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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Ptolemaic EgyptView Options:  |  |  |   

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.

Ptolemaic Kingdom, 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 Silver tetradrachm, apparently unpublished and unique!, VF, weight 13.234 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, as King of Cyprus, year 27, 91 - 90 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of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; $2250.00 (€1980.00)

Macedonian Kingdom, Ptolemy I, as Satrap in Egypt, 323 - 305 B.C.

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Ptolemy Lagides was a Macedonian general who, after Alexander's death, became the Satrap of Egypt under the nominal kings Philip III Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV. By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to preempt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took stole the body of Alexander. Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Thus began the long series of wars between the Diadochi, Alexander's successors. In 305, Ptolemy took the titles king and pharaoh, founding the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Ptolemaic Dynasty.
GP72061. Bronze hemiobol, Svoronos 172 (as king); BMC Ptolemies p. 8, 62 (295 - 284, Cyprus); SNG Cop 36; SNG Milan 5; Malter 21; Weiser -; Noeske -, VF, crowded flan, red and brown patina, weight 4.503 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 310 - 305 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of deified Alexander the Great right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY (no title, upward on left), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, apluster above helmet on left; ex Harlan Berk; scarce; $330.00 (€290.40)

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

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Huge bronze! The largest of all Ptolemaic bronze coins.
GP75643. Bronze octobol, Svoronos 446; Weiser 19; BMC Ptolemies p. 37, 158; SNG Cop 142; Noeske 64; Hosking 13; Malter 67, aF, weight 77.706 g, maximum diameter 46.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head turned back right, E between legs; $300.00 (€264.00)

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; $250.00 (€220.00)

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

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Ptolemais was a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was originally Accho, but was renamed Ptolemais under the rule of Ptolemy Soter.
SH75329. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 774; SNG Cop 470; BMC Ptolemies p. 33, 112; SNG Milan 116; Cohen DCA 19; Weiser -, Noeske -, Hosking -, Malter -, VF, nice portrait, well struck, uneven toning, weight 14.252 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 0o, Galilee, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 255 - 254 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, ΠT over ME monograms left, date AΛ (year 31) over Θ right; scarce; $225.00 (€198.00)

Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros) or Ptolemy X Alexander, c. 114 - 80 B.C.

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After Ptolemy VIII died in 116 B.C., Cleopatra III ruled with her mother Cleopatra II and son Ptolemy IX. In 110 B.C., she replaced Ptolemy IX as co-regent with her second son Ptolemy X. Ptolemy IX regained the throne in 109 but was again replaced in 107 B.C. In 101 B.C., Ptolemy X had his mother Cleopatra III murdered, and then ruled alone or with his niece and wife, Berenice III.
GP62519. Bronze AE 14, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1696 (1 spec., 35mm), Cox Curium 119 (25mm), Weiser -, Hosking -, Noeske -, Malter -, VF, weight 2.053 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, c. 114 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEOΣ, eagle standing left, pesatos(?) with diadem and straps left; possibly unique; $215.00 (€189.20)

Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy Nios under Ptolemy II, 268 - 259 B.C.

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Very rare and missing from most collections. Svoronos knew only the single BMC example, which he attributed to Ptolemy II and Ake-Ptolemais mint.

Ptolemy Nios was the son of Lysimachos and Arsinoe II, as well as the step-son and co-ruler of Ptolemy II from 268 - 259 B.C. He was removed from his co-regency after he rebelled in 259 B.C., but remained as ruler of Telmessos in Lycia until after 240 B.C.
GB64051. Bronze dichalkon, Svoronos 792, pl. XXV, 22 (Ake-Ptolemais); BMC Ptolemies p. 65, 29 (Ptolemy IV, Ptolemais); Ashton Fethiye -; Weiser -; Noeske -; Hosking -, SNG Cop -, VF, weight 5.044 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lycia, Telmessos mint, c. 260 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, tripod left, ΠTO right; very rare; $215.00 (€189.20)

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

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Svoronos 1149 is the same as Svoronos 1148 but with the addition of the countermark.

Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria.
GP72049. Bronze tetrobol, Hosking 42 (with c/m); Svoronos 1149 (same); SNG Cop 211 (same); BMC Ptolemies p. 75, 76 (same, Ptolemy V); Noeske 151 (no c/m); Weiser 97 (Pt. V), VF, weight 39.031 g, maximum diameter 38.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head turned back right, ΣE monogram between eagle's legs, rectangular cornucopia countermark; big 38 mm bronze; $200.00 (€176.00)

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.
GP75645. Bronze tetrobol, Svoronos 974, SNG Cop 224 - 226 (Ptolemy IV), Weiser 91 (Ptolemy IV), Noeske 155 (Ptolemy IV), Hosking 45 (Ptolemy IV), SNG Milan 246 (Ptolemy IV), VF, weight 42.461 g, maximum diameter 37.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 246 - 230 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing half left on fulmen, wings closed, head right, filleted cornucopia ascending behind from shoulder, E between legs; $200.00 (€176.00)

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 quarter ma'ah, 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; $195.00 (€171.60)




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Catalog current as of Wednesday, November 25, 2015.
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Ptolemaic Egypt Greek Coins