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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)
 


Odessos, Thrace, c. 240 - 180 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Herakles is most often depicted on coinage wearing the scalp of the Nemean lion over his head. The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by King Eurystheus (his cousin), was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. Herakles discovered arrows and his club were useless against it because its golden fur was impervious to mortal weapons. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt, but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.
SH71037. Silver tetradrachm, Price 1174 , Topalov Odesos 59, Prokesch-Osten (1) 266, AMNG I.2 2140, Müller Alexander -, Choice gVF, superb style, toned, obverse double struck, weight 16.650 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Odessos (Varna, Bulgaria) mint, magistrate Eupro.., c. 240 - 180 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, right leg drawn back, monogram under throne, EYΠPO in exergue; $630.00 (€554.40)
 


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)
 


Kabyle, Thrace, c. 219 - 215 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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The obverse dies for this type were also used with reverse dies naming the Gaulish King Kavaros. Die wear shows the Alexanderine types followed Kavaros' coinage, indicating this type was likely struck during the revolt of the Thracians, which brought about the chieftain's death and the end of Gaulish rule. Kavaros ruled until at least 219 B.C., when he participated in a treaty between Byzantium and Bithynia. The style compares closely with contemporary issues of Dionysopolis, Mesembria, and Odessus.
SH69935. Silver tetradrachm, Price 882a, Draganov Cabyle 845 ff., Müller Alexander 399, VF, weight 16.205 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Cabyle mint, time of the Thracian Revolt, c. 219 - 215 B; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, right leg drawn back, Demeter standing facing torch in each hand; $370.00 (€325.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Seleukos, Satrap in Babylon, 311 - 306 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Struck in the name of Alexander, this coin also bears the personal badge of Seleukos, an anchor. Seleukos was first appointed satrap in Babylonia in 320 B.C. but was put to flight by Antigonus in 315. He returned in 311 only to be forced to evacuate later that year by a counterattack by Antigonus' son, Demetrius. Not long after, however, Seleukos again recovered the city.
SH60135. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 293, Price 3449 (Marthus), Müller Alexander 1512, aVF/F, weight 16.601 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain mint, c. 311 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, anchor flukes up flanked by ∆ - I in left field, monogram under throne; $290.00 (€255.20)
 


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)
 


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)
 


Aspendus, Pamphylia, 191 - 190 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

In 190 B.C., Aspendos, which had been under Seleukid rule, surrendered to the Romans.
SH59444. Silver tetradrachm, Price 2901, Müller Alexander 1214, Cohen DCA 312, VF, weight 16.227 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 191 - 190 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; Seleukid countermark: anchor in a rectangular punch; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, right leg drawn back, eagle extended in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, wreath above AΣ / KB left (year 22 Era of Aspendos); $240.00 (€211.20)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV, 323 - 317 B.C.

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Struck by Menander, the satrap of Lydia, 331 - 321 B.C. or by Kleitos (Cleitus the White), the satrap of Lydia, 321 - 318 B.C., under Perdiccas as regent for Philip III and Alexander IV.
GS77132. Silver drachm, Price 2600, Thompson 191-199, Müller Alexander -, VF, attractive style, toned, porous, weight 4.063 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 323 - 319 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, right leg forward, feet on footstool, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long lotus tipped scepter vertical behind in left hand, EYE monogram left, torch under throne; $170.00 (€149.60)
 


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

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Simillar types with the club over lion reverse that identify only a single Neokorie in the reverse legend (no B) were struck under Severus Alexander, c. 231 - 238. Another similar issue is dated EOC, year 275 of the Actium Era (244 - 245 A.D.), on the reverse. They were probably struck for the visit of Philip I in 244.
RP59370. Bronze AE 27, AMNG III 741; BMC Macedonia p. 24, 118; SNG Cop 1375; SNG Bar 504; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Saroglos -; Lindgren -, aVF, weight 9.193 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, Beroea(?) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, head of Alexander the Great right, as Herakles, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN B NEΩ, lion walking right, club left above; scarce; $110.00 (€96.80)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Friday, February 12, 2016.
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Alexander the Great Greek Coins