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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.


Roman Provincial Egypt, Terracotta "Coin Mold," c. 316 - 320 A.D.

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Some call these counterfeiter's molds. However, Malloy notes on his tag for this specimen, "Originally thought to be molds for producing coins, now it is thought that these terracotta impressions themselves were used as a crude medium of exchange."
RX85456. Unofficial pseudo coin used for small change, VF, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, c. 316 - 320 A.D.; obverse retrograde impression of: IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head of Galerius right (obverse of Galerius follis, c. 308 A.D.); reverse retrograde impression of: IOVI CONSER-VATORI AVGG, Jupiter standing facing, head left, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle left at feet on left, K above eagle on left, wreath over X over A right in right field, ALE in exergue (reverse of Alexandria mint follis, 316 - 317 A.D., RIC VII Alexandria 17 - 19); $300.00 (€267.00)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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RPC notes that a worn specimen of this type "has recently turned up in a small hoard of bronzes from Syria, which otherwise had nothing later than AD 121/2." Prior to that date, only Augustus and Tiberius ruled long enough to issue coins dated year 21 and RPC suggests attribution to Augustus. We disagree. Year 21 of Augustus was seven years before his first dated coins. Tiberius ruled long enough, but the Alexandria mint stopped striking bronze in his year six. Trajan died on 8 or 9 August of his 20th year. In Alexandria, Trajan's 21st year would have begun on 29 August 117. We believe this type was struck after 29 August 117, in the few days before the mint was informed of his death. The short period explains the great rarity. After the mint was informed of Hadrian's accession, they changed the reverse type to the Apis bull right and the date to L B, year 2 of Hadrian.
RX85457. Bronze dichalkon, RPC I 5111 (5 spec.), Dattari 50, BMC Alexandria 2629, Kampmann A.5, Emmett 4260 (R5 for year 20, a misreading of year 21), Geissen -, F, irregular underweight flan, date weak, weight 0.810 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, posthumous, 29 Aug - early Sep 117 A.D.; obverse ibis right; reverse crocodile right, L KA (year 21); very rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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

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The object on Serapis' head is sometimes described as a modius, a grain container, or as a polos, a high cylindrical basket-like woven crown. Poloi are normally worn by female deities but perhaps is worn by Serapis to indicate his all-encompassing nature. In "The symbolical language of ancient art and mythology: An inquiry," Richard Knight identifies this object as the seed-vessel of the lotus plant.
RX84811. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 160, Milne 222, RPC I 5274, Dattari 251, BMC Alexandria 156, Kampmann 14.77, Emmett 133 (R1), VF, tight flan, light marks, porous, edge cracks, strike a little flat, weight 12.309 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 64 - 64 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, date LI (year 10) right; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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

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Year nine is spelled out (ENAT) instead of expression with the numeral theta (T). Theta was used as an abbreviation for Thanatos (death) and used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times. It survives on potsherds used by Athenians voting for the death penalty. Also, after a funeral "Nine Days of Sorrow" were solemnly observed by the Roman family. Romans avoided the use of theta, as we avoid the use of the number 13 today.
RX84806. Bronze diobol, RPC II 2459; Dattari 370; Geissen 309; BMC Alexandria p. 32, 272; Kampmann 20.68; Emmett 215 (R1), F, a little off center, porous, edge cracks, weight 6.484 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 76 - 28 Aug 77 A.D.; obverse AVTOKP KAIΣAPOC OVEΣPACI-ANOV, laureate head right; reverse ΣEBAΣTOV L ENAT (year 9), draped bust of Alexandria right, wearing elephant skin headdress; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Athena is seen here with her frequent companion Nike.
RX85512. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3237, Milne 4851, Curtis 1963, BMC Alexandria 2484, SNG Cop 988, Dattari 5633 var. (legend break), Kampmann 119.43, Emmett 4028, F, light corrosion, weight 8.507 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 287 - 28 Aug 288 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYA ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right, resting left hand on shield, L∆ (year 4) lower left; $32.00 (€28.48)
 


Lot of 32 Mostly Roman Provincial, Mostly Alexandria, Egypt

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When we take photos of bulk lots the coins on top are completely random. We don't pick the best or most interesting and put them on top. The best coin(s) might be on the bottom.
LT85411. Bronze Lot, 32 coins, mostly Alexandria, mostly tetradrachms, mostly 3rd century A.D., average F, unattributed, no tags or flips, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $320.00 (€284.80)
 


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)
 


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; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


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; $80.00 (€71.20)
 










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, September 22, 2017.
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Roman Provincial Egypt