440-404 BC Athenian Owl AR Tetradrachm Description:
Among the world's very first coinage, these ancient Athenian coins depict the goddess Athena and the owl from the city's coat-of-arms. The "owl" as it is now affectionately known features a depiction of Athena with a frontal, almond-shaped eye and lips drawn back into a tight "archaic smile". On the reverse the letters AOE represent the "children of Athens." These coins were struck by hand, and in the AU grade, resonate with original detail, surfaces, and the aura of ancient greatness. Celebrated in ancient numismatics as the first coin with a full design on both the obverse and the reverse, the drachm (from the Greek word "handful") was the most popular unit of exchange in the Greek world. The tetradrachm, or four drachms, played a crucial role in ancient Greek history, and just as the world inherited the art, history, and culture of ancient Greece, our children inherit the legacy we leave behind.
Why this coin is crucial to ancient Greece The Athenian owl tetradrachm played an essential role in Athens' rise to greatness. These coins paid for the construction of the city's "wooden walls" - the fleet that repelled the Persian invasion of 480-479 and then projected Athenian power throughout the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean. Later in the fifth century Athenian owls financed the cultural flowering under Pericles: the building of the Parthenon with its magnificent sculptures; the regular celebration of the festival of Dionysus with its new crop of tragedies and comedies; and the gathering of philosophers, rhetoricians, and artists of every type. Few cities have contributed so much to human civilization in so short a time. The Athenian owl tetradrachm is not only a coin, but an example of "classical" Greek art.
Why this coin and ancients are a good buy right now In addition to bullion, and rare US coins, a truly diversified coin portfolio should include a selection of important ancient and world coins. Packed with history and coveted by an international collector base. Despite this worldwide value and appeal, these coins are still at a price that allows you to hold a piece of ancient Greece in your hands. Ancient coins are gaining in popularity and we strongly urge you to get in at the right moment. What better way to start your ancient coin portfolio, then with the owl - a symbol of prosperity and protection.
In 2007 a panel of international experts voted the Athenian Owl in the top ten Ancient coins ever produced. The coin is also featured on the cover of "Money of the Bible" by Ken Bressett.