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    Description

    Magnificent Pergamum Stater

    MYSIA. Pergamum. Time of Alexander III the Great, ca. 334-323 BC. AV stater (20mm, 8.60 gm, 1h). Head of young Heracles right wearing lion skin headdress, paws knotted at neck / Figure of Athena Palladium standing facing, archaized, calathus (grain basket) on head, brandishing spear in raised right hand, left hand holding shield emblazoned with stellate pattern, with hanging ?llet ending in tassel, to lower left crested Corinthian helmet facing right. Callataÿ, Statères 2n (D2/R3). SNG Paris 1557. Von Fritze, Die Münzen von Pergamon, pl. 1, 7.  Westermark, "Notes on the Saida hoard" (IGCH 1508), NNÅ 1979-80, nos. 36-37 (Berlin and Paris specimens).  A gorgeous example of this attractive rarity, deeply struck from dies of exquisite style and fully lustrous. NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 5/5 Fine Style.

    From The Providence Collection

    This remarkable gold stater type, lacking any inscription but struck from dies of highly refined style, has been attributed to the city of Pergamum based on symbols and imagery common to silver coins struck with the city's ethnic. The date of its issue is far less evident and has been the subject of much conjecture. The obverse closely resembles lifetime silver coins of Alexander III the Great from Asia Minor, and the weight standard conforms to the gold staters issued by the Macedonian state. But this raises chronological problems because the city of Pergamum did not rise to prominence until long after Alexander's  death-- in fact it was little more than a strategic mountain fortress until Lysimachus of Thrace made it his treasury in 301 BC. The type being quite rare, hoard finds have been few but helpful; two examples found in the Saïda hoard point to a date before 323 BC. The most recent analysis of known specimens by Francoise de Callataÿ, published in 2012, identified five obverse and seven reverse dies, perhaps produced by two different engravers, all struck in a tight, die-linked series over a short period of time. He suggests the coins were personally commissioned by Alexander shortly after his initial invasion of Asia Minor and seizure of Pergamum in 334 BC, utilizing dies produced by engravers accompanying his army. The lack of an identifying ethnic and the different imagery than that employed on Alexander's usual gold staters could be explained by the desire to maintain "deniability" should the fortunes of war shift and the Persians regain the city. These staters, then, are the first coins produced at what would go on to become one of antiquity's greatest cities and the capital of its own empire in the Hellenistic era. 


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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