Printed Auction 40

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Closed March 3, 2021
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    Rarest Memphis mint
    A40, Lot 32:

    KINGS OF MACEDON. Alexander III 'the Great.' 336-323 B.C. AR tetradrachm. 17.24 gm. 27 mm. Memphis mint. Struck under Ptolemy I Soter, circa 323/2 B.C. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin / Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left; to left, ram's head right wearing crown of Isis (Khnum); AΔ monogram below throne. CPE 4. Price 3964. Zervos Issue 3. Extremely Fine / Good Very Fine; beautiful old toning; slight die shift on obverse; slight scuff in lion's mane at 9'. Fine style dies, sharply struck on a large flan. Rare (this is the rarest of the Memphis mint issues).

    From an American collection formed in the late 1940's and early 1950's.

    The crowned ram's head on this famous issue is traditionally associated with Khnum, the god of the source of the Nile, but recent scholarship argues that it may depict Amun, the source of Egyptian kingship and the god with whom Alexander was particularly associated (Lorber, CPE). This issue has been traditionally cataloged as a lifetime issue, c. 332-323 B.C., as in Price 3964, however the latest (2018) Lorber volume (CPE) settles on 323/2 B.C. Lorber notes that the symbol represents the accession of Philip III, hence supporting the position that this is, albeit barely, not a lifetime issue.

    The tetradrachms of Alexander from the mint of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt, are arguably the most dramatically beautiful of all the coins struck in his name. The die engravers harnessed majestic power by utilizing high relief and unusual sculptural quality, making these coins stylistically among the finest silver coins of Alexander ever made.



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