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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 68. Estimate CHF40000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF32000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of EPEIROS. Alexander I, “the Molossian”. 350-330. Stater (Silver, 10.92 g 2), Corcyran standard, Tarentum, possibly by the famous Tarentine Kal... engraver, struck circa 334-330 BC. Bearded head of Zeus Dodonaios to right, wearing oak wreath. Rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟ[Υ] / ΤΟΥ ΝΕΟΠΤΟΛΕ[ΜΟΥ] Thunderbolt shown vertically; to left, eagle with closed wings standing left. Kunstfreund 196 (this coin). Traité IV, 331 and pl. CCLXXXIII, 4 (same obverse die). Vlasto 1868. Extremely rare. Of superb late classical style, beautifully struck. Nicely toned, Extremely fine.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 9, 16 April 1996, 32, Monnaies et Médailles 75, 4 December 1989, 235 and from the collection of C. Gillet, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 196.

Alexander the Molossian was not only the King of Epeiros but also, through his sister Olympias, the brother-in-law of Philip II of Macedon and the uncle of Alexander III. At the same time his nephew was beginning his epic march to the East, he was called in by the Greek city of Tarentum to save it from the pressure of the aggressive Lucanians and Bruttians. He arrived with an army in 334 and was initially successful; he was, however, killed in a minor engagement in 330. This coin was issued in Tarentum to pay his Epeirote troops since it was on the non-Italic weight standard they preferred. The artistry is absolutely superb: the head of Zeus is immediately reminiscent of the contemporary issues of Olympia and of Philip II.