KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III 'the Great'. 336-323 BC. Tarsos mint. One of the Earliest of Alexander's Mints

Ancient Coins - KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III 'the Great'. 336-323 BC. Tarsos mint. One of the Earliest of Alexander's Mints
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KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III 'the Great'. 336-323 BC. Tarsos mint. Struck under Menes or Philotas, c. 327-323 BC. AR Tetradrachm, 17.06g (27mm, 2h). Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin / AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; plow in left field, Θ below throne, small globule above right arm.

Price: $3,750


In 1919, Edward T. Newell of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) wrote an in depth article on the Cilician city of Tarsos under Alexander. Newell had already started writing about Alexander extensively as early as 1911 in the American Journal of Numismatics. While L. Müller had undertaken an attempt to classify the massive coinage of Alexandria in 1855, he was largely unsuccessful but nonetheless is credited with the breakthroughs on the study of this monumental series. Martin Price published his grand analysis, still used to this day, in 1991 through a cooperation between the British Museum and the ANS. Before this, Newell was diligent in publishing copious analyses on the coinage of Alexander.


The mint of Tarsos is fascinating. It was one of the earlier of the conquered cities for Alexander (c. 333 BC). Tarsos was located in close proximity to silver mines and thus its output of coinage from the Persian satrapy was immense. Most interesting to note is the striking similarity of the seated imagery of Zeus between the late satrapal coinage from Tarsos (on the obverse) and the subsequent imperial coinage of Alexander (on the reverse). There is no question that the continuation of the mint was seamless from the Persians to Macedonians. Undoubtedly the same die engravers were further tasked with the enormous output from Alexander. Similarities are all but the same with the exception of the legend and the eagle being switched out for grapes (on other issues the eagle returns).


Interesting to note that around the time that this issue was struck (c. 327) a special issue of Persic staters were struck only for municipal purposes and were clearly locally undertaken. The Alexander staters were used for military reasons. No military or overlord appears on these coins. The only reference to where they were struck (Tarsos, Mallos, Soloi or Issos) was reflected with a simple letter on the obverse under the throne of Zeus.


References: Price 3032; Newell, Tarsos 38 (obv. die unlisted); ANS 1951.116.13 (same obv. die)

Grade: Choice EF. Struck from fine style dies on a broad flan.

gk1196


Price SKU: gk1196
US$ 3,750.00
US$ 3,300.00
(You saveUS$ 450.00)
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Rates for: 08/21/18

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