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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
2470162
247, Lot: 162. Estimate $300.
Sold for $475. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Seleukos I Nikator. As satrap, 321-315 BC. AR Drachm (16mm, 4.26 g, 2h). In the name and types of Alexander III. Babylon II mint. Struck circa 311-308/5 BC. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion / Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; in left field, monogram above anchor; ΠΟ monogram below throne. SC Ad66 (this coin referenced); Price -; cf. HGC 9, 26a. Good VF, attractively toned. Unique–the only example of this issue.


This drachm belongs in a series dated to the second satrapy of Seleukos in Babylon, after his return to the city in 311 BC. The Alexandrine series is control-linked to the native Babylonian Ba'al/lion coinage which had comprised the local issues since the satrapy of Mazaios. By virtue of the control links, both the local coinage and the "anchor" Alexander coins were issued at a single workshop. Another, larger, Alexandrine coinage was also issued at Babylon going back to the time of Alexander's conquest of the city, and was issued concurrent with the Ba'al/lion coinage since that time. Thus, two workshops or mints were operating at Babylon, the 'imperial' mint producing the massive Alexander issues, and the second issuing the Ba'al/lion coinage. Hoard studies have led to a conclusion that the Ba'al/lion coinage was probably continued for the purpose of a local coinage under the Babylonian satrap's control, while the Alexandrine issues were likely used for paying mercenaries and other 'international' entities and was (theoretically) under the direct control of the Macedonian king (see SC, pp. 3 and 43-44). The Alexandrine types at the second mint can be dated to shortly after the return of Seleukos to Babylon, and it is reasonable to assume it was intended to slowly replace the Ba'al/lion coinage as the local currency. Supporting this is the fact that the Ba'al/lion coinage ended in around 305 BC when Seleukos assumed the royal title. The Alexandrine coinage of this series was the first to carry Seleukos' personal badge, the anchor, and thus are the first overt references to him on the coinage (see SC, pg. 6).