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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 Silver tetradrachm, apparently unpublished and unique!, VF, weight 13.234 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, as King of Cyprus, year 27, 91 - 90 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of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; $1810.00 (€1610.90)
 


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

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After the death of Ptolemy II in late January 246 B.C., the remainder of his year 39 became year 1 of Ptolemy III. Coins of this year are known in gold and silver from most Ptolemaic mints; however, all are rare.
GS77851. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 1024 (1 spec.), BMC Ptolemies -, Weiser -, Noeske -, Malter -, SNG Milan -, VF, marks and scratches, weight 14.142 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, late Jan - 28 Aug 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, ΣI over ∆I left, A (year 1) upper right; very rare; $750.00 (€667.50)
 


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

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Huge bronze! The largest of all Ptolemaic bronze coin types.
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; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


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; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


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

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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.
GP83655. Bronze drachm, Svoronos 992; Weiser 60 (Ptolemy III, 247 - 243 B.C.); SNG Cop 205; SNG Milan 216, Noeske 147, Hosking 36, BMC Ptolemies p. 74, 71 (Ptolemy V), VF, very heavy flan, heavier than any of the 30 examples listed by Svoronos for this type, light corrosion, centration dimples, weight 81.980 g, maximum diameter 44.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 221 - 204 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, ΣE monogram between eagle's legs; a massive 82 gram Ptolemaic bronze!; $200.00 (€178.00) ON RESERVE


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; $190.00 (€169.10)
 


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; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


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

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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.
GP83551. Bronze drachm, Svoronos 1125; Noeske 140 ff.; SNG Cop 199; Weiser 49 (Ptolemy II, 253 - 249 B.C.); BMC Ptolemies p. 57, 106 ff. (Ptolemy III); Hosking -, aVF, weight 63.564 g, maximum diameter 40.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 221 - 204 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, ∆I between eagle's legs; a massive Ptolemaic bronze!; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


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

Click for a larger photo
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.
JD35537. Silver cast dolphin, Meshorer TJC 32; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 21, 24; Hendin 1087, aVF, weight 0.157 g, maximum diameter 6.8 mm, die axis 90o, Judaea, 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; FORVM paid $190 wholesale!; rare; $150.00 (€133.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, August 28, 2016.
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Ptolemaic Egypt Greek Coins