ARABIA, Northwestern. Lihyan (?). Circa 350-250 BC. Drachm (Silver, 15 mm, 4.06 g, 9 h), imitating Athens. Stylized head of Athena to right, wearing crested Attic helmet. Rev. Incuse owl standing right, head facing; to left, uncertain sign or object (head of a ram to right?); to right, 𐡌𐡄𐡓𐡁 ('m'rb' or 'm'mdb' in retrograde Aramaic); all within incuse square. Heritage, 8-9 March 2012, 20002. Huth 35. Munro-Hay -. Extremely rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. Boldly struck and clear and undoubtedly among the finest known. A very minor scratch on the obverse and the reverse a bit rough, otherwise, good very fine.
From the Canaan Collection.
Huth tentatively attributes this enigmatic issue to Idumaea or the Kingdom of Lihyan, adding that the female name m'rb or m'db is attested in Nabataean culture. The extraordinary incuse owl on the reverse is vaguely reminiscent of the owls on the 5th century coinage of Tyre, but the Tyreans only placed their convex owls in incuse outlines, whereas this Arabian owl is fully incuse.