Kings of Macedon, Alexander III, the Great, 336-323 BC. Miletus, c. 295-275 BC

Kings of Macedon, Alexander III, the Great, 336-323 BC. Miletus, c. 295-275 BC


Drachm, 4.31g (17mm, 11h). Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress / AΛEΞANΔΡOΥ Zeus seated on backless throne, his left leg and torso facing front, his head, right arm and right to left; holding eagle in his right hand and long scepter in his left; in field to left, monogram; below throne, bipennis.

References:  Price 2148; Thompson, Miletus, 260ff

Grade:  A splendid, lustrous piece struck on a broad flan. EF  (gk1169)

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The earliest issues of Miletus show a symbol of a thunderbolt which aligns it with Zeus. On this later issue there is a double axe (or bipennis). Martin Price suggests on p. 276 in his monumental study on the coinage of Alexander that the double axe was another symbol associated with Zeus. The symbol however was not necessarily recognized as Miletus. Therefore early attributions for these coins proved burdensome. It is because Price-2146 (a gold stater) with a double axe symbol shares a obverse die with 2149 (also a gold stater but with the more common accepted M symbol) that the relationship with Miletus could be established. While this example seems rather unimportant I bring it to your attention because it touches upon the sheer magnitude of coins that required mint attribution. The numerous mints that existed under Alexander’s reign and posthumously created a conundrum to all numismatists even to this day. It is for this reason that Price’s work continues to be the bible on coinage of Alexander.