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Research Coins: The Coin Shop

 
564363

An Offering of Ptolemaic Coinage
“From Dies of Remarkable Beauty”

564363. Sold For $12500

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter. As satrap, 323-305/4 BC. AR Tetradrachm (28mm, 17.09 g, 11h). In the name and types of Alexander III of Macedon. Memphis or Alexandreia mint. Struck circa 323-317 BC. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin / AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus Nikephoros seated left; rose in left field, ΔI-O below throne. CPE 19; Svoronos –; Zervos Issue 2C, dies 207/f; Price 3971 var. (position of letters on rev.). Attractive old collection tone over lustrous surfaces, a touch of horn silver at edge. EF. A wonderful coin in hand.


Ex Leu 79 (31 October 2000), lot 507; Münzen und Medaillen AG FPL 195 (Nov.-Dec. 1959), no. 349.

O. Zervos, in his original 1967 ANS Museum Notes article, thought these early Egyptian Alexanders were struck much earlier, but he later clarified his position in his 1974 Ph.D. dissertation, stating that he thought that they began in 324-322 BC, though most likely after Alexander III’s death. His analysis of the hoards somewhat supports his contention, but the evidence is not conclusive. M. Price, in his 1991 corpus on the Alexander coinage, thought that the minting of Alexanders began upon the conquest of Egypt in 332, but this early date is not supported by the evidence. G. Le Rider, in his 1997 review Alexander's coinage and finances, agreed with a late date for the beginning of Alexanders in Egypt, though slightly earlier, circa 325/4 BC. C. Lorber, in an article in NC 2005, came to a similar conclusion regarding the late start of production, agreeing with Zervos that is was more likely after Alexander's death, circa 323 BC. Zervos, Price, and Lorber all think that the coinage began at Memphis, which had produced imitation Athenian tetradrachms under the Persians, and was later transferred to Alexandreia, while Le Rider thought it was at Alexandreia from the onset. Undoubtedly, the construction of Alexandreia was completed during the reign of Kleomenes, Ptolemy's predecessor as satrap, and Le Rider argued that Kleomenes would have established his headquarters there, as well as his mint. Although Lorber, in CPE, attributes the initial issues to Memphis, the question remains open. All examples of this early Ptolemaic issue were struck from dies of remarkable beauty, the present specimen exemplifying this artistry and boasting a splendid state of preservation.