain but not unreasonable for the quality. As with most of my coins, the reverse is the side of greatest interest and more than anything I wanted a well-shaped flan with excellent centering of the square punch. I wanted it to be clear that the reverse die was a square. As for the obverse, I did not want any part of Athena's face off flan or on the edge. Athena's head is large relative to this flan so there just isn't room for the full obverse design. I'm okay with that. The centering is awesome and the compact flan allowed the excess metal around the reverse punch to squoosh out in a nice way, emphasizing the squareness of that punch. Another dilemma was which era of owl tet to get. It had to at least be a classical era tet. I'd also like an early transitional tet (the "three tail feathers" tet) and an archaic, but the mass emission tet seemed logical as a first owl tet (I'm not going to count a New Style owl tet I got in a mixed lot six years ago). Maybe someday to complete the set I'll even go for a profile eye tet, the ones issued a hundred or so years after the coin shown above. I did not want any test cuts. Someday I'll look for one with a test cut, or even several test cuts, but for my first owl I wanted no cuts. The holder said "light scratches" but I'm hard pressed to see any. I do see horn silver though, but I don't find it particular distracting. Perhaps that helped keep the price down. Because it is hard to shown the dimensionality in a single still image, here's a brief in-hand video: The obverse relief is of course high and you can get a sense of it in this photo (not a photoshopped reflection; I shot it on glass with black paper underneath). Should I have waited for an example with better surfaces? More crest? Eh, perhaps, but I wouldn't have wanted to pay the higher price. ... After years of complaining about the high cost of these common coins, I finally got one and I'm really happy about it. You folks were making me envious with all your owls tets . We've had a bunch of threads about these lately but feel free to show them off again, or any other coin you've initially "resented".