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    Stunning Head of Zeus

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Philip II (359-336 BC). AR tetradrachm (25mm, 14.33 gm, 5h).  Posthumous issue of Pella, ca. 317-314 BC. Laureate head of Zeus right in high style / ΦIΛIΠ-ΠOY, youth, holding palm branch in right hand, rein in left, astride horseback right; thunderbolt below, Σ below horse's raised foreleg. Le Rider 522d (D278/R431). Sunrise 151 (this coin). SNG ANS 448 (same dies). A simply stunning coin, with a majestic head of Zeus struck in sculptural high relief from dies of remarkable style. Outstanding metal quality. NGC Choice AU? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From the Sunrise Collection. Ex H.B. Collection (CNG 69, 8 June 2005), lot 145. Tellmann 183 (2 February 1973), lot 48.

    If not for the incredible career of his son, Philip II of Macedon might today be known as "Philip the Great." Under his rule, Macedon transformed from a poor backwater to the most powerful state in the Greek world, setting the stage for Alexander's conquests. In 356 BC, Philip won control of Thessaly, and the victory of his race horse in the Olympic games earned him more prestige. A blunt, hard-drinking, and uncultured man, Philip was beloved by his soldiers and detested by the elite of most Greek cities, particularly Athens. In 338 BC he crushed a combined Athenian-Theban army at Chaeronea, making him effective master of all Greece. His ultimate aim was to lead a united Greek army against the Persian Empire, but his assassination in 336 BC left the task to his charismatic son. His coinage in gold and silver was immense and coins continued to be minted with his name and types long after his death. This beautiful silver tetradrachm, struck circa 322-320 BC, bears a superb head of Zeus that appears to be modeled on the features of Philip himself, while the victorious race horse and rider recall Philip's successes at the Olympics. 

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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