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    Superb Satrapal Tetradrachm

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter, as Satrap (323-305 BC). AR tetradrachm (28mm, 14.81 gm, 1h).  Alexandria, ca. 310-306 BC. Head of Alexander right, wearing diadem and elephant's skin headdress / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Athena advancing right, brandishing spear and holding shield; monograms to left and right; eagle on thunderbolt in right field. Svoronos 139. SNG Copenhagen 23. Attractively toned and sharply struck from dies of fine style. None of the graffiti or test marks commonly found on this issue! NGC Choice AU? 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The California Collection. Ex Kim Werner Collection (Heritage 3020, 9 September 2012), lot 25030; Numismatic Fine Arts Winter Mail Bid Sale (14 December 1989), lot 809. 

    Ptolemy I Soter "(Savior") was born the son of the Macedonian nobleman Lagus; a later tale that he was an illegitimate son of Philip II was probably fabricated. He was a friend and intimate of Alexander III the Great from boyhood and accompanied him on his career of conquest 333-323 BC. Upon Alexander's death in 323 BC, Ptolemy was granted the prized satrapy of Egypt, richest of the formerly Persian provinces. Alone among the Diadochi ("successors"), he was content with his sphere of influence and did not risk all to succeed Alexander as supreme leader. However, he was not above using the great conqueror's image and reputation to secure his own position. He hijacked Alexander's funeral cortege as it was proceeding back to Macedon and had his embalmed corpse formally interred at Memphis in Egypt; later the body was relocated to a splendid mausoleum in Alexandria. Ptolemy's early coinage carries Alexander's image and name, as seen on this remarkable tetradrachm, which depicts the great conqueror wearing an elaborate elephant-skin headdress in honor of his victories in India. Ptolemy declared his own kingship in 306 BC and was the only one of the Diadochi to die peacefully, in his bed; his dynasty ruled Egypt until the fall of Cleopatra VII, in 30 BC. 


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
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