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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


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Struck during the lifetime of Alexander the Great.
SH77066. Gold stater, Price 172, Müller 105, Choice aEF, mint luster, superb style, high relief, good strike, weight 8.580 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Amphipolis mint, c. 327 - 325 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right wearing earring, necklace, and crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a coiled snake; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike standing left, wreath in right hand, stylus in left hand, trident-head downward (control symbol) in left field; $5500.00 (€4840.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Heraclea Pontica, on the coast of Bithynia in Asia Minor, at the mouth of the river Lycus, was founded by Megara c. 560 - 558 B.C. It was named after Herakles who was said to have entered the underworld through a cave on the adjoining Archerusian promontory (Cape Baba). The colonists soon subjugated the native Mariandynians but agreed to terms that none would be sold into slavery outside their homeland. Prospering from the rich, fertile adjacent lands and the sea-fisheries of its natural harbor, Heraclea soon extended its control along the coast as far east as Cytorus (Gideros, near Cide), eventually establishing colonies of its own (Cytorus, Callatis and Chersonesus). The prosperity of the city was destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars.Heraclea-Pontica
GS74866. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 178, Müller 365, SNG Cop -, aVF, rough, bumps and scratches, some corrosion, flan defect on obverse top near edge, weight 15.601 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 0o, Herakleia Pontika (Karadeniz Ereğli, Turkey) mint, c. 288 - 281 BC; obverse diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon; reverse Athena Nikephoros seated left, Nike in her right hand crowning king's name with wreath, left arm resting on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against far side, HP monogram on throne, club left in exergue; $450.00 (€396.00)
 


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.
GS74508. Silver tetradrachm, Price 1128; Müller Alexander 487, gVF, double struck, obverse die damage, edge crack, weight 33.92 g, maximum diameter 16.348 mm, die axis 0o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 125 - 65 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse Zeus seated left, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, ∆IO horizontal under arm in inner left field, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, MEΣAM below; ex Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann auction 27 (4 Jan 2015), lot 110; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


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The B A on the reverse abbreviates BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, King Alexander. It may actually refer to Alexander IV, Alexander the Great's son with the Bactrian princess Roxana. After Alexander's death, the Macedonian generals made his infant son and his mentally handicapped brother, Philip III, joint kings. They were both only pawns. The generals divided the empire among themselves. Philip III was imprisoned upon his return to Macedonia, and executed in 317 B.C. Alexander IV and his mother Roxana were executed in 311 B.C.
GB74822. Bronze AE Unit, SNG Alpha Bank 782, Price 376, SNG Cop 1026, Weber II 2146, SNG München -, Müller Alexander -, F, green patina, porous, corrosion, weight 5.494 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Amphipolis(?) mint, c. 325 - 310 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse quiver right atop within bow with string downward, above B A, club left over thunderbolt below; $38.00 (€33.44)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C., Cyprus

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Cyprus became part of Alexander the Great's empire when he defeated Persia. After the succession struggles between Alexander's generals, Cyprus was ruled by the Ptolemies of Egypt.
GP90086. Bronze obol, Svoronos 363; BMC Ptolemies p. 14, 7; Mionnet VI 229, Weiser 8; Noeske 107; Cox Curium 69, Malter 55; SNG Milan 12; SNG Cop -; Hosking -, F, green patina with earthen encrustation, weight 10.040 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Salamis(?) mint, c. 285 - 274 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant scalp headdress; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, EY over XAP monogram left; ex Rusty Romans; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), Second Reign, 145 - 116 B.C.

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Svoronos and Mørkholm attributed this type to Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. Foucher, Lorber and Wolf attribute it to Ptolemy V - Ptolemy VI. Kreuzer attributes it to Ptolemy X.
GP72057. Bronze diobol, Svoronos 1495 (169 - 116 B.C.); SNG Cop 344; Faucher-Lorber Series 6C, 13 (Ptolemy V-VI); Weiser -; Noeske -; SNG Milan -; Hosking -; Malter -, VF, nice patina, weight 8.663 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 145 - 116 B.C.; obverse head of deified Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant-skin head-dress; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left; $65.00 (€57.20)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Ptolemy I, as Satrap in Egypt, 323 - 305 B.C.

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Ptolemy Lagides was a Macedonian general who, after Alexander's death, became the Satrap of Egypt under the nominal kings Philip III Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV. By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to preempt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took stole the body of Alexander. Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Thus began the long series of wars between the Diadochi, Alexander's successors. In 305, Ptolemy took the titles king and pharaoh, founding the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Ptolemaic Dynasty.
GP72061. Bronze hemiobol, Svoronos 172 (as king); BMC Ptolemies p. 8, 62 (295 - 284, Cyprus); SNG Cop 36; SNG Milan 5; Malter 21; Weiser -; Noeske -, VF, crowded flan, red and brown patina, weight 4.503 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 310 - 305 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of deified Alexander the Great right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY (no title, upward on left), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, apluster above helmet on left; ex Harlan Berk; scarce; $290.00 (€255.20)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Ptolemy II requested copies of Jewish texts for the Library at Alexandria. There they were translated and transcribed by 70 Jewish scholars, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible. Many of the oldest Biblical verses among the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly those in Aramaic, correspond more closely with the Septuagint than with the Hebrew text.
GP72062. Bronze hemiobol, Svoronos 416; SNG Cop 159; Weiser 35; Malter 60; Macdonald Hunter III p. 365, 26; BMC Ptolemies -; SNG Milan -; Noeske -; Hosking -, VF, nice green patina, centered, weight 4.094 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, post reform, c. 266 - 255 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander right, wearing elephant scalp headdress and aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, no control symbols; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Koinon of Macedonia, Reign of Severus Alexander, c. 231 A.D., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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According to Gaebler, pp. 20-21, these OMONOIA (harmony) coins apparently commemorated a settlement between the province of Macedonia and the free city of Thessalonica, which did not belong to the Macedonian koinon and was usually squabbling with it. Gaebler thinks that in 231 A.D., when Severus Alexander traveled through Macedonia on his way to Syria, Thessalonica and the koinon settled their differences and Thessalonica urged the emperor to allow the koinon to again issue coins with Beroia's title Neokoros, which is missing in this issue but reappeared in the next.
RP69770. Bronze AE 25, AMNG III 334, Lindgren -, BMC Macedonia -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, F, punch reverse center, weight 11.013 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 180o, Beroea(?) mint, 231 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN OMONOIA, Athena seated left, Cabeiros in right, spear vertical behind in left, rear leg of seat shaped like a lion's leg; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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It appears there may be a date below the head of Herakles - ΣOP (year 176). If it actually is a date and if it is a Seleukid era date, it equates to 137 - 136 B.C. This would be an unlikely spot for a date. Most likely, the "date" is just lion fur.
GS71548. Silver obol, cf. Price 4007 - 4011, SGCV II 6735 - 6737, VF, weight 0.510 g, maximum diameter 10.0 mm, die axis 135o, uncertain Eastern mint, posthumous, c. 323 - 136 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, no symbol; $110.00 (€96.80)
 










REFERENCES

Arena, V. "New Acquisitions at the British Museum: additions to Price, Alexander, and the 1870 Larnaca Hoard" in NC 2003.
Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (CNG, Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Davesne, A. & G. Le Rider. Le trésor de Meydancikkale. (Paris, 1989).
Duyrat, F. Arados Hellénistique: Étude historique et monétaire. (Beirut, 2005).
Gaebler, H. Die antiken Münzen von Makedonia und Paionia, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. III. (Berlin, 1935).
Head, B. V. British Museum Catalogue of Greek Coins, Macedonia, etc. (London, 1879).
Hersh, C. "Additions and Corrections to Martin J. Price's 'The Coinage in the name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus'" in Studies Price.
Houghton, A.; C. Lorber & O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
Le Rider, G. Alexander the Great: Coinage, Finances, and Policy. (Philadelphia, 2007).
Liampi, K. "A Hoard of Bronze Coins of Alexander the Great" in Studies Price.
Liampi. K. "Zur Chronologie der sogenannten 'anonymen' mekedonischen Münzen des späten 4. Jhs. v. Chr." in JNG XXXVI. (1986).
Lindgren, H & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Mildenberg, L. and S. Hurter, eds. The Dewing Collection of Greek Coins. ACNAC 6. (New York, 1985).
Müller, L. Die Münzen Des Thracishen Konigs Lysimacus. (Copenhagen, 1858).
Müller, L. Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grand; Appendice les monnaies de Philippe II et III, et Lysimaque. (Copenhagen, 1855-58).
Pick, B. and K. Regling. Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Möesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/II. (Berlin, 1910).
Polk, R.S. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, the Ptolemies, Kings of Egypt. (London, 1882).
Prieur, M. and K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Price, M. J. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Svoronos, J. Ta Nomismata tou Kratous ton Ptolemaion. (Athens, 1904-08).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Austria, Klagenfurt, Landesmuseum für Kärnten, Sammlung Dreer. Part 3: Thracien-Macedonien-Päonien. (Klagenfurt, 1984).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Makedonien - Könige, 10/11 Heft. (Berlin, 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece II, The Alpha Bank Collection, Macedonia I: Alexander I - Perseus. (Athens, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece IV, Numismatic Museum, Athens, The Petros Z. Saroglos Collection, Part 1: Macedonia. (Athens, 2005).
Thompson, M., and A.R. Bellinger. Greek Coins in the Yale Collection, IV: A Hoard of Alexander Drachms. (New Haven, CT, 1955).
von Prokesch-Osten, A. "Liste des Alexandres de ma collection qui ne se trouvent pas dans le catalogue de Mr. L. Müller" in NZ 1 (Constantinople, 1869). pp. 31 - 64.
von Prokesch-Osten, A. "Suite des monnaies inédites d'or et d'argent d'Alexandre le Grand" in NZ 3 (Constantinople, 1873). pp. 51 - 72.
Wartenberg, U. & J.H. Kagan, "Some Comments on a New Hoard from the Balkan Sea" in Travaux Le Rider.

Catalog current as of Saturday, February 06, 2016.
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Alexander the Great Greek Coins