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Description

Magnificent Alexander the Great Portrait

MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Philip III Arrhidaeus (323-317 BC). AV stater (19mm, 8.55 gm, 1h).  Colophon, ca. 322-319 BC. Laureate head of Apollo to right, with the features of Alexander III the Great / Charioteer driving galloping biga to right, holding the reins in his left hand and a goad with his right; below right, tripod, ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ in exergue. Le Rider pl. 93, 26. SNG Alpha Bank 260. Thompson Philip p. 58 and pl. VI, 12. With an attractive portrait of the great conqueror. Well struck and lustrous. NGC AU 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

While the types of this gold stater issue of Colophon conform to the norm for Philip II (359-336 BC), the magnificent obverse die of this late posthumous issue of Colophon bears a portrait of "Apollo" that is quite distinctive and clearly depicts a real person. Comparison with the coins of Lysimachus and surviving portrait sculpture leaves no doubt the portrait represents Alexander III the Great himself. The issue seems intended to legitimize the patchwork Macedonian regime put together by Alexander's generals after his death in Babylon under the figurehead rulers Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander's slow-witted half-brother, and the infant Alexander IV, his posthumously born son. As such the "Philip" named on the reverse should probably be seen as referring to Arrhidaeus rather than the traditional attribution to Philip II. 

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Auction Dates
January, 2014
5th-6th
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