The ANS’s Greatest Coins: the first Athenian “Owl”. The dollar of the ancient Greek world

The ANS’s Greatest Coins series examines coins in the American Numismatic Society’s collection, carefully selected for their historical fame. In this episode ANS Chief Curator Dr. Peter van Alfen looks at the mystery of the beginnings of the Athenian “owl” coinage, one of the most widely used and widely circulating coinages of the ancient Greek world, which was introduced around the time that the Athenian democracy was formed after decades under the rule of the tyrant Peisistratus and his sons Hipparchus and Hippias.

For more information on the long history of the Athenian “owl” see this additional ANS video, 500 Years of the Athenian “Owl”: an Introduction: https://youtu.be/eLb5QKJs_14

For more information on the coins seen in this video see the ANS’s online collection database: Wappenmünze with horse’s rear end, ca. 530 BC: https://numismatics.org/collection/194…

Gorgoneion, ca. 525 BC: https://numismatics.org/collection/194…

“Owl” tetradrachm, ca. 515–480 BC: https://numismatics.org/collection/195…

“Owl” tetradrachm, ca. 460 BC: https://numismatics.org/collection/194…