circa 515/490 BC
Head of Athena, of archaic style, wearing a close-fitting crested Attic helmet, facing right
AΘE, Owl standing right, head facing; to left, two olive-leafs with berry; all within incuse square
8.58mm, 0.87g, 9h
aVF, toned, porous surfaces
very rare, early archaic issue
ex Dr. Busso Peus Nachf Auction 421 (1-3 November 2017), Lot 1075; ex Dr. Busso Peus Nachf Auction E-Auction 5 (8 July 2017), Lot 43; ex Solidus Numismatik (17 March 2016)
Seltman Group L; SNG Copenhagen 24-25; SNG München 38 (but, likely group G or M); SNG Soutzos 664; BMC Attica [Athens] p. 5, 33-38; HGC 4, 1657; SGCV I 2524 var. (one olive leaf); Kroll -; SNG Berry -
List of references used by Ancient Coin Traders
A tiny coin from one of the earliest issue of Athenian owl coinage. Very rare.
The Athenian Owl coinage is one of the most recognised types of ancient coins. The core design of Athena on the obverse and a facing owl on the reverse is instantly identifiable as belonging to the city of Athens. The core design remained unchanged for a long time other than stylistic adjustments in line with chronological progression. This obol belongs to the earliest known issues of this type, evidenced by its archaic style, lacking the refined features of the 'classic' owls issued en masse in the period around 454-404 BC.