21 March 2023
KINGS OF THRACE. Lysimachos, 305-281 BC. Drachm (Silver, 19 mm, 4.15 g, 11 h), Ephesos, circa 294-287. Diademed head of the deified Alexander the Great to right, with horn of Ammon over his ear. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Σ] [Λ]ΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ Athena seated to left on throne, leaning her left elbow on her shield and holding Nike, crowning the king’s name, in her right; behind, transverse spear with point below left; to inner left, tripod; in exergue, Z(?). Müller -. Cf. Thompson 170 var. (monogram of EΩ in either exergue or on throne). Very fine.
Until at least 297 BC Lysimachos continued production of Alexandrine types at the imperial mints under his control to supply both staters and drachms and to a very limited extent tetradrachms. For the bulk of his tetradrachm needs, it seems he relied on his close friend and colleague, Kassander, who operated the Macedonian mints at Pella and Amphipolis. In 297 Kassander died, and after his death Lysimachos changed the designs on his coinage to show the head of the deified Alexander on the obverse and a seated Athena Nikephoros on the reverse. Out of necessity he also substantially increased the production of tetradrachms at this time. Thompson notes that "one can scarcely avoid the conclusion that the events (of Kassander's death and Lysimachos design changes) were connected" although she does not elaborate (Thompson p. 165). Between 293 and 287, Lysimachos' mints specialized in producing different denominations. Sardis, Magnesia and especially Lampsakos produced huge quantities of tetradrachms, while Alexandria Troas was chiefly responsible for the production of staters. Lysimachos also opened a new mint at Ephesos to supply the bulk of his drachms, such as the example offered here.