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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ North Africa ▸ EgyptView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Egypt

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, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 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; $940.00 (€799.00)
 


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

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In 226 B.C., Rhodes suffered an earthquake which damaged and destroyed much of the city. The Colossus of Rhodes snapped at the knees and fell. Polybius records aid promised by Ptolemy III: "300 talents of silver, a million artabas of wheat, timber for the construction of ten quinqueremes and ten triremes, consisting of 40,000 cubits of squared pine planking, 1,000 talents of bronze coinage, 3,000 talents of tow, 3,000 pieces of sail-cloth, 3,000 talents for the repair of the Colossus, 100 architects with 350 workmen, and fourteen talents every year for their wages, and in addition 12,000 artabas of wheat for competitions and sacrifices, and 20,000 for the supplying of ten triremes. Most of this he gave at once, as well as a third of the money promised." This unpublished coin shares the style of an issue struck by mints across Phoenicia, with some of the coins dated year 23. Morkholm has identified the king as Ptolemy III, and the date as 225 - 224 B.C. Prior to this issue, Ptolemy III had last struck silver tetradrachms in 243 B.C. The unusual need for new silver coinage after 17 years was almost certainly to finance his generous gifts to Rhodes.
SH82654. Silver tetradrachm, Unpublished, cf. Svoronos 701 (control monogram), VF, bumps, marks, and scratches, obverse die wear, tight flan, reverse slightly off center, graffiti (E+?) in reverse right field, weight 14.115 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 225 - 224 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, Tyre monogram over club left, monogram (control symbol) right; very rare; $670.00 (€569.50)
 


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; $520.00 (€442.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander I, 109 - 110 B.C., as King in Cyprus

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This coin was struck at Kition when Ptolemy X ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III ruled in Egypt. On the death of Ptolemy VIII, Cleopatra was given the option of which son to declare co-ruler. While she would have preferred Ptolemy X, she was pressured by politics to select Ptolemy IX. Her younger son ruled on Cyprus. Later she would depose Ptolemy IX in favor of her favorite, Ptolemy X.

The attribution to Ptolemy X as King in Cyprus is made mostly by process of elimination. The debased silver eliminates Ptolemy I to VI as possibilities. Ptolemy VIII coins have a very different style for Kition Year 5. Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coin types. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Similar tetradrachms in the Paphos I Hoard shows that these must have been minted before the hoard was lost in ~97 B.C. Also, the heavy-set portrait resembles the marble head of Ptolemy X (Boston Museum of Fine Arts 59.51) and differs from the usual images of Ptolemy I.
GP88097. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1767 - 1768, VF, porous rough surfaces, flan cracks, weight 12.913 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kition mint, 110 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LE (year 5) before, KI (Kition mintmark) behind, year and mintmark letters with serifs; ; no other specimen known; $350.00 (€297.50)
 


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

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We might expect the K on the reverse right to indicate regnal year 20. BMC Ptolemies notes, however, the title ΣΩTHPOΣ (savior) did not appear on the coinage until Ptolemy II's regnal year 25. On some very similar specimens, it is not just a K but instead a KE ligature (), which has been interpreted to mean year 25. Svoronos describes this type (Sv 723) with a KE ligature but the plate coin actually looks like a plain K. It seems likely that a KE ligature was intended but for some specimens it was not correctly engraved or not fully struck.
SH82655. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Milan 142 (same rev. die); cf. Svoronos 723 (ligate KE); BMC Ptolemies p. 29, 55 (same); SNG Cop 509 (same), Weiser -, Noeske -, aVF, test marks, obverse a little off center, bumps and scratches, graffito on reverse before eagles neck, weight 13.808 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 261 - 260 BC; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ, eagle standing on thunderbolt left, ΣI over ∆I inner left, K inner right; ex Bertolami Fine Arts e-auction 57 (Mar 2018), lot 46; ex Pavlos Pavlou Collection; rare; $340.00 (€289.00)
 


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

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Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. He promoted the translation of Jewish scriptures into Greek as the Septuagint. Due to a falling out at the Seleucid court, his eldest sister Berenice Phernophorus was murdered along with her infant son. In response, he invaded Syria, occupied Antioch, and even reached Babylon. This war, the Third Syrian War, is cryptically alluded to in Daniel XI 7-9.
GP85912. Bronze trihemiobol, Svoronos 1005; SNG Cop 644; Weiser 107; BMC Ptolemies p. 52, 57; SNG Milan 199; Weber 854; McClean 9789; Noeske -; Hosking -, VF, dark patina, well centered, some red earthen deposits, porosity/light corrosion, central dimples, weight 17.135 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 0o, Salamis mint, c. 204 - 202 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), cult statue of Aphrodite standing facing on base, wearing polos, chiton and peplos, right arm across breast, left arm downward away from side; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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

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Most finds of this type are from Bulgaria, suggesting a mint in Thrace. This type is found both with and without central depressions, indicating it was struck both before and after the coinage reform of 265 B.C., after which central depressions (dimples) became a feature of Ptolemaic coinage. This example is pre-reform.
GP86417. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos 351, SNG Cop 100, SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Noeske -; BMC Ptolemies -; Malter -, aVF, obv. die break from nose to edge, rev. well centered on a tight flan, bumps, marks, corrosion, lacking central depressions, weight 5.472 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain (Thracian?) mint, pre-reform, 265 B.C.; obverse veiled and diademed bust of Arsinoe II right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on fulmen (thunderbolt), head left, wings open, ∆I over (AX monogram) left; see CNG e-auction 92 (23 Jun 2004), lot 64, for another specimen with the same obverse die break; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

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In 305 B.C., Demetrius Poliorcetes besieged Salamis and defeated Ptolemy's navy off the coast. Demetrius offered lenient terms and Ptolemy's brother, Menelaus, surrendered the city. After this victory, Demetrius declared himself a King. Ptolemy also declared himself a King. This coin has the usual Ptolemaic hemiobol types, with the title BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) visible. It is overstruck over a bronze of Demetrios Poliorketes with helmeted head of Demetrios Poliorketes right obverse (under the reverse of our coin) and prow reverse (under our obverse). Ptolemy struck this coin at Salamis after he re-took Cyprus in 294 B.C. Both Ptolemy I and Demetrios died in 283 B.C. Demetrios died in captivity, imprisoned by Seleukos.
GP87139. Bronze hemiobol, SNG Cop 43 (X, also overstruck, perhaps with same undertype); Svoronos 163; BMC Ptolemies 8, 69; under-type: Newell 20; SRCV II 6775, VF, nice green patina, strong undertype effects, weight 4.094 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Salamis mint, c. 294 B.C.; obverse deified head of Alexander the Great right with horn of Ammon, hair long; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left, head left, wings open, X or (AX monogram) over helmet in left field; extremely rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Physcon, Second Reign, 145-116 B.C.

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Similar to Svoronos 1424B, and presumably from the same period. This example is, however, overstruck on an older coin, has no visible symbol, and is lighter than normal for Sv 1424B. Perhaps it is an example of Sv 1424B with the double cornucopia on the reverse unstruck due to a filled die. However, the style seems a little different and overstruck examples of 1424B are unknown. Svoronos 1424B was struck at Alexandria. Matt Kreuzer believes this was struck on Cyprus. If this is a Cypriot issue, it is unpublished and possibly unique.
GP88095. Bronze AE 28, cf. Svoronos 1424B (Joint reign of Ptolemy VI and VIII, Alexandria); SNG Cop 308-310 (same), VF, well centered, dark patina, weak strike with flat areas, beveled obverse edge, central depressions, remains of pre-strike casting sprue, weight 17.222 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot(?) mint, c. 145 - 88 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus Ammon right with ram's horn, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, two eagles with closed wings standing left on two thunderbolts, no symbols; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


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; $140.00 (€119.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Monday, January 21, 2019.
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Egypt