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Today's Featured Coin
Arachosia
Imitation of Alexander III of Macedonia
Silver Tetradrachm, 4th-3rd century BCE

Weight:16.10 gm., Diam: 26 mm., Die axis:3h
Head of Herakles (Alexander ?) right, wearing lion head-dress, dotted border around/
Zeus enthroned left, holding eagle in outstretched right hand, scepter in left hand
This coin appears to belong to a hoard of 200+ coins found near Quetta in 2001. The hoard was first discussed by Houghton and Lorber in Seleucid Coins, Part I, pp. 483-486 and then published by Richard P. Miller: "East Arachosia (Quetta) Hoard, 2002" in Oliver D. Hoover, Andrew Meadows and Ute Wartenberg-Kagan (eds.), Coin Hoards. Vol. X. Greek Hoards. Royal Numismatic Society-American Numismatic Society, New York, 2010. The hoard contained coins ranging in date from the late 4th to the late 3rd century BCE, indicating that it had been buried perhaps in 206 BCE when the Seleucid king Antiochus III passed through the area on the way back from his expedition into Bactria. About 30% of the coins in the hoard consisted of these very crude silver tetradrachms imitating the coins of Alexander the Great. Many of the Greek kingdoms in this period issued coins of this type (for an example: see this), but these crude types issued in Eastern Arachosia (the Quetta area) were unknown until the discovery of this hoard. This area had been ceded by the Seleucids to Chandragupta Maurya, but perhaps the apparatus of the Mauryan state did not pentrate it deeply enough and the need for coinage may have been felt. Greek soldiers in the area would have been comfortable with coins that looked roughly like the ones they were used to, so it is quite likely that these coins were issued primarily for circulation in Greek communities. This coin, while not published by Miller, appears to be struck from the same dies as Miller 145. (My thanks to Waleed Ziad for bringing these coins to my attention, and for helpful discussions.)

Another coin from the hoard can be seen on the pre-Seleucid page.


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