A modern silver bullion coin just released harkens back to ancient
The New Zealand Mint, in conjunction with A-Mark Precious Metals and
the issuing nation of Niue, now offers the Athenian Owl Tetradrachm $2
The 1-ounce .999 fine silver coin features a reverse design based on
the classic silver coin of Athens, the tetradrachm depicting the
Athenian owl on the reverse.
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The tetradrachm design (paired with an image of Athena on the
obverse) came to signify the powerful city-state in ancient Greece,
and was one of the most influential coins in the world.
The 2017 bullion coin is struck in high relief, with hammered fields
and reflective owl eyes. In addition, the coins were created with a
broad stackable rim that is reminiscent of the rims found on poker chips.
The majestic owl stands on a tree branch on the reverse, with ΑΘΕ
positioned to the right of the bird. In modern times ΑΘΕ has come to
stand for Alethia Orno Eternia, translating to Truth, Honor and
Eternity. In the hammered background are a crescent moon and the olive
branch of peace. The eyes in a mirror finish represent the nocturnal
binocular vision and wisdom of the owl.
The obverse bears the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II
and the 2017 date.
Each coin measures 39 millimeters in diameter.
According to David Madge, chief marketing officer at A-Mark, “This
coin was designed as a bullion coin and as such it does not have a
mintage. That said, there are production capacity constraints that
should ensure that demand exceeds supply.”
The coins are delivered in tubes stacked with 20 coins. Individual
purple boxes contain five tubes of 20 coins, and five 100-coin boxes
compose a master box of 500 coins, or 500 ounces.
Is coin jewelry a form of self-expression or
mutilation?: Inside Coin World:
Jewelry made from coins can be found for sale all over the
Internet, and even at major coin shows. Is it numismatic art or
Major bullion distributors like JM Bullion and American Precious
Metals Exchange are offering the coin to clients, according to Madge.
Premiums for the bullion coin will vary by seller, but at press
time, single coins to be paid for by check or wire transfer were
offered for about $1.50 to $2 per coin above the “spot” precious metal price.
About the originals
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.