Starting Price: 2800 USD
Price realized: 4000 USD
Cyrenaica, Cyrene. Ophellas, Ptolemaic Governor. Gold Stater (8.61 g), first reign, ca. 322-313 BC. Polianthes, magistrate. KYPANAION, Nike, holding kentron and reins, driving slow quadriga right. rev. ΠOΛIANΘEYΣ, Zeus-Ammon standing facing, head left, holding patera and lotus-tipped scepter; in left field, thymiaterion. Naville 104; SNG Copenhagen 1210 Pozzi 3271. Very Fine. Estimated Value $3,500
This stater was struck at Cyrene under the Ptolemaic administration headed by Ophellas. He had served in the army of Alexander the Great and took part in that king's celebrated Indian campaign, but after Alexander's death in 323 BC he followed Ptolemy I Soter, who took control of Egypt. When a civil war broke out in the Cyrenaica in 322 BC, Ptolemy sent Ophellas with an army to claim the region for the Ptolemaic kingdom. This he did and assumed the position of Ptolemaic governor, which he held until 309/8 BC except for a brief Cyrenean revolt in 313 BC. The Nike in quadriga obverse type may perhaps refer to Ophellas' victory in the civil war and serve as a slight nod to the popular and widely circulating charioteer staters of Philip II. The reverse depicts Zeus Ammon, the oracular deity for which Cyrene was most famous. So high was the renown of the god and his prophecies that Alexander the Great himself had made a special journey to visit the oracle at Siwah.