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    Monumental Alexander Decadrachm

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC). AR decadrachm (35mm, 41.22 gm, 1h). Ecbatana or Babylon, 325-323 BC. Head of Heracles right, wearing lion skin headdress, the forepaws knotted below chin / AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus enthroned left on throne with high back, himation draped around waist and legs, holding eagle in outstretched right hand and vertical dotted scepter in left, below throne, monogram in form of trident-head with superimposed Θ, M below, dotted border. Price 3598. Müller 669. Extremely rare and historically significant! Some areas of corrosion, a few surface nicks, still a truly monumental piece, struck from dies of remarkable style on a broad, weighty flan in sculptural high relief, and pleasantly toned. NGC (photo certificate) Choice XF 5/5 - 2/5, Fine Style.

    From a Private Family Collection, purchased ca. 1960.

    This coin has been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. It may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please contact Sam Spiegel at SamS@ha.com if you would like to utilize this option.

    The son of the brutal but capable King Philip II of Macedon, Alexander came to the throne upon his father's assassination in 336 BC and immediately launched into a career of conquest that took him to the very ends of the known world. Using the invincible army his father had assembled and trained, Alexander attacked the gigantic Persian Empire and defeated its king, Darius II, in three titanic battles between 335 and 332 BC. Unsatisfied with simply plundering the Persian realm and returning to Macedon, Alexander spent the next eight years driving his army steadily eastward, into the deserts of Arabia, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, and the jungles of India, founding new cities in his wake. A true visionary, he sought a fusion of cultures and peoples, exhorting his soldiers to take wives from the local native populations and adopt Persian and Indian modes of dress. Alexander's conquests "liberated" tons of gold and silver that had been locked away for centuries in the Great King's treasuries in Sardes, Susa, Persepolis and Babylon. Mint masters soon set to work turning this huge haul into coins, which were paid out to Alexander's soldiers and high officials in staggering quantities. However, the silver decadrachm denomination, worth 10 Attic drachms and 2.5 tetradrachms, was struck in limited numbers, indicating they were presentation pieces intended for only the top tier of Macedonian officers. Their extreme rarity today -- fewer than 20 are known to exist -- makes it highly likely that these pieces were handed out by Alexander himself at a special ceremony, perhaps the one recorded at Susa in 324 BC where the great conqueror assembled his army and distributed up to 20,000 talents to his Macedonian veterans. The bidder on this piece thus has an opportunity to acquire a coin that, with a high degree of likelihood, could have passed through the hands of Alexander the Great.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,532

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