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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Ptolemaic Egypt||View Options:  |  |  | 

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. Ptolemaic rule lasted for 275 years, until 30 B.C. The culture was a complex mixture of Egyptian and Greek traditions, best represented by the famous city of Alexandria. All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy, while queens regnant were all called Cleopatra, Arsinoe or Berenice. The most famous member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII, known for her role in the Roman political battles between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and later between Octavian and Mark Antony. Her suicide at the conquest by Rome marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.

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 Lead tessera, apparently unpublished, but cf.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); $720.00 (€590.40)
 


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)
 


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 IX - Ptolemy XII, 99 - 58 B.C.

|Cyprus|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IX| |-| |Ptolemy| |XII,| |99| |-| |58| |B.C.||dichalkon|
The Paphos II finds were excavated at the House of Dionysos in Paphos.
GB95763. Bronze dichalkon, Paphos II 383 - 385, otherwise unpublished, F, dark green patina with earthen highlighting, scratches, porosity, edge cracks, beveled obverse edge, sprue remnants, weight 2.044 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, 88 - 58 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned bust of Zeus Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), single cornucopia bound with fillet; ; rare; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C., Struck with Ptolemy VI Dies Captured on Cyprus

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IV| |Epiphanes,| |175| |-| |164| |B.C.,| |Struck| |with| |Ptolemy| |VI| |Dies| |Captured| |on| |Cyprus||obol|
This coin was struck with dies captured by Seleukid invaders during Antiochos IV's short lived invasion and occupation of Ptolemaic Egypt and Cyprus, c. 168 B.C. The dies were originally engraved for Ptolemy VI of Egypt. The letters EYΛ are the first letters of Eulaios, a regent during part of the minority of Ptolemy VI. The name of "Ptolemy" was effaced from the reverse die before the coin was struck.
RY98615. Bronze obol, Lorber Lotus Series p. 46, VI.3; Svoronos 1398 & pl. xlvii, 21-24 (Ptolemy VI with Eulaios); Weiser 152 (same); SNG Cop 294; Noeske -, VF, green patina, well centered, porous, light scratches, central dimples, obverse edge beveled, weight 10.688 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 325o, Cyprus mint, c. 168 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ (ΠTOΛEMAIOY erased from die), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, legs heavily feathered, lotus left, EYΛ between legs; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Kaunos, Caria, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or Later 2nd Century)

|Kaunos|, |Kaunos,| |Caria,| |c.| |197| |-| |191| |B.C.| |(or| |Later| |2nd| |Century)||AE| |16|NEW
On the Rosetta Stone, "The Memphis Decree" announces Ptolemy V's rule and ascension to godhood, and describes him as "like Horus." In "A Statue of a Hellenistic King," Journal of Hellenistic Studies, 33 (1913), C. Edgar attributes a statue very similar to the reverse figure to Ptolemy V: "[The statue] stands with right foot drawn back, the toes alone resting on the ground...His head is held erect and his gaze is turned slightly to his right. His shoulders are drawn up a little...[the upper part] unnaturally short in proportion to the lower part of the trunk...[The missing right] forearm was clear of the body. The [missing] left hand was raised and probably rested on a spear." We believe this type is from the among the last issues of Kaunos under Ptolemaic rule, struck after the 13 year old Ptolemy V came of age in 197/6 B.C., perhaps to commemorate his accession, and before he sold the city to the Rhodians for 200 talents of silver in 191 B.C.
GB87087. Bronze AE 16, SNGvA 8103; Lindgren III 425; Imhoof-Blumer KM I, p. 138, 1; BMC Caria -; SNG Cop -; SNG Keckman -; SNG Munchen -, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, a little porous/rough, tiny edge crack, weight 2.166 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kaunos (Dalyan, Turkey) mint, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or later 2nd century); obverse diademed and horned head of Alexander the Great right; reverse youth (Ptolemy V as Horus?) advancing right, nude, long lotus-tipped scepter transverse in left hand, right arm and index finger extended, snake before him coiled around scepter, K-AY (Kaunos) divided high across field, ΣΩ-TAΣ (magistrate) divided across center; very rare; $80.00 (€65.60)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII & Alexander Helios, c. 38 B.C.

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |&| |Alexander| |Helios,| |c.| |38| |B.C.||diobol|
Alexander Helios (b. 40 B.C., d. between 29 and 25 B.C.) was the son of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony. Helios (the Sun) had a twin sister, Cleopatra Selene (the Moon). He was made king of Armenia and king of king of Media and Parthia at about age six. After his mother's death, Egypt and his kingdoms were annexed by Rome; Alexander Helios was placed under the guardianship of Octavia and faded from history.
The exact denominations of this type and the other bronze units issued during Cleopatra's reign are unknown. Based on the bronze Egyptian denominations of Augustus used not long after this coin was struck, this coin was a diobol.
SH16527. Bronze diobol, SGCV II 7957, BMC Ptolemies 2-3, RPC I 3091, Vagi 76, aVF, among the finest known, weight 13.127 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, c. 38 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra VII right, as Aphrodite, holding scepter and infant; reverse KΛEOΠATPAΣ BAΣIΛIΣΣHΣ, double cornucopia, joined at the bottom and bound with fillet, KYΠP monogram in lower right field; nice brown patina, among the finest known of this rare issue; rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

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