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          Alexander the Great entered India in the spring 326 BC He crossed the Indus, march to Taxila and then advanced to Hydespes (Jhelum). After his death, when the far-flung territories that he had conquered were divided amongst the powerful officers of his army; and a Greek kingdom was established in Syria under Seleucus. The kingdom extended from Euphrates to the Oxus and the Indus. During the reign of the Seleucid ruler Antiochos II, in about 250 BC Diodotus, the Satrap of Bactria, the country north of the Hindukush, took advantage of the disturbacnes which followed the death of Antiochos Theos and became independent. Diodotus was succeeded by his son of the same name, who was supplanted in turn by one Euthydemus . His son Demetrius extended his kingdom beyond Bactria into Afghanistan and the Punjab. But he was confronted with a rival, Eucratides, who deprived him of his Bactrian dominion and extended his kingdom into Gandhara. Demetrius was succeeded in Afghanistan and the Punjab by Pantaleon and Agathocles. Then their kingdom passed to Menander I Soter, Milinda of the Indian tradition, recorded in the Milinda Panha (Questions of Menander). Menander I was the most powerful king amongst the Indo-Bactrians (Indo-Greek). He not only ruled over the kingdom that extended into Gandhara and the Punjab, but is also credited with having led an expedition deep into the Gangetic valley. He had perhaps appointed a few sub-king to assist him in the administration of his kingdom. Polyxenus and Epander are particulary named amongst them. After the death of Eucratides and Menander I Soter, the history of the Indo-Bactrian (Indo-Greek) rulers is confused.

          Gold coins for the first time are heard of during this period. They were issued by Diodotus, Eucratides and Euthydemus; but they were confined to Bactria and were never issued in India. A few gold coins were issued by Menander I Soter, they may be the eariest gold coins issued on the soil of India. These, and all of the other ruler named before, issued their coins mostly in silver and copper.

This was one of the earliest issues of Alexander the great struck in Egypt and it is the predecessor of all subsequent Ptolemaic coinage. These early issues are well known because of their outstanding style.

The following article from NGC

Deceptive Countefeit: The Electrotype | NGC

Posted on 5/1/2007

Skip Fazzari explains how to spot the insidious electrotype counterfeit coin.

Skip Fazzari, NCS Authenticator and Senior Conservator

One of the most difficult types of counterfeit coins to detect with the naked eye is the electrotype. Since some of these fakes can look quite good even under low magnification, it is important to be diligent. Once you have been fooled by one of these coins, in addition to a close microscopic exmination, you may want to start checking the weight and specific gravity of your important coins.

An electrotype is a copy of a coin made using a process similar to electroplating. Usally, the counterfeiter makes a copy of the genuine coin that he can work with so as not to ruin the original. There are several ways to do this. While modern fakes probably use spark erosion techniques to make their models, most electrotypes we see at the grading services were produced many years ago when a simple wax impression of a genuine coin was sufficient as a starting point. The wax model is coated with a metallic powders such as graphite or copper and then it is electroplated. This process allows a thin layer of metal to be built up on the surface of the model. When the coating becomes thick enough, it's separated from the wax form leaving a hallow shell bearing the details of one side of the original coin. A second shell is made of the coin's other side in the same way. Finally the two halves are joined together and the hallow center is filled with metal to give the electrotype the "feel" of a solid coin.

Most of the electrotypes I have encountered over the years have been copper coins, chiefly Large cents, Half cents, and Colonials. In some instances, the base metal interior of an electrotype can be seen as its outer shell becomes worn. This is one instance that detecting electrotype fake can be done with the naked eye but your findings should be confirmed by other tests because toning, especially on silver coins, can mimic this effect. Usually, collectors and dealers who have access to a balance may confirm that a coin is an electrotype by taking its weight and specific gravity, which are offen out of tolerance to that of a genuine coin. But here again, there are rare exemptions to this, so be careful and have important coin check by NGC.

There are several other diagnostics to look for if you suspect that a coin may be an electrotype. Perhaps the first thing to look for is evidence of a seam around the edge of the coin where the two halves were joined together. This will usally appear as a very thin, dark line running through the center of the edge. The micrograph show such a seam. In some cases, the faker will try to eradicate this seam or at least make it less noticeable by filing or burnishing its edge. When a model is produced from the original coin, a wax impression in the example above, some of the sharp detail of the coin is lost during the transfer process. This may give the relief of an electrotype, especially its legend and date, a rounded, bloated look when compared to that of a genuine coin. Additionally, any defects that were created in the mold during the transfer process to make the electrotype and any contact marks or scratches on the original coin used as a model may appear on the fake if not "touch-up" by the faker.

This article previously featured in Numismatic News.