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An enormously important coin for my Alexander the Great collection


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  • Benefactor

Words cannot relate how elated I am to have finally obtained this critical piece to my "Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Era of the Diadochi" collection. It's a siglos from Kalchedon, issued between 340 to 320 BCE. Let me now explain the amazing fit this coin has for that collection.


Bithynia, Kalchedon
340-320 BCE, Silver Siglos
5.20g, 17mm
Bull standing left on grain ear. "KAΛX"
Mill scale incuse pattern.
SNG Cop 348
Ex Aegean Numismatics

Kalchedon sits across the bay from Byzantion, which was besieged along with Perinthos by Philip II around 340 BCE. While Kalchedon likely supported its sister city, it was never directly besieged or confronted by Philip.

The city's next chance of fame was with the arrival of Alexander the Great, who chose a more southerly route over the Hellespont and avoided the region entirely. During this momentous period, no major battles were fought at Kalchedon, though an important one was fought in neighboring Byzantion.

So critical was Kalchedon's contribution to this era's history that Arrian never mentions it. Quintus Curtius Rufus gives it similar mention and Diodotus Siculus, who's narrative spans the entire period from Philip II through the Diadochi, also found no interesting story there.

Given the city's importance, you may wonder why I had to add this coin. Well, it took me four attempts to actually acquire one. During the first attempt, I researched the history and, finding nothing of interest, added a note that a coin from Kalchedon must not be purchased due to no strong tie to the story. When another interesting copy showed up at auction, I reviewed my note and failed to bid.

On the third attempt, I found a copy with the city name well-centered and added it to my watch list. When the bids ascended, I checked my notes to verify how crucial it was and, upon reading them, neglected to bid. However, on my fourth attempt I was successful! The coin appeared at an online store with a great price, well-centered name, and a reputation for selling quickly. I immediately placed the order and got the coin!

Even though I'd now read my notes, I couldn't wait to receive it after having fended off every attempt to prevent myself from buying one. Finally the package arrived and I tore it open, then remarked how close it looked to its sister city Byzantion. However, on closer look I found it was a coin of Byzantion. I'd accidentally received the wrong coin. (note: coin below is my coin, not the one sent back)


Thrace, Byzantion
AR Siglos 340-320 BCE
Bull standing left on a dolphin, monogram of Byzantion above. Incuse wind-sail pattern.
SNG Cop 475-477
Ex Aegean Numismatics

The seller was quick to rectify the mistake, and I soon had the correct coin. It now occupies a vaunted place in my collection from this turbulent period.

Please show your coins where you defeated your best attempts to not buy it.

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Very cool and congrats @kirispupis!

You are right, it looks very similar to the Thrace Byzantion Sigloi with the Surfing Cow!

THRACE Byzantion

Thrace, Byzantion
AR Half-Siglos,
ca. 340-320 BC
Obv.: Bull standing left on dolphin / ΠY
Rev.: Incuse granulated mill-sail pattern.
Reference: SNG BM Black Sea 21; SNG Copenhagen 476
Comments: Byzantion was an ancient Greek colony that would eventually become Constantinople. According to legend, it was settled by Byzas, king of the Megarans, sometime around 657 BC
Ex: @John Anthony

Edited by Alegandron
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  • Benefactor

That's a cool addition, kirispupis!

I really don't collect Thracian coins in any systematic way.  Often I will buy a coin if it just catches the eye and its price does not put me into indentured service for the rest of my life.

This tetradrachm from Byzantion, 340-320 BC, struck on a thick compact flan, came from my local coin shop about 15 years ago.  I was still working at the time, saw the coin the weekend before, and arranged to pick it up during a lunch break.  Fortunately the shop was fairly close to work and a short bus ride away.

14.8 grams





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