Kingdom of Macedon, Philip II Gold Stater NGC MS 4x4 Fine Style

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Kingdom of Macedon, Philip II Gold Stater NGC MS 4x4 Fine Style
Struck under Philip III c322-319 BC after the death of his 1/2 brother Alexander the Great.
Obverse bust likeness of Alexander instead of Apollo. Deifying Alexander.
Struck at the Colophon Mint, extremely rare.
A splendid Hellenistic portrait of the finest style, a superb specimen.


While the types of this gold stater issue conform to the dies for Philip II (359-336 BC), the magnificent obverse die of this late posthumous issue bears a portrait of "Apollo" that is quite distinctive and clearly depicts a real person. Coins struck from the same or almost identical obverse dies during the same period have also been attributed to Colophon. Comparison with the coins of Lysimachus and surviving portrait sculpture leaves no doubt the portrait represents Alexander III the Great himself. The issue seems to be one of the first under Philip III. It was intended to legitimize the divided Macedonian regime by Alexander's generals after his death in Babylon under the figurehead rulers- Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander's slow-witted half-brother, and the infant Alexander IV, his posthumously born son. As such the "Philip" named on the reverse should probably be seen as referring to Arrhidaeus rather than the traditional attribution to Philip II. 

The uncanny resemblance of the facial features seen on this type to known portraits of Alexander leave little doubt that an uncommonly talented die engraver did a masterful job evoking the great conqueror with this magnificent depiction.

Colophon is the city to which it is tentatively attributed, the tripod symbol linking it to an issue in the name of Philip III (cf. Price P41). Colophon was an ancient city in Ionia. Founded around the turn of the first millennium BC, it was likely one of the oldest of the twelve cities of the Ionian League.