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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.


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Alexandria Troas, Troas

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The representation of the decurions of Alexandria depicted on the reverse of this type is unique within the Roman provincial series. The decurions were members of municipal senates responsible for procuring funds for new public works, festivities and games, as well as for welfare networks. Their fiscal responsibilities also extended to the collecting of imperial taxes, for which they were expected to cover any shortfalls.
RP87204. Bronze AE 22, RPC IX 432 (12 spec.); Bellinger A409; SNG Çanakkale 376; BMC Troas p.27, 145; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, reverse slightly off center, tiny encrustations, some legend weak, edge cracks, weight 4.586 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP C VIBI TRIBO GALLVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse The curia decurionum of Alexandria in session: nine men wearing togas seated in a semicircle, two outer men seated on curule chairs, two in center holding short staffs, AVG above, two steps below, ALEXAND on upper step, decorative pattern on lower step, TROADA in exergue; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), lot 429; very rare; $1450.00 (€1232.50)
 


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; $1050.00 (€892.50)
 


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

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $580.00 (€493.00)
 


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to “enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle.” Dio, 51.16:5. “In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus” dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. “Eusebius of Caearea, “Historia Ecclesiastica,” books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD.” The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX86734. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102, Dattari 2009, Milne 1436, SNG Cop 391, SNG Milan 1114, BMC Alexandria 811, Kampmann 32.610, Emmett 1114/18, F, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, scratches, edge cracks, weight 7.579 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull standing right on ground line, altar to right, L IH (year 18) above; scarce; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


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

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In 110, the Forum of Trajan was constructed in Rome by the Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
RX79999. Bronze drachm, Milne 621; Geissen 551; Dattari 765; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.316; BMC Alexandria p. 61, 510; Emmett 462, Fair, weight 21.827 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 215o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 110 - 28 Aug 111 A.D.; obverse AYT TPAIAN CEB ΓEPM ∆AKIK, laureate head right; reverse Trajan in slow quadriga of elephants right, laurel-branch in right hand, standard in left, L I∆ (year 14) above; ex Forum (2012); $145.00 (€123.25)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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RS73963. Silver tetradrachm, Dattari 2141/2143; Milne 1927; Geissen 1562; Curtis 571/572; Kampmann 35.384; Emmett 1358/11; BMC Alexandria -, F, inscriptions partially unstruck and off flan, weight 14.284 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 147 - 28 Aug 148 A.D.; obverse ANTWNEINOC CEB EYCEB (clockwise from upper right), laureate head right; reverse L EY∆EKATOY (year 11), Apollo Didymaios (Milesios) standing facing, laureate, nude, small stag in extended right hand, bow in left at side; scarce; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Aelius, Caesar, July or August 136 - 1 January 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 136, Aelius was adopted by an aging and ailing Hadrian and made caesar, successor to the throne. He had no military experience but had served as a senator and had powerful political connections. He was known for luxurious taste, an extravagant lifestyle, but also poor health. He was never to become emperor, dying before Hadrian, on 1 January 138.
RX85959. Bronze hemidrachm, Geissen 1273, Dattari 2078, Milne 1546, Kampmann 34.5; RPC III 6234, SNG Cop 420, SNG Milan 1212, Emmett 1352 (R3), aF, toned bare metal, porous, minor edge flaking, edge crack, weight 8.833 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 137 - 1 Jan 138 A.D.; obverse Λ AIΛIOC KAICAP, bareheaded and draped bust right; reverse ∆HM EΞOYC YΠAT B (tribunicia potestate, consul 2nd time), Homonoia enthroned left, phiale in extended right hand, her left arm resting on throne's armrest, cornucopia at right side of throne, OMONOIA in exergue; scarce; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provinicial Egypt

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Commemorates Hadrian's arrival in Egypt in 130 AD. Alexandria kissing the emperor's hand to welcome him in her city!
RX79844. Bronze drachm, Dattari pl. 75, 1610; Milne 1315; Geissen 1034; BMC Alexandria 870; Kampmann-Ganschow 32.509; Emmett 964; SRCV II 3716, Fair, scratches, weight 25.224 g, maximum diameter 33.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 130 - 131 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI TPAI A∆PIA CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right with aegis; reverse Alexandria (or Africa), wearing elephant-skin headdress, steps right towards the emperor, grasps and kisses his right hand, wheat ears and poppy in her left hand, he is togate with scepter in left; L - I E (left and middle field); huge 34 mm bronze!; $95.00 (€80.75)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
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Dattari, G. Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Cairo, 1901).
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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).
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 Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
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Roman Provincial Egypt