|Beginning in the Renaissance, minters of medals, tokens, and coins have copied the devices on ancient coins, including those of Alexander the Great. Here are three medals issued over a period of nearly 500 years, that copy, and honor, Alexander coinage.|
|Italian Renaissance silver medal of Alessandro Cesati, 1538-1564, 27mm, 15.1g. Photo of this medal courtesy of Baldwin's Auctions.|
|This medal is a good example of how during the Renaissance the head of Athena on Alexander the Great's gold coinage
was believed to be Alexander himself (similarly, the rayed head of Helios on Rhodos coinage was thought to be Christ).
Athena is portrayed on the above silver medal wearing a crested Corinthian helmet decorated with Pegasos and stars,
with a helmet symbol in the left field. The obverse inscription reads ALEXANDROS, or "Alexander," rather
than ALEXANDROY, or "Of Alexander," indicating the medalist was identifying the figure as Alexander.
The reverse depicts a thunderbolt above a walled encampment enclosing an arena and other buildings, with the only
letters in the reverse inscription visible being [A]LEXA[--].
As Philip Attwood wrote in his 2003 book Italian Medals c. 1530-1600, Renaissance medals were first produced for the princely courts of Italy in the 1430s and continued to be produced for noble families and popes. Some of these medals were commissioned by individuals to honor themselves, others like this one to celebrate individuals from the past, still others to commemorate events or ideals. This particular medal was designed by Alessandro Cesati, who lived from 1538 to 1564. Some Renaissance medals were cast, though this one is thought to have been struck with a screw press.
|Unknown 1964 white-metal medal, 29mm, 8.4g.|
|I know nothing about this medal except what you see above, that it appears to be a cast copy in pewter or some other white metal of a posthumous Alexander the Great tetradrachm from Amphipolis c. 315-294 BC, Price 481, and that it cost me $3 on eBay. It's countermarked with PAA-BJ-1964, so perhaps it's a membership medal, issued in 1964, for an organization with the initials PAA and an individual with the initials BJ.|
|2000 F.U.N. (Florida United Numismatists) Show medal, 40mm, 33.7g.|
|This was the medal for the F.U.N. (Florida United Numismatists) Show in Orlando, Florida, January 6-9, 2000. These medals were designed and manufactured by Bob Hurst, who cast them using antiqued pewter and a centrifuge in his garage. They were given away for free to attendees at the coin show, with 10,000 of them produced. Two other similar medals were produced, one silver plated and the other 24k gold plated, with a three-piece set of pewter, silver-plated, and gold-plated medals selling for $75 at the show.|
Other glomworthy coins:
Coin Collecting: Consumer Protection Guide
Glomming: Coin Connoisseurship
Bogos: Counterfeit Coins
© 2013 Reid Goldsborough
Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.