Attica, Athens. c. 454-404 BC

Attica, Athens. c. 454-404 BC

5,500.00

AR Drachm, 4.28g (14mm, 6h). 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 / Owl standing to right with head facing, olive sprig and crescent behind, ΑΘΕ before; all within incuse square.

Pedigree: Ex Prospero Collection, NY Sale XXVII, 4 January 2012, lot 371

References: Svoronos, pl. 13, 27; Kroll 10; SNG Copenhagen 42

Grade: Very nice style and with attractive toning. Slightly o/c on the obverse but sharp strike and a rare denomination. Some minor die breaks in the field on obverse. EF (gk1239)

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Archaeological evidence suggests that Athens has been occupied by humans since before 3000 BC, however, the zenith of its growth occurred during the 6th century BC. Due to the silver mines at Laurium, located about 60 km from Athens, the city was rich in silver. This gave them an advantage that few other Greek city states had: the ability to strike an abundance of coins. And strike they did!  All over the Greek world tetradrachms of Athens circulated. Some even to the far east reflected a Phoenician appearance and symbolism.

While we see many different styles of tetradrachms, to the point that even a die study of the type is impossible to achieve, we see much less of the smaller denomination in silver. This coin is a drachm which as it suggests is roughly ¼ the size of a tetradrachm. A very interesting type and one that is less visible in the current market.