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Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt

After Alexander the Great's death, Egypt was administered by Ptolemy, one of his friends and generals. In 305 B.C. Ptolemy crowned himself king, establishing one of the most important and flourishing Hellenistic monarchies. The culture was a complex mixture of Egyptian and Greek traditions, best represented by the famous city of Alexandria. As all other Hellenistic kingdoms, Egypt suffered a slow decline in parallel with the mighty rising of Rome, and it's end witnessed the great story of Queen Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony.


Hellenistic Greek, Bronze Relief Ring Fragment, Eastern Mediterranean, 3rd - 1st Century B.C.

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This bronze ring fragment is very similar to the referenced ring fragment in the British Museum (click here to see it online).
AS84167. cf. BM Collection 1917.0501.1267 (very similar ring fragment), bezel complete, 22.1 x 16.1, obverse high relief portrait of a woman facing left, draped and wearing her hair in a bun at the back (perhaps a Ptolemaic queen, either Berenike II or Arsinoe II); $360.00 (€306.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Magas in Kyrene, c. 277 - 249 B.C.

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Magas was the stepson of Ptolemy I, the son of Berenice I, and half-brother to Ptolemy II. In 276 B.C., he crowned himself King in Kyrene, married the daughter of Antiochos I and invaded Egypt with his Seleukid allies. The Seleukid army was defeated by Ptolemy II and Magas faced an internal revolt of Libyan nomads. Still, Kyrene remained independent as long as he lived.
GB65215. Bronze obol, Svoronos 324; Noeske 112; SNG Cop 431; SNG Milan 443; Malter 54; BMC Ptolemies p. 76, 14; Weiser -, VF, weight 7.158 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene mint, c. 277 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy right; reverse ΠTOΛEM BAΣIΛ MAΓ, horizontal winged thunderbolt, monogram above; rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros), 2nd Reign, 88 - 80 B.C.

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Ptolemy IX Lathyros was king of Egypt three times with intervening periods ruled by his brother, Ptolemy X Alexander. His first reign ended when his mother and co-regent Cleopatra III claimed that he tried to kill her and replaced him with Alexander, her favorite son. Ptolemy IX, replaced the gold sarcophagus of Alexander the Great with a glass one and melted the original to strike gold coinage. The citizens of Alexandria were outraged and he was killed soon after.
GP84839. Bronze AE 34, Svoronos 1696 (only 1 specimen), SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Hosking -, Noeske -, Malter -, Cox Curium -, F, dark green patina, porous, reverse a little off center, irregular flan with pre-strike casting sprues, weight 16.863 g, maximum diameter 33.7 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot mint, c. 87 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, two eagles standing left on thunderbolt, petasos with diadem and straps (control symbol) left; extremely rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom; Ptolemy IX, 2nd reign, 88 - 80 B.C.; or Ptolemy XII, 1st reign, 80 - 58 B.C.

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The Paphos II finds were excavated at the House of Dionysos in Paphos.
GP84889. Bronze hemiobol, Paphos II 383 - 385, otherwise unpublished, gVF, weight 1.996 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 88 - 58 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned bust of Zeus Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, single cornucopia bound with fillet; rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Paphos, Cyprus

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This type is the smallest denomination issued by the Ptolemaic Kingdom, and among the last coins struck. It has been re-attributed to Cleopatra VII by Matt Kreuzer. Three examples of this tiny coinage were found at the House of Dionysos, the Ptolemaic bronze coin mint discussed in Paphos II. One was found in room LXXXIII, along with sixty-two quarter obols. A second was found in Well 11, along with fifteen more quarter obols. The third was a single find, near a late Roman coin. The Romans last issued this denomination under Nero, when it was marked with an E for five drachmai.
GP85369. Bronze 1/8 obol, Svoronos 1246 (Ptolemy V), Paphos II 170, Weiser -, Noeske -, Hosking -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, Cox Curium -, Bank of Cyprus -, Tziambazis -, F, dark green patina, earthen deposits, light scratches, weight 0.946 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, Paphos mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse winged fulmen (thunderbolt); reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left, head left, wings closed; rare; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy V Epiphanes, 204 - 180 B.C.

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In "Le Tresor de Gezeir (lac Mariout, Alexandrie)" in Revue Numismatique 2006, T. Faucher and M. Shahin attribute this type to Ptolemy IX. Their attribution is based in part on the ΣΩ monogram referring to the epithet of Ptolemy IX Soter II. This same monogram is, however, found on silver and gold coins from early in the reign of Ptolemy V, where it may refer to the chief minister Sosibius. Sosibius appears to have had complete control of the administration under Ptolemy IV. Under the young Ptolemy V Epiphanes, Sosibius assumed the guardianship but in conjunction with his rival insidious Agathokles. In time, Agathokles supplanted Sosibius and had him put to death.
GP85476. Bronze obol, Svoronos 1191 (Ptolemy IV, Cyprus, 219 B.C.), Weiser 114 (Ptolemy V, Tyre), SNG Cop 534 (Ptolemy V), Noeske 187 (same), Cohen DCA 35 (same), VF, tight flan, some areas of weak strike, central dimples, weight 9.267 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Phoenician mint, 203 - 202 B.C.; obverse horned head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin, K behind; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEOΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head left, Ω over Σ left, LΓ (regnal year 3) right; rare; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VI Philometor, 180 - 145 B.C., Reverse Brockage

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A brockage occurs when a blank is struck with a previously struck coin which adhered to the opposite die. Click here to read a detailed explanation.
GP85469. Bronze quarter obol, Svoronos 1408, Weiser -, SNG Cop -, Noeske -, Hosking -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, Tziambazis -, VF, reverse brockage, edge cracks, weight 1.793 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, Cyprus, uncertain mint, c. 176 - 170 B.C.; obverse incuse of reverse (normal obverse is diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right); reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, eagle standing left on fulmen (thunderbolt), wings closed, lotus in left field; scarce error; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander I and Kleopatra Berenike, 101 - 88 B.C.

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Alexander was the son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III. In 110 B.C., his mother deposed his brother Ptolemy IX and he became king with his mother as co-regent. In 109 B.C., Ptolemy IX took back the throne but in 107 B.C. Alexander again became king with his mother as co-regent. In 101 B.C., he had his mother killed, and then ruled with his niece and wife, Berenice III. When he died, Ptolemy IX regained the throne. When Ptolemy IX died, Ptolemy X's wife Berenice III took the throne for six months.
GP85356. Bronze didrachm, Svoronos 1712, Weiser 181, Cox Curium 113, SNG Cop -, Malter -, Noeske -, Hosking -, VF, edge crack, beveled obverse, flan casting sprues, weight 20.056 g, maximum diameter 35.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, c. 100 - 90 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus-Ammon right, wearing tainia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, two eagles standing left on thunderbolt, heads left, wings closed, no symbol; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Judaea (Yehudah), Ptolemaic Rule, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Ptolemy II requested copies of Jewish texts for the Library at Alexandria. There they were translated and transcribed by seventy Jewish scholars hired for the purpose, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Many of the oldest Biblical verses among the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly those in Aramaic, correspond more closely with the Septuagint than with the Hebrew text.
SH54977. Silver Meshorer TJC 32; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 21, 24; Hendin 1087, gF, weight 0.192 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem(?) mint, 285 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right; reverse eagle standing half left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, Aramaic YHDH (Yehudah) on left; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander, c. 116 - 80 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

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This is an unusual ancient counterfeit with a Cypriot style portrait of Zeus Ammon. The central "dimples" on this counterfeit type were actually cut into the dies and struck into the flan. On the official coins the "dimple" resulted from a production process and was not a feature of the dies. This is the third specimen of this counterfeit type known to Forum.
GP84120. Bronze AE 21, cf. Svoronos 1698 (official mint), VF, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, pre-strike casting sprue remaining, struck imitations of centration dimples, weight 5.201 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial Cypriot mint, c. 116 - 80 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus Ammon right, central "dimple"; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, two eagles standing left on thunderbolts, side by side, heads left, wings closed, cornucopia left, central "dimple"; $115.00 (€97.75)
 










REFERENCES

Brett, A. "Dated coins of Ptolemy V, 204 - 180 B.C." in ANSMN 2 (1947), pp. 1 - 11.
Brooks, E. "The overstruck coinage of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 6 (1954), pp. 69 - 84.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Cox, D. Coins from the Excavations at Curium, 1932-1953. ANSNNM 145. (New York, 1959).
Hazzard, R. Ptolemaic Coins: An Introduction for Collectors. (Toronto, 1995).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Hill, G. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Cyprus. (London, 1904).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Jenkins, G. "An early Ptolemaic hard from Phacous" in ANSMN 9 (1960), pp. 17 - 37.
Kreuzer, M. The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII, Marc Antony and Augustus in Cyprus. (Springfield, MA, 2004).
Malter, J. The Coinage of Ancient Egypt, Auction II, February 23 and 24, 1978. (Encino, CA, 1978).
Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Michaelidou, L, ed. Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage, Coin Catalogue. (Nicosia, 1996).
Michaelidou, L. & E. Zapiti. Coins of Cyprus, From the Collection of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation. (Nicosia, 2008).
Mildenberg, L. "Yehud: A Preliminary Study of the Provincial Coinage of Judaea" in Essays Thompson.
Mørkholm, O. "Cyprus Hoard, 1982" in NC 147 (1987), pp. 156 - 158.
Mørkholm, O. Early Hellenistic Coinage. From the Accession of Alexander to the Peace of Apamea (336-188 BC). (Cambridge, 1991).
Mørkholm, O. "Ptolemaic coins and chronology: The dated silver coinage of Alexandria" in ANSMN 20 (1975), pp. 7-24.
Mørkholm, O. "The Ptolemaic 'coins of an uncertain era'" in Nordisk Numismatisk Arskrift 1975 - 1976, pp. 23 - 58.
Mørkholm, O. "The last Ptolemaic silver coinage in Cyprus" in Chiron 13 (1983), pp. 69-79.
Nicolaou, I. Paphos II. The Coins from the House of Dionysos. Department of Antiquities Cyprus. (Nicosia, 1990).
Noeske, H-C. Die Münzen der Ptolemäer. (Frankfurt, 2000).
Pitchfork, C. The Jon Hosking Collection of Ptolemaic Coins. Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney. (Sydney, 2000).
Poole, R. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, the Ptolemies, Kings of Egypt. (London, 1882).
Price, M. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Robinson, E. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Greek Coins of Cyrenaica. (London, 1927).
Svoronos, J. Ta Nomismata tou Kratous ton Ptolemaion. (Athens, 1904-08).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (New Jersey, 1994).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Coltrane Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 1: Ptolemaei. (Milan, 1989).
Weiser, W. Katalog Ptolemäischer Bronzemünzen der Sammlung des Instituts für Altertumskunde, Universität Köln. (Opladen, 1995).
Visona, P. "A Hoard of Ptolemaic Bronze Coins in the the J. Paul Getty Museum" in J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 6 - 7 (1978 - 1979), pp. 153 - 162.
Wolf, D. & C. Lorber. "Syracusan Imitations of the Bronze Diobols of Ptolemy II Philadelphus" (19 March 2009).
Wolf, D. & C. Lorber. "The 'Galatian Shield without [monogram]' Series of Ptolemaic Bronze Coins" in NC 171 (2011).
Zervos, O. "The early tetradrachms of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 13 (1967), pp. 1 - 16.

Catalog current as of Sunday, December 17, 2017.
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Ptolemaic Egypt