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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Alexander the GreatView Options:  |  |  | 

Alexander III The Great, Macedonian Kingdom, 336 - 323 B.C.

Alexander the Great is arguably the most famous man of antiquity. Born a leader, his genius and charisma led the Macedonian Army across the world creating an empire that covered most of the then-known world, from Greece to India. He was regarded as god and his fame grew even greater after his premature death at thirty-three. His reign marks the beginning of the Hellenistic Age, a time when almost every aspect of human civilization flourished. His coinage is highly complex, struck in cities all over the ancient map and spanning over two hundred years. The representative types are the silver tetradrachms and drachms depicting an idealized portrait of Alexander in the guise of the mythical hero Heracles, and his gold staters depicting Athena.Map of Alexander's Empire


Mesembria, Thrace, c. 125 - 65 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Mesembria, Nesebar Bulgaria today, was a Doric settlement on a Black Sea island just off mainland Thrace. Today it is a seaside resort and a man-made isthmus connects it to the coast. The city struck Alexandrine tetradrachms possibly as early as 275 B.C. It is likely Mesembria issued the very last Alexandrine tetradrachms, possibly even under Roman rule, as late as 65 B.C.
GS79628. Silver tetradrachm, Karayotov I 264 (O44/R121); Price 1085; Müller Alexander 461; Topalov Messambria 18; Callatay p. 330, a/D18-R2, gVF, attractive Herakles, scratches, scrapes on reverse, light corrosion, edge bent chipped, weight 16.177 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 125 - 65 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, eagle extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, ΠPO over Corinthian helmet inner left under arm, HPA (HP ligate) monogram under throne; $275.00 (€244.75)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

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Lifetime issue. This coin was issued during the lifetime and rule of Alexander the Great. Most Alexander coins were issued after his death.
GS79557. Silver drachm, Price 2090; Müller Alexander 763; SNG Cop 895; SNG Alpha Bank 629; SNG Saroglos 771; SNG München -, Choice gVF, superb style, toned, centered, bumps and marks, weight 4.004 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Miletos mint, 325 - 323 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, feet on footstool, right leg forward, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter topped with lotus vertical behind in left hand, ∆H monogram left; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C.

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Struck during the lifetime of Alexander the Great or very soon after.
SH79674. Silver tetradrachm, Price 83, Müller Alexander 181, Troxell Issue E4, Demanhur Hoard 536 - 578, SNG Cop 673, Newell Reattribution 31, Wartenberg-Kagan 21, gVF, centered, toned, weight 17.156 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, Amphipolis(?) mint, struck under Antipater, c. 325 - 323/2 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, throne without back and two leg struts, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, TE monogram lower left, concave field; Obolos (by Nomos) auction 3, lot 120; ex a Swiss collection formed prior to 2005; $520.00 (€462.80)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime issue

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Lifetime issue. Alexander the Great passed through Tarsos, Cilicia, with his armies in 333 B.C. Darius' confidence increased, because Alexander spent so much time there, which he imputed to cowardice. In truth, Alexander had fallen seriously ill after bathing in the exceedingly cold river Cydnus. No physician would treat him, they thought his case so desperate, and his recovery unlikely. They feared the punishment for failure. Finally, Philip, the Acarnanian, relying on his own well-known friendship for Alexander, resolved to try. At this very time, Alexander received a letter, warning him that Philip had been bribed by Darius to kill him, with great sums of money, and a promise of his daughter in marriage. After Alexander read the letter, he put it under his pillow, without showing it to anyone. When Philip came in with the potion, Alexander drank it with great cheerfulness and assurance, at the same time giving Philip the letter to read. Alexander's looks were cheerful and open, to show his kindness to and confidence in his physician, while Philip was full of surprise and alarm at the accusation, appealing to the gods to witness his innocence, sometimes lifting up his hands to heaven, and then throwing himself down by the bedside, and beseeching Alexander to lay aside all fear, and follow his directions without apprehension. The medicine worked so strongly at first that at first Alexander lost his speech, and falling into a swoon, had scarce any sense or pulse left. However, after a short time, his health and strength returned, and he showed himself in public to the Macedonians, who had been in continual fear until they saw him again.
SH79741. Silver tetradrachm, Price 2993, Müller 1291, Newell Tarsos 3, VF, high relief, attractive style, light marks, tight thick, weight 17.104 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 333 - 327 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, A under throne; $600.00 (€534.00)
 


Koinon of Macedonia, Portrait of Alexander the Great, c. 222 - 244 A.D.

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The Macedonian Koinon (community) was the political organization governing the autonomous Roman province of Macedonia and responsible for issuing coinage. Member cities sent representatives to participate in the popular assembly. The Koinon held celebrations and games annually at Beroea (modern Verria) in honor of Alexander and the Roman emperor.
RP90940. Bronze AE 24, BMC Macedonia p. 25, 126 var. (B NE); Macdonald Hunter 13 var. (same); SNG Cop -; SNG Saroglos -, F, well centered, encrustations, centration dimples, weight 7.817 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, time of Elagabalus - Gordian III; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN, Alexander standing facing, head right, wearing military attire, resting on spear in right hand, parazonium in left hand; rare; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Koinon of Macedonia, Reign of Gordian III, 238 - 244 A.D., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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For the Alexander commemorative series issued by the Koinon of Macedonia, AMNG is by far the best reference listing over 500 different varieties on 100 pages, an absolutely bewildering study. With few plate images and listing many minor variations, it is a challenge to use for anyone who does not speak German. Varbanov only lists coins of the Koinon with portraits of the emperor on the obverse.
RP90945. Bronze AE 28, BMC Macedonia p. 24, 113; AMNG III 622; Macdonald Hunter 5; SNG Cop 1369; SNG Hunterian 742 var. (B NE); Lindgren II 1382 var. (...B N), gF, green patina, well centered, earthen deposits, weight 12.345 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 225o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN B NEΩ, Athena Nikephoros seated left, Nike in right hand presenting wreath, spear in left hand, shield behind; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Koinon of Macedonia, Reigns of Elagabalus - Gordian III, c. 218 - 244 A.D., Alexander and Bucephalus

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Plutarch tells the story of how, in 344 B.C. Philonicus the Thessalian, a horse dealer, offered a massive wild stallion to Alexander's father, King Philip II. Since no one could tame the animal, Philip was not interested. Alexander, however, seeing that the horse was afraid of his own shadow, promised to pay for the horse himself should he fail to tame it. He was given a chance and surprised all by subduing it. Alexander spoke soothingly to the horse and turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its shadow. Eventually Bucephalus allowed Alexander to ride him. Embarrassed, Philip commented "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Alexander named the horse Bucephalus because the horse's head seemed "as broad as a bull's." Bucephalus died of battle wounds in 326 B.C., in Alexander's last battle. Alexander founded the city of Bucephala (thought to be the modern town of Jhelum, Pakistan) in memory of his wonderful horse.
RP90946. Bronze AE 29, SNG Hunterian 748; Macdonald Hunter 13; SNG Cop 1356; BMC Macedonia p. 24, 124 var. (B NE); SNG Saroglos 982 var. (same); Lindgren 1374 var. (same), F, well centered, green patina, earthen encrustations, weight 14.221 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 45o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, c. 218 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN B N, Alexander riding his horse Bucephalus right, wearing military garb, cloak flying behind, star below; rare; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Koinon of Macedonia, Reign of Severus Alexander, c. 231 - 235 A.D., Alexander and Bucephalus

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Plutarch tells the story of how, in 344 B.C. Philonicus the Thessalian, a horse dealer, offered a massive wild stallion to Alexander's father, King Philip II. Since no one could tame the animal, Philip was not interested. Alexander, however, seeing that the horse was afraid of his own shadow, promised to pay for the horse himself should he fail to tame it. He was given a chance and surprised all by subduing it. Alexander spoke soothingly to the horse and turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its shadow. Eventually Bucephalus allowed Alexander to ride him. Embarrassed, Philip commented "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Alexander named the horse Bucephalus because the horse's head seemed "as broad as a bull's." Bucephalus died of battle wounds in 326 B.C., in Alexander's last battle. Alexander founded the city of Bucephala (thought to be the modern town of Jhelum, Pakistan) in memory of his wonderful horse.
SH90947. Bronze AE 26, AMNG III 423; BMC Macedonia p. 23, 104; Lindgren 1379; SNG Hunterian 735 var. (no star); cf. SNG Cop 1372 (2 neokorie); SNG Bar -, gVF, reverse pitted, weight 13.804 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 225o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, c. 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, head of Alexander the Great right, as Herakles, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN NEΩ, Alexander riding his horse Bucephalus right, wearing military garb, cloak flying behind, couched spear in right hand, reins in left, star below; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Koinon of Macedonia, Reign of Gordian III, c. 238 - 244 A.D., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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The Macedonian Koinon (community) was the political organization governing the autonomous Roman province of Macedonia and was responsible for issuing coinage. The individual cities, as members of the Koinon, sent representatives to participate in popular assembly several times each year.

The high point of the year was celebrations and matches in honor of Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor held in Beroea (modern Verria) located about 75 km. west of Thessaloniki. This was the provincial center of the emperor cult, with the appropriate temple and privileges, first granted to the Koinon by Nerva. The title Neokoros, or "temple guardians" was highly prized and thus advertised on coins. Under Elagabalus the Koinon received a second neokorie, indicated by B (the Greek number two) or rarely DIC (double in Greek). The title was rescinded but later restored by Severus Alexander, probably in 231 A.D.
RP76989. Bronze AE 26, AMNG III 617, SNG Cop 1369 var. (B NEΩ), SNG Saroglos 984 (same), Macdonald Hunter 8, Lindgren I 1381 var. (B N), BMC Macedonia -, aVF, well centered, glossy dark green patina, weight 27.9 g, maximum diameter 12.400 mm, die axis 225o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, reign of Gordian III, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN B NE, Athena seated left, Nike holding wreath in right hand, spear in left hand, shield behind; scarce; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV, 323 - 317 B.C., In the Name of Alexander

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Struck after Alexander's death, by Leonnatos, Arrhidaios, or Antigonos I Monophthalmos, during the joint reign of Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother, Philip III, and Alexander's infant son with Roxana, Alexander IV. Lampsakos also struck coins during this period in the name of Philip. Traditionally coins naming Alexander have been attributed to Alexander III the Great, but undoubtedly the Alexander named on this coin was the infant son of Roxana, Alexander IV. The two were made joint kings by Alexander's generals who only intended to use them as pawns. Philip III was imprisoned upon his return to Macedonia, and in 317 B.C. he was executed under orders from Olympias. Olympias was Alexander the Great's mother and Alexander IV's grandmother, but not Philip III's mother. Alexander IV and his mother Roxana were executed by the boy's regent, Kassander, in 311 B.C.
RS76291. Silver drachm, Price 1375; ADM II series IX, 247 ff.; Müller Alexander 623; SNG Cop 939; SNG München 440 ff.; SNG Alpha Bank -, F, lightly toned, grainy and porous, reverse a bit off center, weight 3.781 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 315o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, c. 319 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, buckle left, Λ over Ω under throne; $75.00 (€66.75)
 










REFERENCES

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von Prokesch-Osten, A. "Liste des Alexandres de ma collection qui ne se trouvent pas dans le catalogue de Mr. L. Müller" in NZ1 (Constantinople, 1869). pp. 31 - 64.
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Catalog current as of Wednesday, June 29, 2016.
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Alexander the Great Greek Coins