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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Pedigreed Marriage Commemorative

Triton XXII, Lot: 321. Estimate $25000.
Sold for $50000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUKID EMPIRE. Alexander I Balas, with Kleopatra Thea. 152-145 BC. AR Tetradrachm (32mm, 17.01 g, 12h). Marriage Commemorative. Ptolemaïs (Ake) mint. Struck circa 150 BC. Jugate busts of Kleopatra Thea and Alexander I right; Kleopatra is veiled, diademed, and wearing kalathos with a cornucopia behind her shoulder; Alexander is diademed; A to left / BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY ΘEOΠATOPOΣ EYEPΓETOY, Zeus Nikephoros enthroned left, holding Nike, facing and holding thunderbolt, in extended right hand and scepter in his left. SC 1841 (this coin illustrated); Houghton, Double 16 (A3/P7) = CSE 407 (this coin); HGC 9, 880; SNG Copenhagen 267 (same obv. die); de Clercq 131; Jameson 1715. Good VF, attractive cabinet tone, double struck on reverse. Rare.

From the MNL Collection. Ex Goldberg 70 (2 September 2012), lot 3139; Manhattan Sale III (3 January 2012), lot 147; Berk BBS 113 (14 March 2000), lot 174; Berk BBS 100 (29 January 1998), lot 283; Distinguished American Collection (Leu 52, 15 May 1991), lot 119; Arthur Houghton Collection (Numismatic Fine Arts XVIII, 31 March 1987), lot 534.

This rare issue was struck to commemorate the marriage of Alexander I Balas and Kleopatra Thea in 150 BC, a union that politically united the Ptolemaic and Seleukid Empires. Previously thought to be a special emission of the Seleukeia in Pieria mint, based on the imagery of Nike holding a thunderbolt, it is now attributed to the Ptolemaïs (Ake) mint. Arthur Houghton, in his die study published in 1988, recorded 19 specimens struck from three obverse and ten reverse dies, which indicates a short-lived and special coinage.