Numismatic and History Discussions > Books and References

Books on Roman Egyptian Coins?

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68. Zoëga, Georg: Numi Aegyptii Imperatorii Prostantes In Museo Borgiano Velitris (1787)

This is the earliest Alexandrian catalog, listing the Borgiano museum collection along with coins found in all the collections/books prior to 1787. It is written in Latin. In general, the reverse directions are not given, even for the Borgiano specimens. It identifies the items held in each hand of the reverse type described. Mionnet obviously copied a lot of information from this book for his books. When citing Zoëga, Mionnet failed to look at the engraved plates, which provide additional information, such as the direction of the reverse type. For example, plate 14 shows a drachm of Commodus Caesar of year 19: Helios standing right in quadriga, holds whip and globe— not the Geissen 2201 "Helios in quadriga left", which is likely Selene or Eos holding torch?

It has an early bibliography of 50+ books that were consulted.

It has 22 engraved plates of the coins in the Borgiano museum.

Available at googlebooks as well as a print to order book by Kessingers (via Amazon). Price is about $29.

It is a very important book and worth purchasing.


Iwaniw mentions above:

"48. von Sallet, Alfred. Die Daten der Alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen. Berlin 1870.

This is an extremely rare book to locate. Its purpose is to document all the regnal dates in which Alexandrian coins were issued. It cites a few extremely rare coins to support some of the dates. It is dated but still has some useful information."

I would add that von Sallet's short book (pp. 102) is still most valuable for determining what range of regnal dates appear on the Alexandrian coins of each emperor and empress, and what chronological conclusions may be drawn from that evidence.

Von Sallet also gives a valuable and critical appraisal of all important works on Alexandrian coinage published prior to 1870. I like the following praise of Mionnet, contrasted to the unreliable Sestini: (my translation from the German)

"Sestini's listing of the dates that appear on Alexandrian coins is worthless to the historian, because it almost always includes all of the uncertain and inadequately attested dates reported by unreliable sources.

"Mionnet's Description stands in sharp contrast to Sestini's misleading writings. A diplomatic precision, attentiveness, and reliability characterize all parts of Mionnet's work, including the sections on Alexandrian coins. Mionnet's authority for all coins, and especially for Alexandrian coins, is unrivaled, far exceeding that of Zoega and Eckhel, as far as accuracy in describing the coins and reporting their dates is concerned. Of course the gigantic task that Mionnet undertook, which one would have thought would exceed the powers of a single author, left him no time to investigate chronological questions and their relationship to the dates that appear on Alexandrian coins. Therefore he did make the occasional small error, for example taking over from other works dates which are historically impossible, without doubting their accuracy, though always naming the source. But in general it can be said that Mionnet's Description is the most accurate and reliable numismatic work that has ever been written."

And this, regarding the usefulness of dealers' lists and auction catalogues:

"As a rule the lists and catalogues published in Germany are very poor and totally useless, whereas those from England, and particularly the most recent ones from France, are diligent and accurate. These recent French publications, for example the Dupré, Gréau, and Laborde catalogues, have been equipped with outstanding plates and are reference works of lasting value."

jon gress:
von Sallet, Die Daten der Alexandrinischen Kaisermünzen is available online at:

69. French collection: Bibliothèque nationale de France is available on line:

There are instructions on-line on how to search for items, but here's some quick help.

1. On home page, go to the bottom of the page and click on the "C" to the right of Gallica.

2. Put:  Alexandrie monnaie      in the search field along with the name of the ruler, in French.

3. Select items to view and press Voir ..  to see items.

4. I have had problems figuring out how to easily view the next 20 items, so I just back click to first 20 items list, deselect all items, then go to page 2, select next 20, etc.

5. Pictures can be downloaded. For some reason, I had to later resave the jpeg/jpg in my photo editing program (as jpeg/jpg) in order to combine the two images.

The French collection is listed in Mionnet, along with other collections. The errors in the French collection have not all been corrected, which is actually helpful in determining the Mionnet specimen that is cited in the French collection.

**Note that some coins are incorrectly placed under other rulers, so it is very easy to miss locating them.

*** Use these search strings to locate the nome coins:

Monnaie d'Égypte (nômes)

Monnaie d'Égypte (nôme)

The Trajan nomes issues were not put in the SNG France Trajan part.

It's an important collection.


I would like to advertise the Alexandria part of my gallery, in case you have not seen it:

You will find 16 different types of Alexandrian Otho coins there - the drachm, one of the ten tetradrachms and one of the two obols are missing. Not a book, but useful for seeing the types and the variation in weights etc within denominations.

Jyrki Muona


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