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    Extremely Rare Alexander 'Poros' Decadrachm

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC). AR 'medallion' of 5 shekels or decadrachm (35mm, 38.20 gm, 12h). NGC Fine 4/5 - 1/5. Local (Satrapal) mint in Babylon, ca. 327 BC or 325-323 BC. Alexander, wearing military attire and holding couched xyston in right hand, riding Bucephalus rearing right, attacking toward an elephant retreating right, upon which sits a helmeted mahout, goad and spear in left hand, turning around to throw another spear held aloft in his right hand; another helmeted figure behind him, also turning around, his right hand holding the tip of Alexander's xyston, Ξ above / Alexander standing facing, helmeted head left, wearing military attire, sword on hip, thunderbolt in extended right hand, grounded spear in left to right; Nike flying right above and crowning him with wreath held in both hands, monogram to left. Price pp. 452-3 and pl. CLIX, G-H. F. Holt, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions (Berkeley, 2003), Appendix A, E/A 10 = M.J. Price, "Circulation at Babylon in 323 B.C." in Mnemata: Papers in Memory of Nancy M. Waggoner (New York, 1991), 13 = M.J. Price, "The 'Porus' Coinage of Alexander the Great: a Symbol of Concord and Community" in SPNO = MIG type 21, c. Extremely rare, one of about ten examples known, five of which are in museums (ANS, BM [2], BN, and Copenhagen).

    Includes a silver matrix of a perfectly preserved incuse of the entire reverse - likely either a layer of the actual coin which has separated from the flan, or a composite of the surrounding material which formed against the coin in situ.

    The obverse of the coin has traditionally been identified as commemorating Alexander the Great's defeat of King Poros at the battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC, however, research by Price has strengthened the argument that the decadrachms were struck during the period of Alexander's campaigns in India. The degree of wear seen on the decadrachms, considering the Babylon 1973 Hoard was probably buried at the end of Alexander's lifetime, suggests that they might have been issued before the final defeat of King Poros by Alexander, although there is still debate as to exactly when these were produced.

    As the series was struck at the 'local' mint in Babylon, which was producing the lion staters and struggled with quality production and weight consistency, most likely this exceptional, and very limited issue, was struck for members of the local population, rather than Macedonians or Greeks. At the time of the battle at the Hydaspes, a large contingent of troops in Alexander's army was raised from the local eastern satrapies. Unlike the Macedonians and Greeks, the victory over King Poros would have been the most important event in which they had participated, and as such, the event commemorated on the coins and the regalia of the figures on the coins point to the recipients being local, probably Iranian, leaders who had served under Alexander.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2019
    25th-29th Thursday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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