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    Beautiful Seleucid Stater

    SELEUCID KINGDOM. Seleucus I Nicator, as Satrap (320-305 BC). AV stater (19mm, 8.56 gm, 1h).  Babylon, first reign as Satrap, ca. 320-316 BC, in the name and types of Alexander III the Great of Macedon. Helmeted head of Athena right, helmet decorated with griffin leaping right / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Nike standing left, holding wreath and stylis; MI in outer left field, monogram in wreath in inner left field. SC 81.3 corrected (griffin, not sphinx on helmet). HGC 9, 3a. Price 3749 corrected (same). A simply magnificent specimen, perfectly centered on a broad flan and fully lustrous. NGC MS? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From The California Collection. Ex Heritage 3020 (Long Beach, 9 September 2012), lot 24892; Gorny & Mosch 199 (10 October 2011), lot 203.

    Seleucus Nicator ("Victor") began his career as a soldier in Alexander the Great's elite bodyguard, the Silver Shields. By 327 BC he had become part of the conqueror's inner circle of advisors. Upon Alexander's premature death in Babylon the evening of June 10-11, 323 BC, Seleucus became the senior lieutenant of Perdiccas, regent for the Alexander's half-witted brother Philip III Arrhidaeus and the conqueror's as-yet unborn son Alexander IV. He received no territory in Perdiccas's carve-up of the enormous Macedonian Empire; however, in the short and sharp First War of the Diadochi (321-320 BC), Seleucus betrayed Perdiccas and and helped arrange his murder, for which he was awarded the satrapy of Babylon by the new regent, Antipater. It is from this period that this beautiful gold stater, struck in the name and types of Alexander the Great, derives. Another round of civil war, this time pitting Antigonus "One-Eye" and his son Demetrius against the other Diadochi, forced Seleucus to flee Babylon in 315 BC and enter the service of his friend Ptolemy I Soter in Egypt. A victory in 312 BC allowed him to return to Babylon and reclaim his satrapy; it is from this year that Seleucus dated his reign and the "Seleucid Era." Through nearly continuous warfare 312-301 BC, Seleucus enlarged his realm considerably until it contained nearly all of Alexander's former Empire, save for Egypt (under Ptolemy), Thrace (under Lysimachus) and Macedon itself (under Cassander the descendants of Antigonus). In 306 BC, he proclaimed himself king, along with Antigonus, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Cassander in their respective spheres of influence, and founded a new capital city of Seleucia on the Tigris. He built dozens of other cities over his long and successful reign, making him one of the chief purveyors of Hellenism. He was still planning to complete the conquest of Greece and Macedon when he was assassinated by Ptolemy Keraunos, son of his former ally Ptolemy Soter. The dynasty he founded in the Hellenized East would last another two centuries. 

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