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    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC). AR decadrachm (34mm, 36.58 gm, 6h). NGC VF 4/5 - 1/5. Babylon (or possibly Susa or Ecbatana), ca. 325-323 BC. Head of Heracles right, wearing lion skin headdress, paws tied before neck / AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus enthroned left on throne with high back and eagle-tipped finials, himation draped around waist and legs, left leg drawn back, feet on stool, eagle in right hand, vertical dotted scepter in left; M in left field, monogram in form of trident-head with superimposed Θ below strut, dotted border. Price -, cf. 3600 (decadrachm, M in exergue), cf. Price 3603 (tetradrachm, same arrangement of controls). Although the M control mark is not visible on this example, stylistically it best matches the decadrachm with M in left field sold in Roma Numismatics, Ltd., Auction XIV, 21 September 2017, Lot 111 (hammer 100,000 GBP), as opposed to the examples plated in Price. Very rare and historically significant!

    The son of the brutal but capable King Philip II of Macedon, Alexander came to the throne upon his father's assassination in 336 BC and immediately launched into a career of conquest that took him to the very ends of the known world. Using the invincible army his father had assembled and trained, Alexander attacked the gigantic Persian Empire and defeated its king, Darius II, in three titanic battles between 335 and 332 BC. Unsatisfied with simply plundering the Persian realm and returning to Macedon, Alexander spent the next eight years driving his army steadily eastward, into the deserts of Arabia, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, and the jungles of India, founding new cities in his wake. A true visionary, he sought a fusion of cultures and peoples, exhorting his soldiers to take wives from the local native populations and adopt Persian and Indian modes of dress. Alexander's conquests "liberated" tons of gold and silver that had been locked away for centuries in the Great King's treasuries in Sardes, Susa, Persepolis and Babylon. Mint masters soon set to work turning this huge haul into coins, which were paid out to Alexander's soldiers and high officials in staggering quantities. However, the silver decadrachm denomination, worth 10 Attic drachms and 2.5 tetradrachms, was struck in limited numbers, indicating they were presentation pieces intended for only the top tier of Macedonian officers. Their extreme rarity today makes it highly likely that these pieces were handed out by Alexander himself at a special ceremony, perhaps the one recorded at Susa in 324 BC where the great conqueror assembled his army and distributed up to 20,000 talents to his Macedonian veterans. The bidder on this piece thus has an opportunity to acquire a coin that, with a high degree of likelihood, could have passed through the hands of Alexander the Great.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    5th-9th Thursday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 429

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