KINGS OF MACEDON. Philip II, 359-336 BC. Stater (Gold, 18 mm, 8.68 g, 12 h), Kolophon, struck under Philip III by Menander or Kleitos, circa 322-319. Laureate head of Apollo to right, with the features of Alexander III 'the Great'. Rev. ΦΙΛΙΠΠOY Charioteer driving biga to right, holding reins in his left hand and goad in his right; below to right, tripod. Jameson 978 = Kunstfreund 232 = Thompson, Philip, pl. VI, 12 (same dies). Le Rider pl. 93, 26. A beautiful example of this desirable issue, sharply struck and of the finest style. Minor marks, otherwise, extremely fine.
Many of the Macedonian soldiers and officers were skeptical about Alexander's assimilation to Eastern culture, and his marriage with the Sogdian princess Roxane was not well received. When the great king died in 323, Roxane was pregnant, but the uncertainty over the gender of the unborn child and the unrest among the army lead Perdikkas to agree to the succession to the throne of Philip III, Alexander's mentally disordered half-brother. The appointment of a son of the beloved Philip II pleased the Macedonian traditionalists, and when Roxane gave birth to a son a few months later, he became the co-ruler of Philip III. Our coin is part of a remarkable series of wonderful staters struck in the years after these events, on which the types are those of Philip II but where there is little doubt that the wonderful head of Apollo is, in fact, a portrait of Alexander the Great. The issue thus places Philip III in the tradition of his father Philip II and his half-brother Alexander 'the Great' and the exceptional beauty of the die engraving has long made it one of the most prestigious Macedonian gold staters.