Obverse: Helmeted Head of Athena Parthenos
Reverse: Owl Standing on an Amphora
Surrounded by an Olive Wreath
The glories of ancient Athens are well known.
From the ubiquitous photographs of the
Parthenon high upon the Acropolis overlooking
the city to the writings of Plato and Socrates,
ancient Athens has permeated our modern lives.
In fact, many foundations of our modern world
have their roots in Athens, the birthplace of
democracy and philosophy. Athens was a city of
orators, whose convincing arguments would
sway the voting populace, made up of male
citizens, to change argument into policy.
Perhaps Athens is so important because it gave a
voice to the individual; that is, if you were
qualified to speak. The transfer of power from
the elite to the masses, a social phenomenon
that first flourished in Athens, would
revolutionize the governing structures of the
world for the next two thousand years. In a way,
we are all Athenians. Just looking at architecture
of our nation’s capital proves the lasting impact
this ancient city continues to have today.
How many hands have touched a coin in your
pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the
coin traversed on its journey into our
possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull
out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of
who might have touched the coin before us, or
where the coin will venture to after it leaves our
hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of
the state that struck them, of a specific time and
location, whether contemporary currencies or
artifacts of long forgotten empires. This
stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise
of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail
that is often lacking in contemporary machine-
made currencies. The helmeted head of Athena,
warrior Goddess of wisdom, graces the obverse
of this coin. She was the mythic protector of
Athens and the source of the city’s name. Her
attribute was the owl, depicted on the reverse of
the coin, an animal also associated with wisdom,
perhaps through its relation with the Goddess.
This magnificent coin is a memorial to the
ancient glories of Athens passed down from the
hands of civilization to civilization, from
generation to generation.