Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 110   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 63





Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 24'000 CHF Price realized: 35'000 CHF
Kings of Macedonia, Alexander III, 336 – 323 and posthumous issues. Distater, Aegae (?) circa 336-323, AV 17.27 g. Head of Athena r., wearing triple-crested Corinthian helmet; bowl decorated with coiled snake. Rev. AΛEΞANΔΡOΥ Nike standing l., holding wreath and stylis; in outer l. field, thunderbolt and in lower l. field, ΛO in monogram. SNG Copenhagen 623. Price 191a
Rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. Well struck in high
relief on a very broad flan, good extremely fine
Ex Ira & Larry Goldberg 46, 2008, Millennia, 18 and Ira & Larry Goldberg 55, 2009, 32 sales.The Athena-Nike staters of Alexander were issued in great quantities both during his lifetime and after his death, yet his distaters were never struck on anything but a modest scale. Even so, mercantile inscriptions from Amphipolis show that they were familiar enough to have earned the nickname 'big staters of Alexander' (stateres megaloi). As Hatzopoulos and Le Rider note, it is clear that those inscriptions refer to Alexander distaters, for in one case a transaction is dually recorded in the amout of 170 regular staters and 85 stateres megaloi.The date at which Alexander introduced his Athena-Nike gold coinage is still a topic of debate. The current view is that the event post-dates 333, and that these distaters may have been introduced as late as c.325 B.C. under the oversight of Antipater.The inspiration for the design of this coinage, which remained popular long after Alexander's death, has been the subject of much discussion. It would seem unlikely that the head of Athena was intended as a nod to her great city, which by then had succumbed to the will of the Macedonians; more likely it was intended to honor the divinity herself. Portraying the goddess of wisdom and war would have been well advised on the eve of the great military enterprise that Alexander had envisioned. The image of Nike holding a ship's mast generally has been seen as an allusion to a naval accomplishment. Some commentators, including Martin Price, suggest it recalls the Greek victory over the Persians at Salamis in 480 B.C. Yet, others see it as a reflection of Alexander's actions, perhaps his crossing of the Hellespont in the spring of 334 or his capture of Tyre in the summer of 332.

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