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506199

Dynamic Naval Type

506199. SOLD $6250

KINGS of MACEDON. Demetrios I Poliorketes. 306-283 BC. AR Tetradrachm (29mm, 17.10 g, 4h). Pella mint. Struck circa 294-293 BC. Nike, blowing trumpet and cradling stylis in her left arm, standing left on prow of galley left / Poseidon Pelagaios standing left, preparing to throw trident; monogram to left; to right, dolphin left above star. Newell 68 (obv. die LVII); SNG München 1042 var. (no dolphin; same obv. die); CNG 102, 246 (same dies). Superb EF. Well struck from fresh dies.


The most dashing of Alexander the Great's successors, Demetrios I Poliorketes was the son of the Macedonian general Antigonos Monopthalmos ("one-eyed"), who served both Philip II and Alexander III the Great. After Alexander's death, Demetrios led armies in support of his father's claim to supreme power. He won a signal naval victory in 306 BC at Salamis against the Ptolemaic fleet and, along with his father, accepted the title Basileos ("king"), ending the fiction that the Diadochi were ruling a united government. This dynamic tetradrachm type, with its depiction of Nike alighting on a prow perhaps inspired by (or inspiring) the famous “Nike of Samothrace” statue, celebrates the victory at Salamis and makes it clear that the foundation of his power rests on his naval forces. Poseidon was Demetrios's patron god, and appeared on the coinages of many of the cities he founded or conquered during his campaigns in Greece.