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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 108, Lot: 398. Estimate $400.
Sold for $800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EASTERN EUROPE, Imitations of Alexander III of Macedon. Late 2nd-1st centuries BC. AR Tetradrachm (31mm, 16.74 g, 7h). Imitating style of posthumous Alexanders from southern Asia Minor. Head of Herakles, wearing lion skin / Zeus Äetophoros seated left; kerykeion to left. Unpublished. Near EF, toned, a couple minor die breaks. Very rare high quality imitation of late Alexandrine issue.

From the Colin E. Pitchfork Collection. Ex Triton XI (7 January 2008), lot 124.

By the 2nd century BC, most imitative issues of Alexanders were stylized issues easily identifiable as ‘Celtic’ or ‘barbarous.’ The present piece, however, would have been highly deceptive, as the style is very close to that used at various mints in southern Asia Minor, and is betrayed only by the retrograde N in Alexander’s name, and very minor stylistic elements. The closest parallels, in terms of style, are issues of Rhodes, which had the small hash marks at the bottom of the lion skin and Zeus sitting on a throne with its back depicted. Another possibility, if the kerykeion was present on the model, would be the rare issue from Samothrace, circa 200 BC, Price 662. That issue has a somewhat similar style, but lacks the throne back and also has a monogram below the throne–these small differences, though, suggest that the engraver was not closely copying an official issue, and that the kerykeion was an arbitrary symbol used to give the impression of authenticity.