The owl was a symbol of Athena, who was the goddess of wisdom, intelligence and resourcefulness. She was also the patron deity of Athens, the city to which she gave her name and the gift of the olive.
The owl was frequently depicted in the art and coinage of the city, especially from the 6th century BC onwards. The first three letters (in Greek) of Athena's name (alpha, theta, epsilon) were often seen alongside the owl, as well as a spring of olive.
This paperweight shows just the 'owl' side of the coin. The back is flat and undecorated.
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