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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.


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

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In 62 A.D., Lucan wrote a history of the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey.
RX86146. Bronze obol, RPC I 5263; Dattari 278/279; Geissen 149; BMC Alexandria 179/180; Milne 207; Kampmann-Ganschow 14.67, F, old scratch on obverse, reverse rough, edge cracks, weight 5.661 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 61 - 62 A.D.; obverse NER KLAY KAI CEB GEP, laureate head right; reverse AYTO KPAT, Roma standing half left, patera in right hand, shield and spear in left hand, LH (year 8) lower left; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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

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In ancient times, Alexandria was one of the world's most famous cities, known for its lighthouse (Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and its library (the largest in the ancient world). Founded around 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great, it was Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 A.D.
RP85906. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 204, Geissen 172, Milne 238, Kampmann-Ganschow 14.88, BMC Alexandria 163, RPC I 5289, SRCV I 2004, Emmett 109, VF, toned, flan flaw on each side, areas of corrosion, weight 11.750 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 65 - 28 Aug 66 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY, radiate bust right wearing aegis; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Alexandria right wearing elephant-skin headdress, LIB (year 12) right; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


A Catalogue of the Roman Provincial Coins from the Alexandrian Mint in the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria

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A result of a long-term Egyptian-Swiss-German collaboration. Contains 2689 coins of the Roman emperors Octavianus/Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius and Nero (30 B.C. - A.D. 68).
BK12757. A Catalogue of the Roman Provincial Coins from the Alexandrian Mint in the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria by Hans-Christoph Noeske, Vol 1: The issues of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty (30 BC - AD 68), 220 pages, hardcover, new in wrapper; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


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 (€85.00)
 


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 (€68.00)
 


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; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


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 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; $1170.00 (€994.50)
 


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 (€51.00)
 


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 (€68.00)
 


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); $70.00 (€59.50)
 










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 Thursday, December 14, 2017.
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Roman Egypt