What special something makes a certain coin ‘cool’?

There may be no more iconic ancient Greek coinage than the Owls from Athens
By , Coin World
Published : 08/19/16
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They remain very popular today, especially with coin collectors.

Three major types of Owls exist, beginning with the Early Athenian Owls, issued from circa 510 B.C. to circa 454 B.C.

The tetradrachm replaced the “heraldic” type of didrachms then in use, and Early Style Owls were issued until about 454 B.C.

A mass coinage of Owl coins began around this time, and many of the Owls in coin collections today were minted around this time, ushering in the Classical Style.

The Owl was soon adopted by many other city-states of ancient Greece, Asia Minor and Magna Graecia and Greek colonial cities throughout the Mediterranean Sea. With the armies of Alexander the Great, it spread to the Greek-influenced areas of present-day Iran and India.

The Late or New Style owl, with a more refined artistry, are dated to around 164 B.C. and later. These pieces are slightly larger and wider than earlier Owls, in conformity with other coins of this period. 

Production of the Late or New Style Owls ceased in 42 B.C. when Rome took over, replacing them with the Roman silver denarii.

The Owl lives today, having appeared on 20th and 21st century coins from Greece, currently on the €1 coin issued since 2002.

Keep reading Coin World's series on what makes a world coin cool:

Silver denarius was centerpiece of Rome’s currency for centuries

Britain’s ‘Cartwheel’ coins reflect Industrial Revolution impact

New steam machinery brings Dragon dollar design to China

1910 Caballito silver peso is first commemorative coin of Mexico

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