Caria, Isl, of Rhodes Types of Alexander III Signed By ΔΑΝ (Danaos)

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Caria, Isl, of Rhodes Types of Alexander III Signed By ΔΑΝ (Danaos)

Circa 205-190 BC.

AR Tetradrachm (34mm, 17.21g, 12h.)

Obs. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion’s skin headdress signed ΔΑΝ on the lip.

Rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, holding eagle on extended right hand and sceptre in left; PO beneath throne, monogram above rose in left field.

Reference: Price 2513 var.; F.S. Kleiner, ANSMN 17, 1971, 106 (H-21) = SNG Berry 320 (same obverse die).

NGC Certification Number: 4283554-001
NGC Grade: AU* 5×4

Comments On This Specimen: Full panchet, bold strike, sensitive rose, realistic eye.

Extremely rare

Ex Gorny & Mosch 169, 13 October 2008, lot 554;
Ex Künker 67, 9 October 2001, lot 409.

Very rare, one of the few examples of a signed die in the Alexander series! Struck on an immense flan, with a clear signature. Scattered surface marks, otherwise, a superb coin.

The letters Δ-Α-Ν on the lip of the lion’s mouth appears to be the signature of a Rhodian die engraver, who was sufficiently proud of his accomplishment that he felt it was appropriate to sign his name on the die. ΔΑΝ might stand for Danaos, a well-attested Rhodian name that is well evidenced in the numismatic record, and which was borne by mythical founder of Rhodos.

This is one of very few known cases of an artist signing his work on a Hellenistic tetradrachm.

Exquisite Style, remarkable three-dimensional work of numismatic art.

Warranty: 30 Days

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Historical Study:

The island of Rhodes was a major cultural center in antiquity. Making it immensely successful as a commercial power of the Aegean siding with Athens but negotiating favorable surrenders with, subsequently, Sparta, Alexander the Great and Demetrios Poliorketes that allowed them to continue at least some degree of independence through neutrality.

Some of Demetrius Poliorcetes’ proceeds for Rhodes included a 180 foot long battering ram and a 125 foot tall siege tower, after a failed seige in 304 BCE, the city decided to make sales of these proceeds. After these sales, the isolated island went to boasting one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes.

The proceeds could have went to feeding the poor, however, the Rhodians figured erecting a 108 foot tall statue of Helios would’ve been better. One reason we know of is because Helios was an important patron deity to the island of Rhodes.

This enormous statue was erected in the city’s harbour at the start of the 3rd century BC but was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 226, just 54 years later, not long before my coin was issued. Still, for eight centuries admirers would marvel at it, getting up close and personal, and trying in vain to wrap their arms around a finger.

The Colossus, thereafter, was still an important representation of the island of Rhodes, and through ancient tradition, depicted the god Helios upon the observe of the Rhodian coins.

The reverse typically beared floral types, in which, resembled the island for what it was known for, the rose, an emblem of the great city.

Now, the big question: what does this have to do with our coin? Quite a lot, as it turns out. It is more than likely that it shows the face of the Colossus itself.

Ancient traditions states that the Colossus features mirrored those of Alexander III. Some posthumous Herakles/Zeus type tetradrachms are thought to portray Alexander, such as this one.

The characteristics go as follows: a protruding brow, long and narrow nose, pursing upper lip, strong jaw, thick neck, and fiery eyes. The same as those portrayed on The Colossus itself. This helps explain why Danaos was proud enough to sign the die. We may be very well looking into the face of the great Colossus of Rhodes!

To further enhance our evidence, the portrait on this coin has those characteristics; it also resembles the earliest known portraits of Alexander, placed by Ptolemy I on the elephant headdress tetradrachms.

A connecting piece to history, a very special view into ancient art and possibly even the Colossus! Thanks to this coin we are saved a fine contemporary representation of one of antiquity’s greatest masterpieces.

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Additional information

Weight1 oz
NGC

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  • Store Name: Kouros Numismatics
  • Vendor: Kouros Numismatics
  • Address: IL
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