Denomination: AR Tetradrachm
Date: Circa 440-404 BC
Weight: 17.14 gm (24mm, 11h)
Mint: Athens, Greece
Mount: 18K with .32 diamonds on prongs and bale
Grade: NGC Choice XF (6330249-101) 4/5 – 4/5
Description: ATTICA. Athens. Mid-mass coinage issue. Obverse: Head of Athena right, wearing earring, necklace, and crested Attic helmet ornamented with three laurel leaves and vine scroll. Reverse: AΘE, owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig with two leaves and one berry, and crescent moon behind, all within incuse square.
History: Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, sprang fully grown and armed from Zeus’ head, and was his favorite child. He entrusted her with his shield that was adorned with the hideous head of Medusa the Gorgon, his buckler, and his principal weapon, the thunderbolt. Always portrayed helmeted, and often with spear and shield, she was one of the most powerful of the deities and was widely worshipped. Athena was primarily the goddess of Greek cities of industry and the arts and represents both wisdom and human enterprise. She gave many gifts to man, among those gifts were the olive tree, the art of taming animals, making shoes, building ships and the invention of the plow and flute. The owl, her sacred bird, symbolized wisdom and was adopted as a characteristic element of Athenian coinage. Whereas the older style Athenian coinage depicts Athena and her owl as softer and more artistic, here, both appear more solid and strong. These types of coins were the last to be minted in the city Athens when they were an independent city.