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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90060108
Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 108. Estimate CHF15000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF25000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Alexander I Balas. 152-145 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 16.12 g 3), Seleucia Pieria, year 166 = 147/6 BC. Laureate head of Zeus to right, with full beard and with his hair arranged in long curls of archaizing form Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ Thunderbolt; above, ϚΞΡ (= 166) and monogram; below, two monograms; all within elaborate laurel wreath with ties to right. CSE 409. Gulbenkian 1044. A. Houghton, “A Tetradrachm of Seleucia Pieria at the Getty Museum,” J. Getty Museum Journal 10 (1982), A2/P4 and fig. F = SC 1798 = Wealth of the Ancient World 112 (this coin). Extremely rare. One of approximately fourteen known examples, of which at least seven are in museums. Attractively toned and masterfully engraved. Extremely fine.


From the Outstanding Collection, Leu 81, 16 May 2001, 339, from the collection of N. B. Hunt, I, Sotheby’s 19 June 1990, 114 and ex Bank Leu 22, 8 May 1979, 164.

This head of Zeus, of an archaistic style that harks back to the early 5th century BC, was deliberately chosen by Alexander Balas’ moneyers to remind viewers of the similar coinage struck by Antiochos IV. This was done as a way of stressing Alexander’s claim to be Antiochos IV’s son: it did not do Balas much good in the end since soon after this coin was struck he was deposed by the forces of Demetrios II and, after his flight in 145, murdered by his officers.