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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 149. Estimate CHF160000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF128000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter. As satrap, 323-305 BC. Stater (Gold, 8.53 g 12), Alexandria, c. 313-311. Diademed head of Alexander III to right, wearing elephant’s scalp headdress and an aegis, and with the horn of Ammon over his ear. Rev. Prow of galley to right, adorned with one large and one small protective eye. Gulbenkian 1071 = Jameson 999. Svoronos 25 and pl. I, 22-23. Extremely rare, one of four examples known, the only example in private hands. Minor marks and struck from a slightly worn obverse die, otherwise, good extremely fine.

From the Mieza collection, ex Numismatica Ars Classica 46, 2 April 2008, 303.

This is one of the greatest rarities of Ptolemaic coinage, and it celebrates the Ptolemy I’s use of Alexander’s figure as a badge of legitimacy. As is well known, Ptolemy arranged to capture Alexander’s body in 322, when it was in Syria on the way to Macedonia. It was soon placed in a great tomb in Alexandria where it remained until at least the 3rd century AD (though there are reports of it having been seen in the 9th and 10th centuries). This coin bears the typically Ptolemaic portrait of Alexander (with the elephant’s skin headdress) and a prow, which probably commemorates some initial Ptolemaic victories in Cyprus. The portrait itself is remarkably evocative with the visage of a human who is also divine.