PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A silver tetradrachm of Alexander the great struck in Ptolomeic Egypt (323-283 BC) showing him wearing an 'elephant' helmet. On the cheek an ancient bankers test-mark of a goblet and a hand. These marks were punched into coins by bankers to ensure that a copper coin had not been coated with silver by ancient forgers. The coins were struck from silver flans with dyes rather than being cast - signs of a faint accidental double strike can be seen around the lips of this specimen. Silver tetradrachm coins of Alexander were one of the most enduring currencies of the ancient world, struck throughout his empire and copied well beyond. At this time currency still depended on the weight base value of the silver they contained.
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