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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 X Alexander, as King of Cyprus, 113 - 105 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom,| |Ptolemy| |X| |Alexander,| |as| |King| |of| |Cyprus,| |113| |-| |105| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|NEW
Mørkholm in "The last Ptolemaic silver coinage in Cyprus" in Chiron 13 (1983), dated the last coinage of Ptolemy X from Paphos to his year 9 (106 - 105 B.C.). Svoronos 1757 was not addressed, presumably because the only specimen then known was not illustrated and was found in Alexandria. Matt Kreuzer attributes this coin as Svoronos 1757, struck for Ptolemy X as King of Cyprus at Paphos. If he is correct, this confirms that Paphos, like Salamis (see Svoronos 1784) and Kition (Mørkholm Cyprus pl. 2.11,12), was under the control of Ptolemy X at least early in his Year 10 (105 - 104 B.C.). Kreuzer notes specifically that this is not Svoronos 1671, Year 10 of Ptolemy IX (108 - 107 B.C.) at Alexandria, which has a different style including a perky nose.
GP96458. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 1757 (only 1 specimen known to Svoronos, and not in the plates), VF, areas of coppery corrosion and pitting, weight 12.840 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, c. late summer - autumn 105 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy X right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, LI (regnal year 10) left, ΠA right; extremely rare; $325.00 SALE |PRICE| $292.00
 


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.|, |AE| |29|NEW
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.
GP96452. Bronze AE 29, Svoronos 994/1151; SNG Cop 215; BMC Ptolemies p. 75, 73 (Ptolemy V, 193 - 181 B.C.); Weiser 98 (Ptolemy V, 204 - 202 B.C.); Hosking -; Noeske -, aEF, very attracitve toned bare metal surfaces, well centered, double struck obverse, beveled obverse edge, central depressions, weight 23.930 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 204 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, filleted double cornucopia on right shoulder, Σ or ΣE monogram between legs; scarce; $360.00 SALE |PRICE| $324.00
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII with Ptolemy XIII, 49 - 48 B.C., or with Ptolemy IV, 45 - 44 B.C.

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |with| |Ptolemy| |XIII,| |49| |-| |48| |B.C.,| |or| |with| |Ptolemy| |IV,| |45| |-| |44| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|NEW
This type was struck by Cleopatra VII with one of her brothers as co-ruler. Which brother is uncertain. If it was her brother Ptolemy XIII, the date would be 49/48 B.C. After Ptolemy XIII "accidentally" drowned in 48 B.C., Cleopatra married her even younger brother Ptolemy XIV. If this coin was issued in the name and with the regnal date of Ptolemy XIV as the male "senior" ruler, it would have been struck c. September 45 - June 44 B.C. Ptolemy XIV died in June 44 B.C., "allegedly" poisoned, soon after Cleopatra returned from Rome in the wake of Caesar's assassination. Cleopatra's next joint ruler was her son Ptolemy XV. From this point on the dates on coins seem to be for Cleopatra VII herself, though the legend remained Ptolemy King.
GP96455. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 1819; BMC Ptolemies p. 115, 6 (Ptolemy XIII, 78 - 77 B.C.); SNG Cop 400; SNG Milan 415 - 416; Hosking 136; Malter -, aVF, toned, porosity/light corrosion, marks, die wear, weight 11.556 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, obverse diademed head right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, date L∆ (year 4) over crown of Isis left, ΠA right; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00 ON RESERVE


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.|, |triobol|
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.
GP96510. Bronze triobol, Lorber CPE B494, Svoronos 1128, SNG Cop 203, SNG Milan 213, Weiser 52, Hosking 51, Noeske 146, Malter 155, Choice VF, well centered, some light corrosion, reverse center weakly struck, central depressions, beveled obverse edge, weight 31.538 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 340o, Alexandria mint, c. 221 - 219 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, ΛI between eagle's legs; $225.00 SALE |PRICE| $203.00
 


The Triumvirs, Mark Antony and Cleopatra, c. Autumn 34 B.C.

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |The| |Triumvirs,| |Mark| |Antony| |and| |Cleopatra,| |c.| |Autumn| |34| |B.C.|, |tessera|
This lead seal clearly copies the portrait of Cleopatra VII as represented on the denarius type RRC 543/1 - everything from the countenance of the face, the hairstyle, and the drapery matches closely. The seal is made to a much higher standard than is usual with lead tesserae - it may have been struck from an unknown coin die - and the presence of the caduceus may relate to the cult of Isis. -- Andrew McCabe
SH95312. Lead tessera, apparently unpublished, but cf. Crawford 543/1 for a similar portrait, VF, brown patina with touches of red, weight 6.491 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, c. autumn 34 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped female bust right (Cleopatra?), winged caduceus before; reverse blank; ex CNG e-sale 458 (18 Dec 2019), lot 305; ex Andrew McCabe Collection, ex Marc de Cock (Belgium); $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00
 


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

|Greek| |Domination|, |Judaea| |(Yehudah),| |Ptolemaic| |Rule,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.|, |quarter| |ma'ah|
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.
GS94086. Silver quarter ma'ah, Meshorer TJC 32; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 21, 24; Hendin 1087, VF, obverse off center, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 0.181 g, maximum diameter 6.7 mm, die axis 0o, 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; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.|, |hemiobol|
The First Syrian War broke out in 276, when Ptolemy II invaded Syria, seizing Damascus. Antiochus defeated the invasion and in 274 married his daughter to Ptolemy's half brother Magas, governor of Cyrenaica. Supported by Antiochus, Magas declared himself independent and invaded Egypt. Aided by a mutiny of Ptolemy's Gallic mercenaries he nearly reached Alexandria. Magas was forced to retreat when, encouraged by Arisnoe, Libya invaded Cyrenaica. In 274, Ptolemy went on the offensive and captured much of the Cilician coast. Antiochus was forced to admit defeat. Egypt gained western Cilicia, southern Lycia, Caunus, Halicarnassus, Myndus, Cnidus, probably Miletus, all of Phoenicia (including Tyre), and the Marsyas valley in Syria, but not Damascus.
GP89316. Bronze hemiobol, Lorber CPE B322, Svoronos 635 (1 spec.), SNG Cop 479, Cox Curium 75, aF, dark patina, weight 4.251 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, Tyre mint, c. 274 - 271 B.C.; obverse diademed, horned head of deified Alexander the Great right, long flowing hair; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings slightly open, Z over vertical club handle up in left field; from a New England collector; rare; $.99 (€.91)


Ptolemaic Kyrenaica, Ptolemy III Euergetes - Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, 246 - 116 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kyrenaica,| |Ptolemy| |III| |Euergetes| |-| |Ptolemy| |VIII| |Euergetes| |II,| |246| |-| |116| |B.C.|, |obol|
The fabric and style of this type varies considerably, indicating the type was likely struck over a long period.
GP93409. Bronze obol, Lorber CPE B487; Svoronos 871; Weiser 103; SNG Cop 443; BMC Cyrenaica p. 83, 44; SNG Milan 449, F, toned brass, dark fields, bumps and marks, central depressions, weight 7.712 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 245 - 140 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I Soter right, wearing aegis, central impression; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), head of Libya right, wearing tainia and necklace, hair in formal curls down neck, double cornucopia below chin, central impression; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00
 


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.|, |triobol|
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.
GP93832. Bronze triobol, Lorber CPE B494, Svoronos 1128, SNG Cop 203, SNG Milan 213, Weiser 52, Hosking 51, Noeske 146, Malter 155, gVF, attractive toned copper surfaces, well struck, flow lines, light marks, small edge cracks, central depressions, beveled obverse edge, weight 33.775 g, maximum diameter 32.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 221 - 219 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, ΛI between eagle's legs; from a New England collector; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $216.00
 


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |III| |Euergetes,| |246| |-| |222| |B.C.|, |triobol|
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. The Ptolemaic kingdom reached the height of its power during his reign.
GP93834. Bronze triobol, Lorber CPE B936; Svoronos 965; SNG Cop 173; Weiser 72; BMC Ptolemies p. 55, 89; SNG Milan 166; SNG Blackburn 1165; Noeske 120; Hosking 31; Weber 8259, Choice VF, well centered, centers flatly struck, darker toned fields with rubbed brassy high points, scratches, central depressions, weight 34.106 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 246 - 222 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, chi-rho monogram between eagle's legs; from a New England collector; $190.00 SALE |PRICE| $171.00
 




  






REFERENCES|

Brett, A. "Dated coins of Ptolemy V, 204 - 180 B.C." in ANSMN 2 (1947), pp. 1 - 11.
Brooks, E. "The overstruck coinage of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 6 (1954), pp. 69 - 84.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Cox, D. Coins from the Excavations at Curium, 1932-1953. ANSNNM 145. (New York, 1959).
Faucher, T., A. Meadows & C. Lorber. Egyptian Hoards I, The Ptolemies. (Le Claire, France, 2017).
Hill, G. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Cyprus. (London, 1904).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Jenkins, G. "An early Ptolemaic hard from Phacous" in ANSMN 9 (1960), pp. 17 - 37.
Kreuzer, M. The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII, Marc Antony and Augustus in Cyprus. (Springfield, MA, 2004).
Lorber, C. Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire. (New York, 2018).
Macdonald, G. Catalog of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. (Glasgow, 1905). Malter, J. The Coinage of Ancient Egypt, Auction II, February 23 and 24, 1978. (Encino, CA, 1978).
Michaelidou, L, ed. Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage, Coin Catalogue. (Nicosia, 1996).
Michaelidou, L. & E. Zapiti. Coins of Cyprus, From the Collection of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation. (Nicosia, 2008).
Mildenberg, L. "Yehud: A Preliminary Study of the Provincial Coinage of Judaea" in Essays Thompson.
Mørkholm, O. "Cyprus Hoard, 1982" in NC 147 (1987), pp. 156 - 158.
Mørkholm, O. Early Hellenistic Coinage. From the Accession of Alexander to the Peace of Apamea (336-188 BC). (Cambridge, 1991).
Mørkholm, O. "Ptolemaic coins and chronology: The dated silver coinage of Alexandria" in ANSMN 20 (1975), pp. 7-24.
Mørkholm, O. "The Ptolemaic 'coins of an uncertain era'" in Nordisk Numismatisk Arskrift 1975 - 1976, pp. 23 - 58.
Mørkholm, O. "The last Ptolemaic silver coinage in Cyprus" in Chiron 13 (1983), pp. 69-79.
Nicolaou, I. Paphos II. The Coins from the House of Dionysos. Department of Antiquities Cyprus. (Nicosia, 1990).
Noeske, H-C. Die Münzen der Ptolemäer. (Frankfurt, 2000).
Pitchfork, C. The Jon Hosking Collection of Ptolemaic Coins. Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney. (Sydney, 2000).
Poole, R. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, the Ptolemies, Kings of Egypt. (London, 1882).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Robinson, E. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Greek Coins of Cyrenaica. (London, 1927).
Svoronos, J. Ta Nomismata tou Kratous ton Ptolemaion. (Athens, 1904-08).
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Zervos, O. "The early tetradrachms of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 13 (1967), pp. 1 - 16.

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