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

Ancient Coins of North Africa
Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C.

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.||hemiobol|
Cleopatra VII originally shared power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brother-husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Her relationship with Julius Caesar led to sole rule. After Caesar's assassination, she aligned with Mark Antony. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
SL96992. Bronze hemiobol, Svoronos 1872; Weiser 184; SNG Cop 422; BMC Alexandria p. 123, 5; Noeske 383; Sear CRI 949, NGC VF, surface 4/5, strike 2/5, scratches, smoothing (5771373-003), weight 8.880 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra right, characteristic melon coif; reverse KΛEOΠATPAΣ BACIΛICCHC (Queen Cleopatra), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head left, cornucopia left, M (40 drachms = hemiobol) right; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 66 (9 Jan 2020), lot 608; NGC| Lookup; $750.00 (€690.00)


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!?; $600.00 (€552.00)


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 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.
GB96101. Bronze AE 15, Asolati 12/2 (same dies); cf. Müller Afrique 228 ff.; Buttrey Cyrene I 12, SNG Cop 1226; BMC Cyrenaica p. 45, 198, VF, porosity, some corrosion, tight flan, weight 3.799 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, 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; $580.00 (€533.60)


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|
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); $400.00 (€368.00)


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.
RX95862. Bronze drachm, RPC Online IV.4 T15735 (3 spec.); Dattari-Savio pl. 138, 2705bis var. (draped); Emmett 1613/10 (R5); Geissen -; Milne -; BMC Alexandria -; SNG Cop -, aF, well centered, light corrosion, obverse edge beveled, weight 20.203 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 146 - 28 Aug 147; obverse AYT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNINOC CEB EYC, laureate head right; reverse L ∆E-KATOY (year 10), Nike standing right, nude to the waist, left foot on helmet, inscribing NI/KH on an oval shield set on her left knee and a column before her; extremely rare; $350.00 (€322.00)


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|
Elpis is the personification and spirit of hope. She was depicted as a young woman, usually carrying flowers or a cornucopia in her hands. Elpis (hope) was the last item in Pandora's box, the one item, that did not escape.
RX92508. Bronze drachm, Dattari-Savio 2537 (same dies), RPC Online IV.4 T15426, Emmett 1501/5 (R4), Geissen -, Milne -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, BMC Alexandria -, Kampmann -, Choice aF, nicely centered, attractive toned brown surfaces, a few light scratches, small edge cracks, weight 22.289 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 141 - 28 Aug 142 A.D.; obverse AYT K T AIΛ A∆P - ANTWNINOC CEB - EYC, laureate head right; reverse Elpis (hope) walking left, flower in extended right hand, lifting hem of chiton with left hand, L - E (year 5) across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $200.00 (€184.00)


Kingdom of Mauretania, Juba II and Cleopatra Selene, 25 B.C. - 24 A.D.

|Mauretania|, |Kingdom| |of| |Mauretania,| |Juba| |II| |and| |Cleopatra| |Selene,| |25| |B.C.| |-| |24| |A.D.||AE| |27|
After his father's defeat and suicide, Juba II was take to Rome and paraded in Caesar's triumph. He was then raised in Caesar's household where he and Octavian became lifelong friends. He accompanied Octavian on campaigns after Caesar's death even fighting at the battle of Actium against his future wife's parents. Cleopatra Selene was the daughter of Cleopatra VII by Marc Antony. After the battle of Actium, she was raised by Octavia, Octavian's sister. Augustus restored Juba II as the king of Numidia c. 28 B.C. and later arranged for him to marry Cleopatra Selene II giving her a large dowry and appointing her queen.
SL95881. Bronze AE 27, Alexandropoulos 209, Mazard 351 (RRR), SNG Cop 605, De Luynes 4013, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 2/5, lt. smoothing (5872605-040), weight 18.59 g, maximum diameter 27 mm, die axis 90o, Caesarea (Cherchell, Algeria) mint, 25 B.C. - 24 A.D.; obverse REX IVBA, diademed and draped bust right, club over shoulder; reverse BACI−ΛICCA / KΛEOΠATPA, headdress of Isis, with stalks of grain, crescent above; NGC| Lookup; very rare; $200.00 (€184.00)


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

|Countermarked|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.||tritartemorion|
 
CM95812. Bronze tritartemorion, cf. Lorber CPE B227, Svoronos 451; countermark apparently unpublished, coin: Fair, nice green patina, marks, encrustations, closed crack, beveled obverse edge, central cavities; countermark: gF+, weight 9.064 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 267 - 259 B.C.; obverse bust of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant skin headdress; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing on thunderbolt facing left, wings open, E(?) between legs; countermark: shaped punch of helmeted bust of Athena right; ex Zeus Numismatics auction 5 (15 Mar 2020), lot 1105; no other examples of this countermark are known to FORVM, it is possibly unique; $190.00 (€174.80)


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 (€128.80)


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; $135.00 (€124.20)




  






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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