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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1716. Estimate $15000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $12000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

TROAS, Abydus. Septimius Severus. Æ Medallic 8 Assaria (21.99 gm). AV KAI L CEP[T]I[M]IO[C] CEOVHPOC PEPTIN, laureate, draped and cuirassed(?) bust right / [...FA(?)] PROKL, ABVÐHNW/N in two lines in exergue, Alexander the Great in full armor standing three-quarter right at prow of galley right entering a harbor, holding spear in left hand, looking back in a heavenly gaze and extending his right hand in supplication; two soldiers behind him, bust of Athena on acrostolium of Alexander's galley and another on the one behind, Athena seated right on a third galley; in high tower behind, herald blowing trumpet skyward. Price and Trell pg. 221, fig. 486 (Paris specimen); I. Vecchi, "Alexander the Great at Troy," Minerva 12/4 (July/August 2001), pg. 56 (this coin). EF, dark green patina. Extremely rare, this is the finest known of just two specimens and is the only specimen available to the collector as the other specimen, which is missing at least 1/3 of its metal, resides in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. ($15,000)

The correct interpretation of this coin's reverse has only recently been discovered. According to the ancient authors, Alexander carried with him everywhere his most precious possession - Aristotle's personal copy of the Iliad which the famous philosopher had given him. When Alexander led his Macedonian army to the Hellespont, he desired two things: "to be the new Achilles sailing once again for Troy, and to be the captain-general of the Hellenes exacting vegeance for the invasion of Greece by the Persian king Xerxes in 480 BC." After crossing the Hellespont on a bridge of Greek triremes sent by Parmenion, Alexander, in full armor, flung his spear into the sand and "claimed as from the gods the 'spear-won prize' of all Asia," an event known only from a second or third century AD abridgement by Justin (II.5.4-10) of Trogus' Historia Philippicae. This coin which displays this moment in time, a little known but important event in world history, is certainly worthy of a world class collection.