Attica, Athens, New Style. 136/135 BC

Attica, Athens, New Style. 136/135 BC


AR Tetradrachm, 16.84g (31mm, 12h). Helmeted head of Athena / Owl standing on fallen amphora, symbol of club to left. 

Pedigree: Ex Gorny & Mosch 87 (1998), lot 154

References:  HGC 1602; Thompson 330f

Grade:  Slight overall wear, but nicely centered and well struck. Good VF+  (gk1172)

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The history of coinage and Athens go far back to the beginning of coinage itself. Once coinage was produced in the western world c. 650 BC in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) it was only a short time later that it moved further west to the extremely powerful city of Athens. The Athenians chose to strike coins not in electrum like their eastern neighbors but rather in silver, likely due to their generous silver mines at Laurium. In the early 6th century BC the rather ubiquitous Athena and owl imagery started to transform the entire Greek world. Fast forward some 600 years and the coinage was still being struck. Although the fabric and style of the coinages was different, the ever present Athena and owl still graced the surfaces. Athena became more classical in style and more elements were added to the reverse accompanying the owl. While the earlier style showcased the owl on its own, it now stood on a fallen amphora and the names of magistrates covered almost the entire area. The longevity of the coinage is a testament to the strength and vitality of the city.