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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Roman Provincial| ▸ |Roman Egypt||View Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Provincial Coins of 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.

Nero and Poppaea, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero| |and| |Poppaea,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
RPC Online I notes, "The date does look like L IB, but the coin is very battered." and "Confirmation required. Poppaea died in AD 65, so it seems unlikely that coins should have been made for her in year 12." This is the Dattari Collection plate coin and Dattari identified it as year 12. In Alexandria, Nero's year 12 began on 29 August 65 A.D. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. This coin suggests her death was likely on or after the 19th of August. It would have taken 9 days or more for the news of her death to reach Alexandria. This coin may have been a trial strike or perhaps one of very few struck during the first days of the new year.
RX93590. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari-Savio pl. 7, 199 (this coin!); RPC Online I 5289A (this coin!, the only spec.), aVF, brown tone, corrosion, scratches, rough, weight 7.834 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 29 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AYTO, radiate bust of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIA ΣEBAΣTH, draped bust of Poppaea right, L IB (year 12) lower right; from the Kreuzer Collection, ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 301; ex Dattari Collection; this is the only known example of this type dated year 12!; unique!?; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Ancient Counterfeit

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||tetradrachm|NEW
In 1933, J.G. Milne wrote, "There are scarcely any counterfeits or forgeries of Alexandrian coins in existence, other than those made in modern times." This coin is, however, an ancient counterfeit, a die match to two specimens in William Metcalf 's "A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor" in Revue Belge de Numismatique CXXII (1976), pp. 65 - 77, pls. 1 - 2 (Available Online). Metcalf records a hoard of ancient Alexandrian forgeries in the American Numismatic Society collection, acquired at Luxor in March 1908, by the E.T. Newell. The 76 pieces in the ANS not be the entire hoard, since Newell was in the habit of disposing of duplicate or damaged specimens. The coins are of acceptable weight and struck, not cast, and copied coins struck 41 - 161 A.D. The hoard was clearly as intended, a hoard of counterfeits only, likely the forger's own stock. There are two specimens from the same dies in the ANS. Our coin may have been part of this original hoard or it may be a coin that the forger had already put into circulation.
RX93591. Billon tetradrachm, Metcalf Forgeries p. 72, obv: IX / rev: 17 & obv: pl. 1, 11 / rev: pl. 2, 13 (for prototype see Dattari 256, struck 67/68 A.D.), VF, very close to official style, light marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 11.725 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, criminal mint, c. 161 - 165 A.D.; obverse NEPO KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY, radiate bust of Nero left, wearing aegis, L I∆ (year 14) before; reverse ∆IOΣ OΛYMΠIOY, laureate bust of Zeus Olympios right, no star; ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 241 (not identified as counterfeit); $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00 ON RESERVE

Maximinus I Thrax, March 235 - May 238 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Maximinus| |I| |Thrax,| |March| |235| |-| |May| |238| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
In Greek mythology, Selene is the goddess of the moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, but only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.
RP89035. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari (Savio) 4601; BMC Alexandria p. 228, 1775; Milne 3267; Kampmann 65.73; Emmett 3300.1; SNG Cop -; Geissen -, aVF, full border centering on a broad flan, dark brown patina, mild corrosion, edge cracks, weight 12.190 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 237 - 28 Aug 238 A.D.; obverse AVTO MAΞIMINOC CEV CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Maximinus I right, seen from behind; reverse head of Selene right, wearing tainia and chiton fastened on left shoulder with a fibula, L∆ (year four) behind, large crescent right with horns left; ex CGB mail bid sale 13 (30 Jul 2001), lot 557; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00

Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Roman| |Egypt,| |Antinoopolites| |Nome(?),| |Portrait| |of| |Antinous,| |c.| |130| |-| |153| |A.D.||tessera|
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; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00

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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||drachm|
The Nilometer measured the height of the annual Nile flood. Sixteen cubits was considered the ideal height of the annual Nile flood. Less could mean drought or famine. Even in modern times, grand celebrations were held when the flood reached 16 cubits. In years when the flood failed to reach 16 cubits, the celebrations were canceled, and prayers and fasting were held instead. The peak flood occurred at the end of August, which explains why the Egyptian year began on 29 August.
RX94446. Bronze drachm, Geissen 1708; Savio 2764; Milne 2230; BMC Alexandria p. 136, 1152; Kampmann 35.602; SNG Cop -; Hunterian -, aF, a few pits, edge splits, weight 21.805 g, maximum diameter 39.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 153 - 28 Aug 154; obverse AYT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNINOC CEB EYC, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse Nilus reclining left, reed in right, genius emerging from cornucopia in his left, wearing lotus crown, himation from waist down, domed Nilometer in background on left, L I-Z (year 17) above, crocodile right and water plants below; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Trajan,| |25| |January| |98| |-| |8| |or| |9| |August| |117| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||dichalkon|NEW
In 112, one or the greatest Roman historians, Publius Cornelius Tacitus, was Governor of the Roman province of Asia (in Anatolia). The surviving portions of his two major works - the Annals and the Histories - examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors.
RX93583. Bronze dichalkon, RPC Online III 4774 (9 spec.); SNG BnF IV 1178, Dattari-Savio 7249, Kampmann 27.525, Emmett 726 (R5), Geissen -, Choice VF, nice dark near black patina with earthen highlighting, some porosity, ragged irregular edge, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.701 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 112 - 28 Aug 113 A.D.; obverse laureate head right; reverse oinochoe (one-handled jug for pouring wine), L - Iς (year 16) flanking in lower fields; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $107.00

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
Ptolemy Soter wanted to integrate the Hellenistic and Egyptian religions by finding a deity that could win the reverence of both groups. The Greeks would not accept an animal-headed figure, so a Greek-style anthromorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.
RX95750. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 14.84, Geissen 170, Dattari 253, Milne 226, BMC Alexandria 157, RPC I 5281, Emmett 133 (R1), VF, toned, marks, tight flan, weight 10.998 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 64 - 28 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, date LIA (year 11) right; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 64 (28 Nov 2019), lot 492; ex Fritz Rudolf Künker (Mar 2008) ; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00

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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
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 hand at side; scarce; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.50

Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Trajan| |Decius,| |July| |249| |-| |First| |Half| |of| |June| |251| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
In 249, Decius began persecuting the Christians and others refusing to participate in Emperor worship.
RX88862. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2813; Dattari 5083; SNG Cop 735; Kampmann-Ganschow 79.15; Emmett 3642.1; BMC Alexandria p. 270, 2076 var. (...DEKIOCE), aVF, well centered, dark brown toning, areas of corrosion, edge cracks, weight 12.609 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 249 - 250 A.D.; obverse A K Γ M K TPAIANOC ∆EKIOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse Nike walking right, raising wreath tied with fillet in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, L - A (year 1) divided across field; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00

Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Maximian,| |286| |-| |305,| |306| |-| |308,| |and| |310| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
Elpis was the Greek personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Elpis is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. Elpis' Roman equivalent was Spes. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.

RX91839. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3286; Dattari 5875; Milne 4828; Curtis 2071; BMC Alexandria p. 329, 2556; SNG Cop 1024; Hunter 1139; Kampmann 120.17; Emmett 4114.;, gVF, well centered, strong flow lines, brown tone, die wear, weight 8.090 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 286 - 28 Aug 287; obverse A K M A OYA MAXIMIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower raised in right hand, raising drapery with left hand, star upper right, L - B (year 2) flanking across field; $65.00 SALE |PRICE| $58.50



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. 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. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933).
Pool, R. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Alexandria. (London, 1892).
RPC Online -
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, Part 2: Octavianus Augustus - Lucius Verus. (Milan, 1991).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 3. Commodus - Galerius Caesar. (Milan, 1992).

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