Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos AR Tetradrachm, Real Portrait of Alexander the Great, 287-281 BC
Ruler/Emperor:
Lysimachos, King of Thrace and former General to Alexander the Great
City/Region:
Kingdom of Thrace, Amphipolis mint
Denomination:
AR Tetradrachm
Composition:
Silver
Date:
287-281 BC
Obverse:
Diademed head of the deified Alexander the Great right wearing horn of Ammon
Reverse:
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ ('of Lysimachos'), Athena enthroned left, holding Nike crowning the king's name, in right hand and resting left arm on shield with lion's head in centre; transverse spear resting against her right side; ΩΠY monogram in inner left field; ΩK in right field; HΔ monogram in exergue
Size:
32mm; 16.3g
Grade:
Choice VF, boldly struck with high relief, obverse slightly off centre, some black deposits, a few light scrapes
Provenance:
ex Athena Numismatics
Reference:
Apparently unpublished; Thompson 207 var. (monogram in right field); Müller 539 var. (monogram in right field); Meydancikkale 2673-2674 var. (monogram in right field); SNG Copenhagen 1122 var. (monogram in right field); SNG Alpha Bank 977 var.; SNG Berry 421 var. (monogram in right field); SGCV II, 6814 ff. var. (different monograms); cf. SNG Alpha Bank 979 (for ΩK monogram, found in exergue of this coin)

The tetradrachms of Lysimachos are some of the few ancient coins to undisputedly feature a 'real' portrait of Alexander the Great and give us insight into how he may have appeared in life. Most coins of Alexander the Great represent the legendary figure in the form of Hercules (Herakles). Lysimachos was one of the most successful successors of Alexander. Born in 361 or 365 BC, his father was a close friend of King Phillip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. A bodyguard and General to Alexander the Great, Lysimachos later became the King of Thrace. He married three times. His third wife was the Ptolemaic Greek Princess Arsinoe II. Lysimachos died in battle in the Battle of Corupedium, the last battle between the rival successors to Alexander the Great. His body was discovered a few days later, being protected by his faithful dog.