Owl Coins



It's no wonder that modern Greek coins pay tribute to ancient Greek coins, including the most famous, the Owl tetradrachm.















Modern Greek 1912 ten lepta (4.1g), KM 63.

This is the first modern Greek coin to pay tribute to the ancient Owl, 19 centuries after the last Owl was struck. The obverse of this coin, which was minted with the hole in the middle, depicts a crown, the inscription "Kingdom of Greece," and on either side of the date a cornucopia and a torch. The reverse depicts an owl standing on an amphora, which harkens back to the ancient New Style Owl tetradrachms, plus an olive branch. A five lepta coin features the same design. This coin is made of .980 nickel, with mintage of 28,973,000.

This coin was issued under King George I, who reigned from 1863 to 1913 and who was previously a Danish prince, having been born in Copenhagen of the same German stock as the Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Greece was a monarchy from shortly after its founding as a modern state in 1832 until 1924; the Greek monarchy was restored in 1935 and persisted again until 1973. This coin was issued during the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, when Greece regained its ancient lands of Epirus, southern Macedonia, Crete, and some of the eastern Aegean islands. It was minted in Paris.















Modern Greek 1973 two drachmas (6.1g), KM 108.

The obverse of this coin depicts a phoenix, a bird first described in Egyptian mythology that lived in the desert for 500 years and then consumed itself by fire, later to rise renewed from its ashes. The modern Greeks regarded the phoenix as being symbolic of Greece's rise to statehood after domination by the Ottoman Turks for nearly 400 years. The obverse inscription translates into "Greek Democracy." The reverse depicts an owl from the ancient Classical Owl tetradrachms along with the inscription "2 drachmas." This coin is made of aluminum and brass, with mintage of 51,163,812. A one drachma coin features the same design.

This coin was issued during the "Regime of the Colonels," when Greece was ruled by a right-wing military junta from 1967 to 1974. This coin type was issued in only this one year, 1973. Greece issued another set of coins earlier in 1973, when the country was still officially ruled by King Constantine II, who reigned from 1964 until the abolition of the monarchy in 1973, though Constantine was forced to flee the country after the military coup in 1967. The above coin is part of the coins named Series B, while the earlier coins of 1973 are considered part of Series A.

Despite the "Greek Democracy" legend on the obverse of this coin, Greece was anything but a democracy at the time. It wasn't until the next year, 1974, that free elections and democracy were restored, and Greece, where democracy originated some 2,500 years ago, has remained a democracy since 1974.















Modern Greek 2002 one euro (7.5g), KM 187.

This coin depicts on the obverse a Mass Classical Owl tetradrachm surrounded by 12 stars representing 12 euro countries. The reverse, which is common to all one euro coins, depicts a map of Europe and 12 stars. The outer part of the coin consists of nickel-brass, while the inner part is made up of three layers -- copper-nickel, nickel, and copper-nickel.

The year 2002 was the first year of euro coins. Greece wasn't able to mint all of the euro coinage it needed, so many 2002 coins were minted abroad, in Finland (1 and 2 euro coins), France (1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 cent coins), and Spain (20 cent coins). The small S on the star within the date stands for Suomi, which is the Finnish name for Finland. Mintage of this piece was 50,000,000 in Finland and 61,500,000 in Greece.













Other glomworthy coins:

Oldest Coins

 Athenian Owls

Alexander the Great Coins

Medusa Coins

Thracian Tetradrachms

House of Constantine

Draped Bust Coins

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

Coin sites:
Coin Collecting: Consumer Protection Guide
Glomming: Coin Connoisseurship
Bogos: Counterfeit Coins

© 2013 Reid Goldsborough

Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.