Few names are remembered throughout history like that of Alexander the Great. Born in 356 B.C., he was educated in both war and philosophy by some of the most famed intellectuals of the day, such as Aristotle. When his father, King Philip II, was assassinated in 336 B.C., the nobles of Macedonia proclaimed Alexander the new king at the age of 20. He immediately began a prolonged military campaign that to this day is unmatched in military history. His defeat of the vast Persian Empire was an accomplishment that most said could never be done. The gold Darics and silver Siglos they took from the Persian King was the largest treasury known in the world.
Alexander the Great’s conquests reached from the Mediterranean all the way east to modern day Afghanistan. After numerous victories and successfully spreading Greek culture to most of the Ancient world, he died of fever in Babylon at the young age of 32.
Alexander the Great is also an extremely important figure in the history of Ancient coinage, as his tetradrachms are avidly collected today for their artistic beauty and historical significance. These large coins, which weigh approximately 17 grams of pure Silver each, were first struck around 330 B.C. and feature Alexander in the guise of Hercules wearing a lion-scalp headdress. The reverse often shows the God Zeus seated, holding a scepter in one hand and a perched eagle in the other. There are oftentimes different symbols on the obverse that refer to the mint of origin, much like today’s mint marks.
The reach of Alexander’s empire was so vast that more than 120 mints are known to have issued his coinage! They were extensively used in everyday commerce 2,300 years ago, so most known survivors today come extremely worn and/or corroded. When high-end examples do surface, they are in high demand and command substantial premiums to worn, inferior examples.