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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 94. Estimate CHF4500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF4500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ATTICA, Athens. 430s BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 17.55 g 11). Head of Athena to right, wearing crested Attic helmet adorned with three olive leaves and palmette, round earring and pearl necklace. Rev. ΑΘΕ Owl standing right, head facing; behind, olive spray and crescent moon; all within incuse square. Cf. Dewing 1592 and Svoronos pl. 12, 17 . A superb example, with the full helmet crest on the obverse, very rare thus, and with a lovely small head of Athena. Some very minor traces of horn silver, otherwise, good extremely fine.

During the third quarter of the 5th century BC the Athenians struck an enormous amount of tetradrachms to pay for construction and the needs of their extensive Aegaean empire. For example, there were around 6 million pieces stored in the Parthenon as part of a last reserve; this means that the mint must have been working very rapidly, using hundreds upon hundreds of dies. Such rapidity meant that many coins were imperfectly struck; and their popularity meant that the coins were used constantly. Thus, while Athenian tetradrachms are easy to find, they are very seldom as nice as this.