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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 51. Estimate CHF600. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF975. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III ‘the Great’. 336-323 BC. Drachm (Silver, 4.37 g 12), Kolophon, 323-329. Head of Herakles to right with lionskin headdress Rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ Zeus seated left on backless throne, holding eagle in his right hand and long scepter with his left; to left, eight-rayed star; to right, lance-head upwards. Price 1759. Lustrous and attractive. Good extremely fine.

Vast numbers of drachms were struck in the name of Alexander III in order to pay his soldiers. Greek mercenaries received two kinds of pay, a daily allowance for food and supplies and a monthly rate paid in a lump sum at the end of their enlistment. Drachms, hemidrachms and obols served to pay the daily rate, while tetradrachms and, above all, gold staters, were used for final payments (thus the great popularity of Philip II’s gold staters among the Celts who copied the originals their soldiers brought back with them after their service in the Macedonian armies). A cavalryman might well receive a drachm a day for sustenance; foot soldiers earned three obols.