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AR Athens, Attica Tetradrachm 454-409 B.C. (17.18g, 24 mm) O: Helmeted head of Athena facing right. Kroll 8; SNG Copenhagen 31; Dewing 1591-1598. R: Owl standing to right, olive sprig and crescent behind, all within incuse square. G: Choice AU S: Vilmar Collectibles via vcoins 5/19/13

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Greek Silver

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Thanks, Paul. I get the feeling a better scan will show its true color better. I should have it in hand Wednesday so maybe I can have another picture up by the weekend. It's hard to improve on the Classic beauty of the Acropolis era Owls. -h
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These coins and yours in particular, posses a combination of beauty and elegance seldom found in many other coins. It appears to have a fairly high relief, which only adds to the appeal.



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That's one of the many appeals to me of Athenian tetradrachms from the Classical period. They are very high relief on both sides, even though the reverse still has the incuse punch. While these were minted in the millions at the time, many were melted down in the 390's BC and many others were used internationally and converted to local currency. An interesting analysis of the minting numbers and survival of Owls by Sverdrup and Schlyter claims only about 17700 Classical Owls survive from tens of millions minted. See http://www.systemdynamics.org/conferences/2012/proceed/papers/P1192.pdf . -h
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I have it in hand now and it is a beautiful, minty, lustrous coin. It's quite high relief with a lustrous well defined owl. It couldn't have seen much circulation before being put into the ground. I suspected Athens had minted a lot of these, but the estimates of tens of millions in that article surprised me a bit. I wonder how accurate the estimate of the number surviving will prove to be. -h
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The number of surviving Classic coins (even the high end estimate of 17,700) sounds surprisingly low. Freeman sold off a hoard that had to have a hundred tets in it 5 years ago. I can't believe that there haven't been hundreds of hoards over the last century that have been discovered. However the authors did put a lot of thought into deriving their numbers (although that doesn't mean the assumptions used in their calculations are necessarily correct.)
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I thought 17,700 sounded low too, but then that is a pretty big number and most auctions only have 2-3. I'm sure dealers handle more, but 17700 covers a lot of territory. Search this site for Athens tetradrachm and see how many you get. -h
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