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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Greek Imperial| ▸ |Egypt||View Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Provincial Coins from Egypt

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.


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The sparse references for this type do not note the strong resemblance of the reverse figure to Antinous, as found on this example. We were unable to find even a single plate example of this type from this year to determine if other examples bear the same resemblance to Antinous.

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 founded a city in his honor. 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.
SH17103. Bronze drachm, Emmett 986, year 18: cf. BMC Alexandria p. 91, 770 (year 19), Choice VF, weight 23.873 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, regnal year 18, 133 - 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIANA A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse bust of Antinous as Hermanubis right, diadem and modius ornamented with lotus on head, bare chest, himation on back, L - IH, palm right; very rare; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The only other specimen known to Forum is in Berlin, published by Vogt in Die Alexandrinischen Münzen in 1924.

Likely the first type struck for Hadrian at Alexandria. Similar rare (R4) Alexandria tetradrachms commemorate Trajan's deification with ΘEO TPAIANOC on the reverse. Our coin, however, uses a lifetime Trajan legend.

Both Rome and Alexandria struck coins to commemorate Trajan's deification. An extremely rare aureus from Rome is similar to our coin in that it bears a Trajan's lifetime legend and portrait (RIC 1). This aureus is believed to be the first coin type struck at Rome during Hadrian's reign, just as we believe our coin was the first type struck at Alexandria. Hadrian's succession was not perfectly smooth; many doubted that Trajan had actually selected Hadrian as his heir. Perhaps these coins were intended to create the impression they were struck while Trajan was still alive, giving credibility to the succession.

The coin is dated year two. Regnal years at Alexandria began on 29 August. Hadrian's first "year" was only a few weeks long and no coins were struck dated year one.
SH41150. Billon tetradrachm, Vogt II p. 40; Dattari - (cf. 1247, ΘEO TPAIANOC...); SRCV II - (cf. 3888, same); Emmett - (cf. 899 (R4), same); Milne -; BMC -; Geissen -, aVF, weight 12.455 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 117 - 28 Aug 118 A.D.; obverse [AYT KAIC TPAIANOC] A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate bust right, star in front; reverse AVT TPAIAN API CE ΓEPM ∆AKIK ΠA, laureate bust of Trajan right wearing aegis, date L - B across fields; 2nd known; SOLD


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Zodiac Type - Jupiter in Sagittarius

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This coin is from the Zodiac series issued during year eight of the reign of Antoninus Pius, described by Emmett as "one of the more remarkable iconographic programs in the entire scope of Greek or Roman coinage. Jupiter is associated with luck and good fortune. According to alwaysastrology.com, those born with Jupiter in Sagittarius attract good luck as long as they are generous, tolerant and practice what they preach. If you would like to see if you were born with Jupiter in Sagittarius (or another sign), click here to visit alwaysastrology.com.
RP72129. Bronze drachm, cf. RPC Online IV 14873; Dattari 2972; Dattari-Savio Suppl. pl. 19, 148; Geissen 1502; Milne 1822; BMC Alexandria p. 128, 1087; Emmett 1692/8, aF, nice reverse, obverse rough, weight 20.668 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 144 - 28 Aug 145 A.D.; obverse AUT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNEINOC CEB EVC, laureate (and draped?) bust right; reverse Zodiac type - Jupiter in Sagittarius: laureate bust of Zeus (Jupiter) right above a centaur (Sagittarius) leaping right and drawing bow, a star above centaur's head, L H (year 8) below; last sale for this type on Coin Archives was in 2010; very rare; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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SH26920. Bronze drachm, Emmett 912(19), Geissen 1159 f. var. (date arrangement), BMC 813 var. (same), Choice gVF, weight 27.308 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, year 15, 134 - 135 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC, laureate and draped bust right; reverse L ENNEA/K•∆, bull Apis right, crescent on side, disk between horns, altar in front; very rare; SOLD


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 137 - 138 A.D.(?)

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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. Perhaps the date on this coin is year eight of an era beginning with the founding of Antinoopolis.

The date on our coin is not clear but is probably L - H, which is the same as the referenced coins. The Geissen tessera is about half the size of our example. The Dattari coin is 21mm but there is no image in Dattari or Savio to verify if it is the same or similar to our tessera.
SH90378. Lead tessera, cf. Dattari 6445, Geissen 3579 (3.54g), Emmett 4357 (R5), Milne -, Blum -, SNG Milan -, SNG Cop -, aVF/F, rough, weight 6.888 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 30 Oct 137 - 29 Oct 138 A.D.(?); obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing Hemhem crown, date (L - H?) across fields; reverse bust of Serapis right, Kalathos on head, date (L - H?) across fields; extremely rare; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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SH26921. Bronze drachm, Geissen 1145 var. (date placement), Emmett -, Milne -, Choice gVF, weight 22.567 g, maximum diameter 35.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 135 - 136 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Serapis reclining left on eagle standing, wings spread, eagle looking left, date LIH across fields (year 18); extremely rare; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Chalkis, Syria

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Chalkis, Syria was one of the cities Cleopatra received from Marc Antony in 36 B.C.
SH30347. Bronze tetrachalkon, RPC I 4771, Svoronos 1887, SNG Cop 382, aVF, some smoothing, weight 5.416 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse BACIΛICCIC KΛE−OΠATPAC, diademed bust of Cleopatra VII right; reverse ETOYC KA TOY KAI v ΘEAC NEWTEPAC, bare head of Mark Antony right; rare; SOLD


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 137 - 138 A.D.(?)

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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. Perhaps the date on this coin is year four of an era beginning with the founding of Antinoopolis.
SH90379. Lead tessera, cf. Geissen 3583, Dattari 2093, Emmett 4290 (R5), Milne -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, aVF, weight 5.023 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis(?) mint, c. 30 Oct 133 - 29 Oct 134 A.D.(?); obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing lotus crown, crescent-nimbus before, Nike on globe behind crowning him; reverse bust of Horus right, draped and wearing the double crown of Egypt, date L - ∆(?) across fields; very rare; SOLD


Vespasian and Titus, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The dating of this issue is a bit difficult because none of these coins seem to have perfectly clear numerals. But since Vespasian likely did not assume the title of Augustus during his first Alexandrian year, the option of a Year A date falls, and we are left with options Year B or Year ∆. One specimen in the BM is described as ∆ but RPC II assigns these coins to Year B.
SH29276. Silver tetradrachm, RPC II 2416, Dattari 345, gVF, weight 11.066 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 - 70 A.D.; obverse AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY, laureate head of Vespasian right, date LB in front; reverse T ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIANOΣ KAIΣ , laureate head of Titus right; rare; SOLD


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 153 A.D., there were minor uprisings in Egypt against Roman rule.
SH90303. Bronze drachm, Dattari / Savio 2824 (same dies), Geissen 1718 (same dies), Kampmann-Ganschow 35.613, Emmet 1650, Milne -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, SNG Cop -, VF, rough green patina, edge cracks, weight 23.635 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 153 - 28 Aug 154 A.D.; obverse AYT K T AIΛ A∆P − ANTΩNINOC CEB EYC, laureate head left, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse bust of Serapis right wearing kalathos, eagle standing facing with spread wings below, a star flanking bust on each side, I / L-Z (year 17) flanking eagle below wings; ex CNG auction 237 (21 Jul 2010), lot 239; ex Jencek Historical Enterprise; rare; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Blum, G. "Numismatique D?Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Curtis, J.W. The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt. (Chicago, 1957).
Dattari, G. Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Cairo, 1901).
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/
Savio, A. ed. Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Trieste, 2007).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values. (London, 1978 - ).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (New Jersey, 1994).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 4: Alexandria I, Augustus - Trajan. (Zurich, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus (Egypt), Part 2: Octavianus Augustus - Lucius Verus. (Milan, 1991).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus (Egypt), Part 3. Commodus - Galerius Caesar. (Milan, 1992).

Catalog current as of Monday, October 14, 2019.
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Roman Egypt