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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.
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
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 26, 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; reversebust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1300.00 SALE PRICE $1170.00
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Ancient Counterfeit
J. G. Milne wrote in 1933, "There are scarcely any counterfeits or forgeries of Alexandrian coins in existence, other than those made in modern times." This is an ancient counterfeit Alexandrian tetradrachm of Nero struck with unofficial dies shared with counterfeit coins published by William Metcalf in "Two Alexandrian Hoards." The first of the two hoards, a "Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor" was acquired by E. T. Newell at Luxor in March, 1908. The American Numismatic Society Collection includes 76 pieces from the hoard. The counterfeits were probably struck c. 138 A.D., the date of the latest official prototype imitated in the hoard. The die combination of our coin is upublished.RX85240. Billontetradrachm, Metcalf Two, part 1. A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor, Obv. IV / Rev. 8 (unlisted die combination); cf. Dattari 246, RPC I 5293 (official, Alexandria), VF, attractive dark toning, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 13.386 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, unoffical counterfeiter's mint, c. 138 A.D.; obverse NEo KΛΛV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEPM, radiatebust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVTO KPΛ, helmeted and cuirassedbust of Roma right, L IΓ (year 13 = 29 Aug 66 - 28 Aug 67 A.D.) to right; very rare; $580.00 SALE PRICE $522.00
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
This variety with a simpulum on the reverse is much rarer than the same type without this control symbol. RPC reports only 5 specimens with the simpulum and 17 specimens without it. This variety is missing from the important collections in Cologne, Paris, and Milan, and we know of only one example offered at auction in the past two decades (CNG 76, 12 Sep 2007, lot 3152, VF, $430 plus fees).RP84748. Billontetradrachm, Milne 359; RPC I 5354 (5 spec.); Dattari 327; BMC Alexandria p. 25, 208; Curtis 238; Kampmann 18.6; Emmett 184; Geissen -; SNG BnF -; SNG Milan -, F, toned, light encrustations, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, weight 12.583 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, LA (year 1) lower right; reverse EΛEY-ΘEPIA, Eleutheria (Liberty) standing left, wreath in extended right hand, scepter in left hand, leaning with left elbow on column, simpulum (ladle used for tasting and pouring sacrificial libations) left in lower left field; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00
Roman Egypt, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D.
Both the obverse and reverse types on this tessera are published but the combination does not appear to be published. Nor did we find another example online. According to Milne, lead tesserae served as local small change in Egypt during the first to the third century A.D.
Euthenia is the Greek personification of abundance or plenty. To the Romans she was Abundantia. Her attributes are grain and the cornucopia. On Roman coins of Alexandria she often appears to be the spouse of the Nile; yet, in the Egyptian pantheon Euthenia did not exist and the Nile had no consort.RX90574. Lead tessera, Unpublished; cf. Dattari 6444 and Geissen 3584 (for obversetype) and Dattari 6493 and 3575 (for reversetype), VF , weight 5.107 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 270o, Alexandria(?) mint, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D. (possibly later); obverseAntinous on horseback right, wearing hem hem crown, caduceus in right hand; reverseNilus reclining left on crocodile right below, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, reeds in his right hand, cornucopia in left; before him at his feet stands Euthenia (prosperity) wearing chiton and peplos, offering wreath held in right hand; extremely rare; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00
Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.
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; reverseSerapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00
Salonina, Augusta 254 - c. September 268 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Tyche (Greek for luck; the Roman equivalent was Fortuna) was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. Increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities had their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown (a crown like the walls of the city).SH66838. Billontetradrachm, Dattari 5342; Geissen 2982; Kampmann-Ganschow 91.47; SRCV III 10716; BMC Alexandria p. 2266; Milne 4140, Choice aEF, weight 11.345 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 266 - 28 Aug 267 A.D.; obverse KOPNHΛIA CAΛWNEINA CEB, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges and in plait looped below ear; reverseTyche reclining left on couch, kalathos on head, rudder in right hand, LI∆ (year 14) above; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00
Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.
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; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Coins with these types were struck by the Alexandria mint in Claudius' year 2 with weights ranging from under 4 grams to over 12 grams. They may have been issued with the denominations diobol, obol, dichalkon, and chalkon. It is often difficult to know which denomination was intended and the references seem to share our confusion.RX84561. Bronze obol, RPC I 5124, Dattari 164, BMC Alexandria 96, Kampmann-Ganschow 12.10, Milne 71, SNG Milan 628, Emmett 91, VF, green patina, slightly rough areas, weight 5.335 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Sep 41 - 28 Sep 42 A.D.; obverse TI KΛAY KAI CE ΓEPMA (or similar), laureate head right, star below chin; reverse AYTOKPA, hippopotamus standing right, LB (year 2) in exergue; ex Agora auction 52, lot 113; rare; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Numerian, February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.RX72854. Billontetradrachm, Dattari 5611; Milne 4724 var. (unbroken legend); Kampmann 114.9; BMC Alexandria p. 320, 2467 var. (no star); Geissen 3195 var. (same), Choice VF, highlighting patina, weight 8.197 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 29 Aug 283 - 28 Aug 284 A.D.; obverse A K M A NOVM-EPIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseNike advancing right wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, L - B (year 2 of Carus) divided across field, star in right field; rare; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00
Roman Egypt, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D.
Both the obverse and reverse types on this tessera are published but the combination does not appear to be published. Nor did we find another example online. According to Milne, lead tesserae served as local small change in Egypt during the first to the third century A.D.RX74430. Lead tessera, Unpublished; cf. Dattari 6444 and Geissen 3584 (for obversetype), F, weight 3.300 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria(?) mint, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D. (possibly later); obverseAntinous on horseback right, wearing hem hem crown, caduceus in right hand; reversebust of Serapis(?) right, kalathos (?, on head), cornucopia on shoulder behind, snake entwined staff before; extremely rare; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
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Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Curtis, J.W. The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt. (Chicago, 1957).
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Emmett, K. Alexandrian Coins. (Lodi, WI, 2001).
Geissen, A. Katalog alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen, Köln. (Cologne, 1974-1983).
Kampmann, U. & T. Ganschow. Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria. (Regenstauf, 2008).
Milne, J. G. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933).
Pool, R. S. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Alexandria. (London, 1892). RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
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Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
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