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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Provincial ▸ Roman EgyptView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Provincial Coins of Egypt

From Augustus' conquest until Diocletian's monetary reforms, Egypt maintained a separate currency. Hoard evidence indicates that when crossing into Egypt all imperial coinage had to be exchanged for Egyptian and when leaving all Egyptian coinage had to be exchanged for imperial coinage. Coins are dated according to the Egyptian year which began on 29 August, or 30 August following a leap year. The Egyptian tetradrachm was officially valued at one denarius.


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Portrait of Galba

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This type was struck at the beginning of Vespasian's reign. The portrait resembles Galba because it was struck before the mint had a portrait of the new Emperor.

In Greek mythology, Nilus was a son of Oceanus and Tethys. He was the god of the Nile River, equivalent to the Egyptian god Hapy.
RX85349. Bronze hemidrachm, Dattari 396, Geissen 271, BMC Alexandria p. 32, 269; Emmett 211 (R4), F, dark glossy surfaces, scratches, light encrustations, weight 12.426 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, Jul 69 - 28 Aug 69 A.D.; obverse AYT TIT ΦΛAYIO YEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ, laureate head right, portrait resembling Galba; reverse bust of Nilus right, wreathed with papyrus, cornucopia on left shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; very rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Lot of 32 Mostly Roman Provincial, Mostly Alexandria, Egypt

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LT85411. Bronze Lot, Lot of 32 coins, mostly Alexandria, mostly tetradrachms, mostly 3rd century A.D., average F, $320.00 (€284.80)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Ancient Counterfeit

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J. G. Milne wrote in 1933, "There are scarcely any counterfeits or forgeries of Alexandrian coins in existence, other than those made in modern times." This is an ancient counterfeit Alexandrian tetradrachm of Nero struck with unofficial dies shared with counterfeit coins published by William Metcalf in "Two Alexandrian Hoards." The first of the two hoards, a "Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor" was acquired by E. T. Newell at Luxor in March, 1908. The American Numismatic Society Collection includes 76 pieces from the hoard. The counterfeits were probably struck c. 138 A.D., the date of the latest official prototype imitated in the hoard. The die combination of our coin is upublished.
RX85240. Billon tetradrachm, Metcalf Two, part 1. A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor, Obv. IV / Rev. 8 (unlisted die combination); cf. Dattari 246, RPC I 5293 (official, Alexandria), VF, attractive dark toning, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 13.386 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, unoffical counterfeiter's mint, c. 138 A.D.; obverse NEo KΛΛV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEPM, radiate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVTO KPΛ, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Roma right, L IΓ (year 13 = 29 Aug 66 - 28 Aug 67 A.D.) to right; very rare; $580.00 (€516.20)
 


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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This variety with a simpulum on the reverse is much rarer than the same type without this control symbol. RPC reports only 5 specimens with the simpulum and 17 specimens without it. This variety is missing from the important collections in Cologne, Paris, and Milan, and we know of only one example offered at auction in the past two decades (CNG 76, 12 Sep 2007, lot 3152, VF, $430 plus fees).
RP84748. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 359; RPC I 5354 (5 spec.); Dattari 327; BMC Alexandria p. 25, 208; Curtis 238; Kampmann 18.6; Emmett 184; Geissen -; SNG BnF -; SNG Milan -, F, toned, light encrustations, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, weight 12.583 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, LA (year 1) lower right; reverse EΛEY-ΘEPIA, Eleutheria (Liberty) standing left, wreath in extended right hand, scepter in left hand, leaning with left elbow on column, simpulum (ladle used for tasting and pouring sacrificial libations) left in lower left field; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $500.00 (€445.00)
 


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 26, 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1300.00 (€1157.00)
 


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Coins with these types were struck by the Alexandria mint in Claudius' year 2 with weights ranging from under 4 grams to over 12 grams. They may have been issued with the denominations diobol, obol, dichalkon, and chalkon. It is often difficult to know which denomination was intended and the references seem to share our confusion.
RX84561. Bronze obol, RPC I 5124, Dattari 164, BMC Alexandria 96, Kampmann-Ganschow 12.10, Milne 71, SNG Milan 628, Emmett 91, VF, green patina, slightly rough areas, weight 5.335 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Sep 41 - 28 Sep 42 A.D.; obverse TI KΛAY KAI CE ΓEPMA (or similar), laureate head right, star below chin; reverse AYTOKPA, hippopotamus standing right, LB (year 2) in exergue; ex Agora auction 52, lot 113; rare; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 290, Diocletian and Maximian met in Milan, on the five-year anniversary of their rule, to discuss politics and war. Rome had become only the ceremonial capital of the Empire.
RX84179. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5947, Geissen 3313, Milne 4988, Curtis 2099, SNG Cop 1044, SNG Hunt 4932, SNG Milan 2256, BMC Alexandria 2577, Kampmann 120.50, Emmett 4148.6, VF, well centered on a tight slightly ragged flan, reverse a little flat, some spots corrosion, weight 7.323 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 290 - 28 Aug 291 A.D.; obverse MAΞIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Nike flying left, wreath in right hand, palm over shoulder in left, S over L (year 6) left, star right; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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About 287, Diocletian assumed the title Iovius and Maximian assumed the title Herculius. The titles were symbolic of their roles: Diocletian-Jove was dominant, responsible for planning and commanding; Maximian-Hercules had the heroic role of completing assigned tasks. Despite the symbolism, the emperors were not actually worshiped as the gods Jupiter and Hercules in the imperial cult. Instead, they were seen as the gods' instruments, imposing the gods' will on earth.
RX84180. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5907; Milne 4980; SNG Cop 1041; BMC Alexandria p. 328, 2547; Kampmann 120.49; Emmett 4130.6; Geissen -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Milan -, VF, well centered on a tight flan, weight 7.838 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 290 - 28 Aug 291 A.D.; obverse MAΞIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse Herakles standing facing, nude, Nike offering wreath in right hand, grounded club in left hand, Nemean lion's skin draped over left arm, S over L (year 6) lower left, star upper right; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In Gaul in 288, Maximian constructed a Roman fleet to fight Carausius, king of Britain. In 289 he attempted to reconquer Britain but lost the new fleet due to bad weather. He was forced to accept a peace treaty.
RX79898. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4881; SNG Hunterian 4916; SNG Cop 1027; SNG Milan 2247; Kampmann 120.30; Emmett 4147.3; Dattari 5958 var.; Geissen 3296 var. (all var. AKMO...), VF, well centered, light marks and corrosion, weight 9.387 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 287 - 28 Aug 288 A.D.; obverse A K M A OYA MAΞIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Nike flying right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, L - Γ (year 3) across fields, star right; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 273, Aurelian increased Rome's daily bread ration to nearly 1.5 pounds and added pig fat to the list of foods distributed free to the populace.
RX84118. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5489, Geissen 3083, Milne 4426, Curtis 1781, SNG Milan 1977, SNG Cop 879, SNG Hunter 4781, BMC Alexandria 2360, Kampmann 106.40, Emmett 3924, gVF, nice brown chocolate surfaces, well centered on a tight flan, weight 7.685 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 273 - 28 Aug 274 A.D.; obverse A K Λ ∆OM AYPHΛIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse eagle standing slightly left, head turned back right, tail right, wings open, wreath in beak, ETOVC E (year 5) upward on left; $70.00 (€62.30)
 










REFERENCES

Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Curtis, J. The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt. (Chicago, 1957).
Dattari, G. Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Cairo, 1901).
Emmett, K. Alexandrian Coins. (Lodi, WI, 2001).
Geissen, A. Katalog alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen, Köln. (Cologne, 1974-1983).
Kampmann, U. & T. Ganschow. Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria. (Regenstauf, 2008).
Milne, J. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933).
Milne, J. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933), pp. 125 - 130.
Pool, R. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Alexandria. (London, 1892).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Savio, A. ed. Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Trieste, 2007).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values. (London, 1978 - ).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (New Jersey, 1994).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 4: Alexandria I, Augustus - Trajan. (Zurich, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 2: Octavianus Augustus - Lucius Verus. (Milan, 1991).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 3. Commodus - Galerius Caesar. (Milan, 1992).

Catalog current as of Friday, June 23, 2017.
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Roman Provincial Egypt