Athenian Owl tetradrachm highlights Heritage CICF auction

Market Analysis: NGC Ancients program can provide confidence to buyers looking at ancient coins
By , Coin World
Published : 05/03/16
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The ancient coin market remains robust, despite some concerns about cultural patrimony laws that may impact the ability of American collectors to buy and sell some ancient coins. Numismatic Guaranty Corp.’s NGC Ancients program, led by David Vagi, continues to help make buyers comfortable with ancient coin collecting by taking much of the guesswork out of grading, authenticating and attributing of ancient coins.

In this week's Market Analysis we're highlighting three ancient Greek silver coins that sold at Heritage’s April 14 to 19 auctions held at the Chicago International Coin Fair in Rosemont, Ill. Here is one of them:

The tetradrachm:

Athenian owl silver tetradrachm, circa 440 to 404 B.C., Mint State

The price:

$4,935

The story:

The silver tetradrachms of Athens are perhaps the best known among ancient Greek coins because the design depicting Athena and a large-eyed owl was used over the course of centuries with only subtle changes. This uniformity allowed Athenian tetradrachms to be recognized throughout ancient Greece as a trade currency, and their reach spanned far beyond Athens.

NGC Ancients grades coins using both an adjectival grade similar to the 1 to 70 Sheldon system used for modern coins, and a separate grade for strike and surface. This Athens silver tetradrachm dates from circa 440 to 404 B.C. and is graded Mint State by NGC (the equivalent of MS-60 to MS-62) with a 5/5 for strike and surface.

Heritage added that it was “well centered and deeply struck on an unusually broad flan, with fields displaying considerable ‘mint bloom’ and luster.” The handsome Greek coin sold for $4,935.

Keep reading this Market Analysis: 

Aegean Turtle stands on this Greek silver stater of 480 to 457 B.C.

Sicilian silver stater from Syracuse in Fine Style brings $1,997.50

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