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    Exemplary Alexander Distater

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC). AV distater (23mm, 17.21 gm, 9h). NGC Choice AU, 5/5 - 3/5. Lifetime issue of Amphipolis, 325-323 BC. Head of Athena right, wearing triple crested Corinthian helmet decorated with coiled serpent / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Nike standing left, holding wreath in outstretched right hand and stylis over left shoulder, thunderbolt in left field. Price 163. Müller 1. For the date, see Troxell, p. 128. Boldly struck on a broad flan. A few hairlines in reverse fields, otherwise perfectly centered and deeply struck on a broad, round flan, and highly impressive.

    Alexander the Great's conquest of the Persian Empire "liberated" vast stores of gold and silver that had been locked away for centuries in the Great King's treasuries in Sardes, Susa, Persepolis and Babylon. At the beginning of his reign in 336 BC, the Macedonian Kingdom was reportedly in debt to the tune of 500 silver talents (a talent being 6,000 silver drachms and a "king's ransom" in earliest Greek times). To give an idea of the vast loot his conquests amassed, at Susa alone Alexander seized 50,000 talents of silver and 40,000 of gold. This huge intake of bullion resulted in hitherto unseen denominations such as the gold distater, tariffed at two staters and ten silver tetradrachms, about 20 day's wages for a Macedonian soldier during wartime. The distater was likely employed to pay off many of Alexander's veteran soldiers, who were rewarded for their labors with the equivalent of a silver talent. With the new denomination, a talent could be paid out as 120 gold distaters. Despite their size and enormous buying power, gold distaters evidently circulated heavily, for most specimens found today display considerable wear and numerous contact marks. This beautiful Choice AU example is free from such marks and is thus in the top 5% of surviving specimens.




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    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    8th-9th Sunday-Monday
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