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Roman Provincial Coins from 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.


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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The goddess Kratesis, whose attributes are a Nike and a trophy, is neither Victory nor Virtus, the two Roman types she most resembles. She is the goddess of Roman strength and authority.
RP84744. Billon tetradrachm, RPC I 5361; Geissen 249; Dattari 328; Milne 366; Curtis 239; BMC Alexandria 210; SNG BnF 690; SNG Cop 158; SNG Milan 766; Kampmann 18.7; Emmett 185, VF, dark toning, well centered on a tight flan cutting off part of legends, weight 13.280 g, maximum diameter 23.9 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 KPA-TH-ΣIΣ, Kratesis standing facing, head left, wearing chiton, Nike offering wreath in her extended right hand, trophy of captured arms in her left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; very rare; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00 ON RESERVE


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; $45.00 (€40.05)
 


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)
 


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

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Variations of this type are listed with the longer A K M A OYA... obverse legend, and either without a star, with a star left or with a star upper right on the reverse.
RX84178. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5861, Geissen 3279, Milne 4795, SNG Milan 2023, SNG Hunt 4904 var. (no star), BMC Alexandria 2551 var. (star l.), Kampmann 120.8, Emmet 4113, VF, nice portrait, nice surfaces, tight flan, weight 7.262 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 1 Apr 286 - 28 Aug 286; obverse A K M OYA MAΞIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Eirene standing half left, raising olive branch in right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, L - A (year 1) across fields, star upper right (on edge of flan); $80.00 (€71.20)
 


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

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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RX79881. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5715; Milne 4857; SNG Milan 2184; SNG Hunterian 4872; BMC Alexandria p. 325, 2519; Kampmann 119.48; Emmett 4064.4; SNG Cop -; Geissen -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, some die wear and damage, edge crack, some light corrosion, weight 7.641 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 287 - 28 Aug 288 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYA ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Nike advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder, ∆ over L (year 4) on right; $60.00 (€53.40)
 










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.W. 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. G. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933).
Pool, R. S. 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 (Egypt), Part 2: Octavianus Augustus - Lucius Verus. (Milan, 1991).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus (Egypt), Part 3. Commodus - Galerius Caesar. (Milan, 1992).

Catalog current as of Sunday, April 30, 2017.
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Roman Egypt