NGC MS 4/5 - 5/5 440-404 BC Ancients ATTICA Athens Silver tetradrachm (23mm, 17.20 gm, 7h)

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ATTICA. Athens. Ca. 440-404 BC. AR tetradrachm (23mm, 17.20 gm, 7h). NGC MS 4/5 - 5/5. Mid-mass coinage issue. Head of Athena right, wearing earring, necklace, and crested Attic helmet ornamented with three laurel leaves and vine scroll / AΘE, owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig with two leaves and one berry, and crescent moon behind, all within incuse square. HGC 4, 1597. SNG Copenhagen 31-40. Kroll 8.



Athens was a great military power in ancient Greece and is considered the birthplace of Western civilization and democracy. After defeating the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, Athens was brought into a golden age. During this period of prosperity, Athens expanded its political and economic influence throughout the Greek world, allowing artistic and intellectual progress to flourish at a rate which has never been matched. Their military and naval strength was aided significantly by their influx of funds from the mining of silver at Laurion.


The quantity of silver controlled by the Athenians allowed them to mint the authoritative coinage of ancient Greece, the thick and heavy Athenian “owl” tetradrachm, which remains the most recognizable ancient coin today. This coin was the largest silver coin of its time.President Theodore Roosevelt kept an owl tetradrachm in his pocket and was inspired to order the redesign of the U.S. coinage in the 20th century.