Impressive Alexander the Great dekadrachm
KINGS OF MACEDON. Alexander III ‘the Great’, 336-323 BC. Dekadrachm (Silver, 32 mm, 42.33 g, 6 h), Babylon, circa 325-323. Head of youthful Herakles to right, wearing lion's skin headdress. Rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and, on his right, eagle standing to right with closed wings; below throne, monogram over M. HGC 3.2, 909. Hunt I 102 (same obverse die). Price 3598, pl. XVII (same dies) = Price, Mnemata p. 69, 1-5. An impressive and important coin. Well-centered and struck, and with excellent detail. Surface corrosion, small scuff on reverse, otherwise, good very fine.
From the Anabasis Collection, originally acquired from the Boutos Collection, formed in the 1970s and 1980s.
These dekadrachms were struck immediately preceding Alexander's death in 323, and were most likely issued, at least in part, in order to give a full Attic Talent - 6000 drachms - to each of the 10,000 veterans he intended to send home. This was a most important gesture since the soldiers had become increasingly unhappy and restive: they had fought for years without respite, they had just returned from Alexander's arduous Indian campaign, and were longing for a return to their homeland. The coins were struck at the mint in Babylon, and hoard evidence shows that the M monogram issue came immediately before that with the ΛΥ monogram; also just prior to issues in the name of Philip III. These dekadrachms are great rarities in Alexander's coinage, the majority of the issue with the M monogram are tetradrachms and staters, which suggests that they were only issued as a form of "prestige" supplement to a payout in the form of more normal coins.
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