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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 127. Estimate CHF6500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF8000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter. As satrap, 323-305 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 15.59 g 12), Alexandria, 310-305. Head of the deified Alexander III to right, wearing diadem and elephant skin headdress, with aegis around his neck, and with horn of Ammon on his forehead Rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ Athena Alkidemos advancing right, hurling spear with her right hand and with shield over her extended left arm; to right, monogram above eagle with closed wings standing on thunderbolt to right. SNG Copenhagen 25. Svoronos 107. Rare. Very attractively toned and with a remarkably individualistic portrait of Alexander III. Minor graffiti on the reverse, otherwise, extremely fine.

As noted with lot 126, Ptolemy I produced his own variant of the traditional coinage of Alexander in 321, then changed the reverse as well in 314. A few years later, c. 310, he embarked on an even greater change by lowering the weight standard by some 9%. This was done in order to create a closed currency area out of Egypt: foreign coins were banned from circulation and any brought by travelers had to be exchanged on a one for one basis against lower weight local issues, thus providing an instant profit for the government.