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Are Athens tets going up in price?


kirispupis

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My younger son has been heavily reading Plato and Aristotle, as well as taking a general interesting in ancient Greek history, so I've been thinking about getting him an Athens tet.

I bought mine in 2021 for $950. It was one of the first ancient coins I purchased and I remember believing after that I'd paid too much because I saw similar ones go for about $750.

Athens.jpg.86ca3890593be9dbe696d9a30d504550.jpg

ATTICA, Athens
AR Tetradrachm 22.5mm, 17.18g, 1h
Circa 454-404 BCE
Kroll 8; HGC 4, 1597
Ex CNG inventory June 2004

However, it's beginning to look like a bargain now. I've seen similar coins go for $1300+.

Luckily, I wasn't thinking to get him a coin this nice, but I recall that for a while a well-centered (but not too much crest) example of VF quality could easily be had at auction for $600. This weekend, I tried for one that I felt was VF (though it was marked as EF which I felt was a mistake because it was worse than mine), and I was blown away. I also see several listed at the next CNG and the bids already look too high.

There are examples going for $500, but I have a hard time paying that for something I recall being able to recently grab for $350.

Interestingly, their later tets (around the time of Alexander) are still going for the same price (<$400 for a nice example) but I'd prefer to get him a classical tet. Imitations also seem to be about the same as before.

Are the prices for these going up or am I imagining this?

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Posted (edited)

Beautiful coin! I'd say they definitely have increased in price since 2021, though prices may have dipped a little recently due to the large hoard (and Roma dumping a ton into the market all at once with their liquidation auctions).

edit - I will caveat my answer to say I saw some absolutely insane auction prices for slabbed tets during Covid.

Edited by Original Skin Coins
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Posted (edited)

I think you got lucky and bought on a momentary dip - great coin.  Here are a few from my collection: my favorite bottom left is a koutsoura Attica, Athens (353-294 B.C) AR Tetradrachm Athena/Owl 17x28mm 17.0g. (not pretty, but definitely interesting)


"not only are the flans commonly misshapen, but a number of them are so distorted that numismatists and coin collectors in Greece have long referred to them as “logs” (koutsoura); these are the tetradrachms in the form of long, stretched ovals with one or two nearly straight sides"
-Kroll, John H. "The Reminting of Athenian Silver Coinage, 353 B.C." Hesperia, vol. 80, 2011, pp. 229-259.

AthenianTetradrachms.jpg.d30cadd675af7679eb3764bb50e6221c.jpg

 

Edited by Sulla80
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13 hours ago, kirispupis said:

My younger son has been heavily reading Plato and Aristotle, as well as taking a general interesting in ancient Greek history, so I've been thinking about getting him an Athens tet.

I bought mine in 2021 for $950. It was one of the first ancient coins I purchased and I remember believing after that I'd paid too much because I saw similar ones go for about $750.

Athens.jpg.86ca3890593be9dbe696d9a30d504550.jpg

ATTICA, Athens
AR Tetradrachm 22.5mm, 17.18g, 1h
Circa 454-404 BCE
Kroll 8; HGC 4, 1597
Ex CNG inventory June 2004

However, it's beginning to look like a bargain now. I've seen similar coins go for $1300+.

Luckily, I wasn't thinking to get him a coin this nice, but I recall that for a while a well-centered (but not too much crest) example of VF quality could easily be had at auction for $600. This weekend, I tried for one that I felt was VF (though it was marked as EF which I felt was a mistake because it was worse than mine), and I was blown away. I also see several listed at the next CNG and the bids already look too high.

There are examples going for $500, but I have a hard time paying that for something I recall being able to recently grab for $350.

Interestingly, their later tets (around the time of Alexander) are still going for the same price (<$400 for a nice example) but I'd prefer to get him a classical tet. Imitations also seem to be about the same as before.

Are the prices for these going up or am I imagining this?

I think it's clear that the prices for Owls has dropped after the latest huge hoard reached the market. Some of the slabbed Owls with star * designations give a distorted view of the actual market activity 😉.

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Leu have had a couple of very large sales of these too in the last 18 months-2 years so a quick review of their prices should help too. I couldn’t see them on coinarchive but they are up on their site.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Al Kowsky said:

I think it's clear that the prices for Owls has dropped after the latest huge hoard reached the market. Some of the slabbed Owls with star * designations give a distorted view of the actual market activity 😉.

Dropped relative to pre-hoard for sure but I think prices for Owls have gone up a bit since they peaked on the market in 2021. Acsearch shows half as many owls sold in 2023 versus 2021 (2.7k vs 5.7k) and many that have been sold in 2023 and 2024 by the big auction houses that bought up the hoards (e.g. Roma) have been lower quality on average compared to 2021 in my opinion.

Edited by Kaleun96
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Now that the main source for relatively inexpensive owls, Roma, is shut down, I think that the number appearing at auction has seemingly diminished, though that is not to say that the enormous supply out in the market has gone away.  Some owls in their final E-Sale 119 were hammering for £320-£350.  Even with the seller's commission plus the currency conversion the final cost was quite low compared to prices on the retail sale circuit.

You might try negotiating a price with a VCoins or MA Shops seller for an owl that has been listed for a long time.  

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Just an update. I managed to snag an Athens tet for my son! And it comes from the store of another member here - @KenDorney.

athens.png.03261b303a6af1a3145a24347d1bffa7.png

I felt the quality was very good for the price. The reverse is a bit rough, but most of the details are still there. There's also a fair amount of crest on the obverse - more than mine. He already knows it's coming and is thrilled. He just finished The Republic and is going through Meditations right now. He's reading up on philosophy for a film he's producing and directing.

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On 7/14/2024 at 6:50 PM, kirispupis said:

Just an update. I managed to snag an Athens tet for my son! And it comes from the store of another member here - @KenDorney.

athens.png.03261b303a6af1a3145a24347d1bffa7.png

I felt the quality was very good for the price. The reverse is a bit rough, but most of the details are still there. There's also a fair amount of crest on the obverse - more than mine. He already knows it's coming and is thrilled. He just finished The Republic and is going through Meditations right now. He's reading up on philosophy for a film he's producing and directing.

That's a lovely example, @kirispupis, and I'm glad you got it from @KenDorney. Your son is reading Meditations, you say? You know what's next! And I'm happy to say that denarii of Marcus Aurelius are considerably more affordable than Athenian owls. 😉

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1 hour ago, Roman Collector said:

Your son is reading Meditations, you say? You know what's next! And I'm happy to say that denarii of Marcus Aurelius are considerably more affordable than Athenian owls. 😉

Up next is The Art of Happiness by Epicurus, which is already on his desk. I would have loved to give him a Marcus Aurelius denarius, but you have to admit that an Athens tet is a far more impressive coin. 🙂 

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