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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |North Africa||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of North Africa
Ptolemaic Kingdom of Kyrenaica, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), 163 - 145 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Kyrenaica,| |Ptolemy| |VIII| |Euergetes| |II| |(Physcon),| |163| |-| |145| |B.C.||hemidrachm|
Ptolemy VIII was made co-ruler of Egypt with his older siblings in 170 B.C. Soon after, Ptolemy VI was captured in the Sixth Syrian War and Ptolemy VIII became sole king. When the war ended in 168 B.C. Ptolemy VI was restored to joint rule. The brothers quarreled and in 164 B.C. Ptolemy VIII drove out his brother out and became sole king, but he was in turn expelled in 163 B.C. As a result of Roman intervention, Ptolemy VIII was awarded rule of Kyrenaica. After Ptolemy VI's death in 145 B.C., Ptolemy VIII returned to Egypt as co-ruler with his sister.
GP95307. Bronze hemidrachm, Svoronos 1641, pl. LVI, 14; Asolati 84; SNG Cop 651; BMC Ptolemies p. 94, 78; Malter 242; Weiser -; Noeske -, EF, some areas of weakness, reverse with some doubling, obverse edge beveled, central depressions, weight 36.92 g, maximum diameter 44.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 150 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus Ammon right, taenia with basileion above forehead; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY EYEPΓETOY, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, Φ right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 10 (7 Dec 2019), lot 619; rare; $700.00 (€574.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Kyrenaica, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), 163 - 145 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Kyrenaica,| |Ptolemy| |VIII| |Euergetes| |II| |(Physcon),| |163| |-| |145| |B.C.||hemidrachm|
Ptolemy VIII was made co-ruler of Egypt with his older siblings in 170 B.C. Soon after, Ptolemy VI was captured in the Sixth Syrian War and Ptolemy VIII became sole king. When the war ended in 168 B.C. Ptolemy VI was restored to joint rule. The brothers quarreled and in 164 B.C. Ptolemy VIII drove out his brother out and became sole king, but he was in turn expelled in 163 B.C. As a result of Roman intervention, Ptolemy VIII was awarded rule of Kyrenaica. After Ptolemy VI's death in 145 B.C., Ptolemy VIII returned to Egypt as co-ruler with his sister.
GP95308. Bronze hemidrachm, Svoronos 1641, pl. LVI, 14; Asolati 84; SNG Cop 651; BMC Ptolemies p. 94, 78; Malter 242; Weiser -; Noeske -, EF, areas of weak strike, obverse edge beveled, edge crack, weight 36.82 g, maximum diameter 43.0 mm, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 150 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus Ammon right, taenia with basileion above forehead; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY EYEPΓETOY, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, Φ right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 10 (7 Dec 2019), lot 618; rare; $700.00 (€574.00)


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|
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!?; $540.00 (€442.80)


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX Soter II, 116 - 110 B.C. and 109 - 107 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |III| |and| |Ptolemy| |IX| |Soter| |II,| |116| |-| |110| |B.C.| |and| |109| |-| |107| |B.C.||obol|
The reattribution from Ptolemy V to Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX is based on a hoard found in Egypt and the contents of an Egyptian shipwreck that contained these coins mixed with tetradrachms attributed with certainty to Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III. The ΣΩ in the left field probably refers to the epithet of Ptolemy IX Soter II.
GP95822. Bronze obol, Svoronos 1191, Weiser 114, SNG Cop 534, Noeske 187, Cohen DCA 35, VF, highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan cutting off right side of reverse legend, old scratch, obverse edge beveled, central depressions, weight 8.199 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, series 8, 115 - 114 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, K behind; reverse ΠToΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, Ω over Σ in left field, LΓ (year 3) in right field; rare; $200.00 (€164.00)


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.||AE| |17|
Most finds of this type are from Bulgaria, suggesting a mint in Thrace. This type is found both with and without central depressions, indicating it was struck both before and after the coinage reform of 265 B.C., after which central depressions (dimples) became a feature of Ptolemaic coinage. This example is pre-reform.
GP86417. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos 351, SNG Cop 100, Lorber CPE B310 var. (post reform), SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Noeske -, BMC Ptolemies -, Malter -, aVF, obv. die break from nose to edge, rev. well centered on a tight flan, bumps, marks, corrosion, without central cavities, weight 5.472 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain (Thracian?) mint, pre-reform, 285 - 265 B.C.; obverse veiled and diademed bust of Arsinoe II right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on fulmen (thunderbolt), head left, wings open, ∆I over (AX monogram) left; see CNG e-auction 92 (23 Jun 2004), lot 64, for another specimen with the same obverse die break; rare; $140.00 (€114.80)


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |III| |Euergetes,| |246| |-| |222| |B.C.||hemiobol|
Scarce small denomination of the popular Chi-Rho series. This chi rho (XP) monogram was later used for Christ. 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.
GP96786. Bronze hemiobol, Lorber CPE B399 (19 spec.), Svoronos 968, SNG Cop 181, SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Noeske -, Malter -, VF, mottled green-red-brown patina, some flatness of strike, broad flan, central depressions, obverse edge beveled, weight 5.290 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 230 - 222 B.C.; obverse horned and diademed head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on fulmen, head left, wings closed, filleted cornucopia ascending behind from shoulder, chi rho monogram (control symbol) between legs; ex Naville Numismatics auction 54 (15 Dec 2019), lot 201 (part of); ex Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Collection; scarce; $130.00 (€106.60)


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |III| |Euergetes,| |246| |-| |222| |B.C.||tetrobol|
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.
GP94524. Bronze tetrobol, Lorber CPE B371, SNG Cop 229, Weiser 92, Noeske 161, Hosking 44, Svoronos 974, F, dark patina, some light deposits, pitting, areas of corrosion, obverse edge beveled, central depressions, weight 41.480 g, maximum diameter 39.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 246 - 230 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing half left on fulmen, wings closed, head right, filleted cornucopia ascending behind from shoulder, EP monogram between legs; from The Ray Nouri Collection; $125.00 (€102.50)


Kyrene, Kyrenaika, N. Africa, c. 325 - 313 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaika,| |N.| |Africa,| |c.| |325| |-| |313| |B.C.||AE| |15|
Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as a contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
GB91339. Bronze AE 15, Asolati 12/2; Müller Afrique 229; Buttrey Cyrene 12, SNG Cop 1226; BMC Cyrenaica p. 45, 198, F, green patina, earthen encrustations, reverse off center, weight 3.690 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 325 - 313 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo Carneius right, short curly hair, THP (magistrate) upward behind; reverse triple silphium plant, seen from above, K-Y-P around divided by members, all within a round incuse; rare; $110.00 (€90.20)


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|
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 -, SNG Cop -, 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; scarce; $110.00 (€90.20)


Kyrene, Kyrenaika, North Africa, c. 325 - 313 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaika,| |North| |Africa,| |c.| |325| |-| |313| |B.C.||AE| |16|NEW
Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as an contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
GB98571. Bronze AE 16, Asolati 12/1; BMC Cyrenaica p. lxviii, 198b, pl. XIX, 12; Buttrey Cyrene I 137; Müller Afrique 22 var. (no fruit); SNG Cop 1226 var. (same), aF, rough corroded surfaces, the reverse better, weight 3.898 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 325 - 313 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo Karneios right, short curly hair, THP (magistrate) upward behind; reverse Three silphium plants arranged in triskeles pattern seen from above, heart shaped fruit at center, K-Y-P around divided by stalks, all within a linear circle border within a round incuse; ex CNG e-auction 494 (23 Jun 2021), lot 257; rare; $100.00 (€82.00)




  






REFERENCES|

Alexandropoulos, J. Les monnaies de l'Afrique antique: 400 av. J.-C. - 40 ap. J.-C. (Toulouse, 2000).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Babelon, J. Catalogue de la collection de Luynes: monnaies greques. (Paris, 1924-1936).
Falbe, C. & J. Lindberg. Numismatique de L'Ancienne Afrique. (Copenhagen, 1860-1862).
Müller, L. et. al. Numismatique de l'ancienne Afrique. (Copenhagen, 1860-1862).
Roman Provincial Coinage Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Strauss, P. Collection Maurice Laffaille - monnaies grecques en bronze. (Bàle, 1990).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (1994).

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