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    Monumental Alexander Decadrachm

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC). AR decadrachm (35mm, 39.61 gm, 10h). NGC XF 5/5 - 2/5, Fine Style. Ecbatana or Babylon, 325-323 BC. Head of Heracles right, wearing lion skin headdress, the forepaws knotted below chin / AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus enthroned left on throne with high back, himation draped around waist and legs, holding eagle in outstretched right hand and vertical dotted scepter in left, bee in left field; below throne, monogram in form of trident-head with superimposed Θ, M below. Price 3618A. HGC 3.1, 909. Müller --. Mnemata: Papers in Memory of Nancy M. Waggoner (1989), p. 69, 8 and pl. 15. Extremely rare, one of four recorded specimens with the bee mintmark. Areas of corrosion and porosity, obverse delamination, still a truly monumental piece, struck in high relief on an immense flan.

    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.  Only three decadrachm reverse varieties are known. Their extreme rarity -- today perhaps 25-30 examples are known to have survived -- 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.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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