The invention of coinage by the Greeks came as their ancient civilization expanded and established trade with its colonies and settlements throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. This was an amazing accomplishment in all aspects. Along with their ability to purify metals, the ancient Greeks had to devise a standard for value based on weight and metal as well as a system of denominations. Each piece had to be struck from dies, individually and by hand. Over time, rather crude and primitive coinage evolved into beautiful works of art. It is widely believed that the first coins were created during the latter part of issued throughout the vast Greek Empire, different symbols were used to identify their origin and these were often images that reflected the culture of each place.
This silver tetradrachm was minted in Athens circa 449 BC. The helmeted head of Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron deity of Athens, is seen on the obverse of the coin. The reverse displays a standing owl, the constant companion of Athena. It was believed that the somber-eyed and intelligent owl possessed a magical light for night vision and was a symbol of protection.
Approx. 1.5” long (including the bail), 1” wide