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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Geography| ▸ |Egypt||View Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of Ancient Egypt

Please see the Macedonian Kingdom, Ptolemy I, Satrap of Egypt, 323 - 305 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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In 332 B.C., Alexander the Great marched into Egypt, where he was regarded as a liberator and crowned pharaoh in the Temple of Ptah at Memphis. On either 10 or 11 June 323 B.C., Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32. While Alexander's funeral cortege was on its way to Macedonia, Ptolemy I stole Alexander's body and carried it to the heart of the Temple of Ptah, where he had him embalmed by the priests. Alexander's body was laid in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus that was filled with honey, which was in turn placed in a gold casket. Ptolemy claimed that the king himself had officially expressed a desire to be buried in Egypt. More likely, he was motivated by the custom that kings in Macedon asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Ptolemy II later transferred Alexander's sarcophagus to Alexandria, where a royal tomb was constructed. Ptolemy X Alexander replaced Alexander's gold sarcophagus and casket with glass and stuck coins with the gold. The exact location of Alexander's tomb has been lost.
SH68257. Gold stater, Svoronos 11, Price 3975, Mller Alexander 6, SNG Cop 643, EF, weight 8.554 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Egypt, Memphis mint, reign of Philip III, c. 323 - 316 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right wearing earring, necklace, and crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a coiled snake, hair in ringlets; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike standing left, wreath in right hand, stylus in left, thunderbolt left, small ∆I at feet on left; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 215, lot 775; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C.

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Cleopatra VII originally shared power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brother-husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Her relationship with Julius Caesar led to sole rule. After Caesar's assassination, she aligned with Mark Antony. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
SH91436. Bronze diobol, Svoronos 1871; Weiser 183; Noeske 380; SNG Cop 419; SNG Milan 428; BMC Ptolemies p. 123, 4; Hosking 166 (obol); Malter 284; SGCV II 7955, Choice VF, well centered, attractive red-brown toning, a little weakness in strike, weight 19.907 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 50 - 31 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra right, with characteristic melon coif hairstyle; reverse KΛEOΠATPAΣ BACIΛICCHC (Queen Cleopatra), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, cornucopia left, Π (80 drachms) right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

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An apparently unique tetradrachm with the Akko mintmark and the two letters perhaps associated with Sosibius, advisor to Ptolemy IV.

Ptolemy IV's surname Philopator means father lover, ironic since according to some authorities he poisoned his father. Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria. He was a cruel and evil monarch.
SH64462. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 786 (Ptolemy II, different monogram), SNG Milan -, SNG Cop -; BMC Ptolemies -, Noeske -, Hosking -, VF, weight 13.792 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Galilee, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 205 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, ΠTο monogram at left, retrograde ΣΩ right; perhaps unique; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Use of the title "King" suggests a date before 261 B.C. The style of the portrait is that of mid-reign of Ptolemy II, and unlike and finer than those of the Phoenician mints. The portrait style and compact lettering are similar to those on the rare ΘE mintmark coins, probably struck at Thera, an Aegean base for the Ptolemaic Navy. A dolphin mintmark was used on Alexander tetradrachms from an unknown Greek or Macedonian mint. Perhaps this coin was struck in the same uncertain Greek city.
SH66538. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished(?), not in references held by Forum and no examples found online, VF, reverse graffiti, weight 14.083 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Greek(?) mint, c. 265 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right with aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, dolphin left before; ex Pegasi, unpublished, puzzling and possibly unique; SOLD

Macedonian Kingdom, Egypt, Ptolemy I, as Satrap, 323 - 305 B.C., Portrait of Alexander

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Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's generals, was appointed Satrap of Egypt in 323 B.C. In 305 B.C. he took the title king and established the Ptolemaic dynasty.
SH54895. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 146, SNG Cop 18, SGCV II 7749, gVF, scratches, weight 15.644 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Egypt, Alexandria mint, 323 - 305 B.C.; obverse Alexander the Great, head right, wearing elephant skin headdress and aegis, ∆ before elephant's ear; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Athena Alkidemos advancing right, holding shield and brandishing javelin; monogram to left, two monograms and eagle in right field; a couple old light scrapes on obverse and a "Z" graffiti on reverse, ex Kirk Davis, attractive old toning; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy VI Philometor, 180 - 145 B.C.

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Ptolemy VI became king in 180 B.C. at the age of about 6 and ruled jointly with his mother, Cleopatra I, until her death in 176 BC. From 170 to 164 B.C., Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy, his sister-queen and his younger brother Ptolemy VIII Physcon. In 170 BC, the Seleukid King Antiochus IV invaded and was even crowned king in 168, but abandoned his claim on the orders from Rome. In 164 Ptolemy VI was driven out by his brother. He went to Rome and received support from Cato, and was restored the following year. In 152 BC, he briefly ruled jointly with his son, Ptolemy Eupator, but his son probably died that same year. In 145 B.C. he died of battle wounds received against Alexander Balas of Syria. Ptolemy VI ruled uneasily, cruelly suppressing frequent rebellions.
SH85287. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 1489, SNG Cop 262, Noeske 192, Malter 221, Boston MFA 2290, Weiser -, Hosking -, SNG Milan -, Choice EF, well centered, bold strike, superb portrait, toned, weight 14.032 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 180 - 164 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed; ex Forum (2011); SOLD

Marcus Junius Brutus, Most Famous of Caesars Assassins, 44 - 42 B.C.

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This type, traditionally attributed to an otherwise unknown Dacian or Sythian king Koson, was struck by Brutus, c. 44 - 42 B.C., with gold supplied by the Senate to fund his legions in the Roman civil war against Mark Antony and Octavian. The obverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Brutus in 54 B.C. depicting his ancestor L. Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic. The reverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Pomponius Rufus in 73 B.C. The meaning of the inscription "KOΣΩN" is uncertain. KOΣΩN may have been the name of a Dacian king who supplied mercenary forces to Brutus, or BR KOΣΩN may have been intended to mean "[of] the Consul Brutus."
SH85674. Gold stater, BMCRR II p. 474, 48; RPC I 1701A (Thracian Kings); BMC Thrace p. 208, 1 (same); SNG Cop 123 (Scythian Dynasts), Choice gVF, full circles strike, mint luster, weight 8.378 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, 44 - 42 B.C.; obverse Roman consul L. Junius Brutus (traditional founder of the Republic) in center, accompanied by two lictors, KOΣΩN in exergue, BR (Brutus) monogram left; reverse eagle standing left on scepter, wings open, raising wreath in right talon; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246 - 222 B.C.

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This coin and a single gold octadrachm (Troxell, ANSMN 28, p. 52, 36) are the only Ptolemy III coins struck at Ake-Ptolemais in year six known to Forum. On both coins it appears the reverse die was re-engraved from a year five die, with traces of the partially effaced E (year 5) under the C (year 6). DNW sale A14 (10 Apr 2013), lot 627 is a year five tetradrachm that shares the same obverse die. It seems very few coins were struck at Ake-Ptolemais in year six, perhaps only a few trial strikes.
GP87336. Silver tetradrachm, apparently unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1038 (year 5, only 1 spec.), EF, excellent portrait, light bumps and marks, tight flan, weight 14.126 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 0o, Galilee, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 29 Aug 242 - 28 Aug 241 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ (Ptolemy Savoir), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, (Ptolemais monogram) over (control) before, C (year 6) engraved over E (year 5) above Θ (control) in right field; perhaps unique!; SOLD

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy IX Lathyros, Reign as King of Cyprus, 101 - 88 B.C.

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Ptolemy IX Lathyros ("grass pea") was king of Egypt three times, 116 B.C. to 110 B.C., 109 B.C. to 107 B.C. and 88 B.C. to 81 B.C., with intervening periods ruled by his brother, Ptolemy X Alexander. When this coin was struck Ptolemy IX ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy X in Egypt.

Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coins from this time period. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Serifs also appear on a very rare Kition tetradrachm of this ruler. They appear on the K behind the head of Arsinoe II on the latest of the octadrachms. The heavy-set portrait compares well to MFA 59.51, and not so well to images of Ptolemy I.
SH72904. Silver tetradrachm, apparently unpublished and unique!, VF, weight 13.234 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, as King of Cyprus, year 27, 91 - 90 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy IX right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LKZ (year 27) before, ΠA mint mark behind, all letters with serifs; ex Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger, auction 303 (25 Sep 2014), lot 2880; SOLD

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

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The only other specimen known to Forum is in Berlin, published by Vogt in Die Alexandrinischen Mnzen in 1924.

Likely the first type struck for Hadrian at Alexandria. Similar rare (R4) Alexandria tetradrachms commemorate Trajan's deification with ΘEO TPAIANOC on the reverse. Our coin, however, uses a lifetime Trajan legend.

Both Rome and Alexandria struck coins to commemorate Trajan's deification. An extremely rare aureus from Rome is similar to our coin in that it bears a Trajan's lifetime legend and portrait (RIC 1). This aureus is believed to be the first coin type struck at Rome during Hadrian's reign, just as we believe our coin was the first type struck at Alexandria. Hadrian's succession was not perfectly smooth; many doubted that Trajan had actually selected Hadrian as his heir. Perhaps these coins were intended to create the impression they were struck while Trajan was still alive, giving credibility to the succession.

The coin is dated year two. Regnal years at Alexandria began on 29 August. Hadrian's first "year" was only a few weeks long and no coins were struck dated year one.
SH41150. Billon tetradrachm, Vogt II p. 40; Dattari - (cf. 1247, ΘEO TPAIANOC...); SRCV II - (cf. 3888, same); Emmett - (cf. 899 (R4), same); Milne -; BMC -; Geissen -, aVF, weight 12.455 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 117 - 28 Aug 118 A.D.; obverse [AYT KAIC TPAIANOC] A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate bust right, star in front; reverse AVT TPAIAN API CE ΓEPM ∆AKIK ΠA, laureate bust of Trajan right wearing aegis, date L - B across fields; 2nd known; SOLD


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