the coins in this collection, is regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient coinage and is among the most spectacular numismatic objects to survive from the classical world. The opportunity to acquire an example is seldom witnessed by numismatists. Godfrey Locker Lampson, whose example was struck from the same dies as this coin, provides us with his own inspired account of the obverse: “The head of the satyr is a marvel of speaking portraiture. That so much expression could be packed into so small a round would not be believed by anyone who had not seen it....If a single coin had to be selected from those described in these pages, as by the greatest of all die-engravers, whoever he may have been, whose work had lasted to the present day, the writer would choose this one. Its creator has left no name behind him, but none but a consummate artist of remarkable and original genius could have produced this unforgettable and amazing little gem.” (Locker Lampson Collection (foreword, p. vii)).
The example from the Locker Lampson Collection is now in the Gulbenkian Collection, where it resides together with two other similar examples, one of which shares the same obverse die.
The Greek colony of Pantikapaion was founded in the seventh century B.C. by the Milesians and, by the fourth century, the city had amassed considerable wealth through its exports of grain. The griffin on the reverse of this coin is seen standing upon a grain-ear, symbolic of its importance to the financial well-being of the city. The issue of gold staters, this three-quarter facing head example being one of the most incredible and important, was a manifestation of the wealth of Pantikapaion. This coin is estimated at US$650,000.
Following Alexander’s victories over the Persian Empire, he continued to campaign further East towards India. As his army advanced through modern day Pakistan, it became necessary to deal with the Indian King Poros, ruler of the Pauravas, who had refused to acknowledge Alexander’s increasing dominance. Alexander had to ensure that there would be no danger to the flanks of his army. King Poros positioned himself on the banks of the Hydaspes River, which he saw as a good defensive location as the river was at that time swollen due to monsoon rains. However, Alexander risked the crossing and, having reached the opposing bank, trapped the forces of Poros in a pincer movement. Alexander’s victory at this battle resulted in the annexation of the Punjab into his empire, later leading to the formation of the Indo-Greek Kingdom.
Two new cities, Bucephala and Nicaea, were founded by Alexander and it is in the context of this campaign that the ‘Poros’ dekadrachms were issued. The deficiencies in striking make it clear that the dekadrachms were a local issue, struck in Babylon. The obverse of the coin has traditionally been identified as commemorating Alexander the Great’s defeat of King Poros at the battle of the Hydaspes in 326 B.C. However, research has strengthened the