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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Ptolemaic EgyptView 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. 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.


Hellenistic Greek, Bronze Relief Ring Fragment, Eastern Mediterranean, 3rd - 1st Century B.C.

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This bronze ring fragment is very similar to the referenced ring fragment in the British Museum (click here to see it online).
AS84167. cf. BM Collection 1917.0501.1267 (very similar ring fragment), bezel complete, 22.1 x 16.1, obverse high relief portrait of a woman facing left, draped and wearing her hair in a bun at the back (perhaps a Ptolemaic queen, either Berenike II or Arsinoe II); $320.00 (€272.00)
 


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

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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 München -, 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 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; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Magas in Kyrene, c. 277 - 249 B.C.

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Magas was the stepson of Ptolemy I, the son of Berenice I, and half-brother to Ptolemy II. In 276 B.C., he crowned himself King in Kyrene, married the daughter of Antiochos I and invaded Egypt with his Seleukid allies. The Seleukid army was defeated by Ptolemy II and Magas faced an internal revolt of Libyan nomads. Still, Kyrene remained independent as long as he lived.
GB65215. Bronze obol, Svoronos 324; Noeske 112; SNG Cop 431; SNG Milan 443; Malter 54; BMC Ptolemies p. 76, 14; Weiser -, VF, weight 7.158 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 277 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy right; reverse ΠTOΛEM BAΣIΛ MAΓ, horizontal winged thunderbolt, monogram above; rare; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom; Ptolemy IX, 2nd reign, 88 - 80 B.C.; or Ptolemy XII, 1st reign, 80 - 58 B.C.

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The Paphos II finds were excavated at the House of Dionysos in Paphos.
GP84889. Bronze hemiobol, Paphos II 383 - 385, otherwise unpublished, gVF, weight 1.996 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 88 - 58 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned bust of Zeus Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, single cornucopia bound with fillet; rare; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy V Epiphanes, 204 - 180 B.C.

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In "Le Tresor de Gezeir (lac Mariout, Alexandrie)" in Revue Numismatique 2006, T. Faucher and M. Shahin attribute this type to Ptolemy IX. Their attribution is based in part on the ΣΩ monogram referring to the epithet of Ptolemy IX Soter II. This same monogram is, however, found on silver and gold coins from early in the reign of Ptolemy V, where it may refer to the chief minister Sosibius. Sosibius appears to have had complete control of the administration under Ptolemy IV. Under the young Ptolemy V Epiphanes, Sosibius assumed the guardianship but in conjunction with his rival insidious Agathokles. In time, Agathokles supplanted Sosibius and had him put to death.
GP85476. Bronze obol, Svoronos 1191 (Ptolemy IV, Cyprus, 219 B.C.), Weiser 114 (Ptolemy V, Tyre), SNG Cop 534 (Ptolemy V), Noeske 187 (same), Cohen DCA 35 (same), VF, tight flan, some areas of weak strike, central dimples, weight 9.267 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Phoenician mint, 203 - 202 B.C.; obverse horned head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin, K behind; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEOΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head left, Ω over Σ left, LΓ (regnal year 3) right; rare; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Paphos, Cyprus

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This type is the smallest denomination issued by the Ptolemaic Kingdom, and among the last coins struck. It has been re-attributed to Cleopatra VII by Matt Kreuzer. Three examples of this tiny coinage were found at the House of Dionysos, the Ptolemaic bronze coin mint discussed in Paphos II. One was found in room LXXXIII, along with sixty-two quarter obols. A second was found in Well 11, along with fifteen more quarter obols. The third was a single find, near a late Roman coin. The Romans last issued this denomination under Nero, when it was marked with an E for five drachmai.
GP85369. Bronze 1/8 obol, Svoronos 1246 (Ptolemy V), Paphos II 170, Weiser -, Noeske -, Hosking -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, Cox Curium -, Bank of Cyprus -, Tziambazis -, F, dark green patina, earthen deposits, light scratches, weight 0.946 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, Paphos mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse winged fulmen (thunderbolt); reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left, head left, wings closed; rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VI Philometor, 180 - 145 B.C., Reverse Brockage

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A brockage occurs when a blank is struck with a previously struck coin which adhered to the opposite die. Click here to read a detailed explanation.
GP85469. Bronze quarter obol, Svoronos 1408, Weiser -, SNG Cop -, Noeske -, Hosking -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, Tziambazis -, VF, reverse brockage, edge cracks, weight 1.793 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, Cyprus, uncertain mint, c. 176 - 170 B.C.; obverse incuse of reverse (normal obverse is diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right); reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, eagle standing left on fulmen (thunderbolt), wings closed, lotus in left field; scarce error; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander I and Kleopatra Berenike, 101 - 88 B.C.

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Alexander was the son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III. In 110 B.C., his mother deposed his brother Ptolemy IX and he became king with his mother as co-regent. In 109 B.C., Ptolemy IX took back the throne but in 107 B.C. Alexander again became king with his mother as co-regent. In 101 B.C., he had his mother killed, and then ruled with his niece and wife, Berenice III. When he died, Ptolemy IX regained the throne. When Ptolemy IX died, Ptolemy X's wife Berenice III took the throne for six months.
GP85356. Bronze didrachm, Svoronos 1712, Weiser 181, Cox Curium 113, SNG Cop -, Malter -, Noeske -, Hosking -, VF, edge crack, beveled obverse, flan casting sprues, weight 20.056 g, maximum diameter 35.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, c. 100 - 90 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus-Ammon right, wearing tainia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, two eagles standing left on thunderbolt, heads left, wings closed, no symbol; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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Kreuzer, in his book The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII and Augustus in Cyprus, assembles evidence dating this type to Cleopatra VII instead of the reign of Ptolemy IV used in older references.
GP86879. Bronze 1/4 obol, Kreuzer p. 44, first illustration; Svoronos 1160 (Ptolemy IV); SNG Cop 649; Weiser -, aF, dark patina, highlighting earthen fill, some porosity, weight 1.676 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra VII as Isis right, hair in melon-coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY − BAΣIΛEΩΣ, double cornucopia flanked by ribbons; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


14 Ptolemaic Kingdom Cleopatra VII 1/4 Obols

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Kreuzer, in his book The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII and Augustus in Cyprus, assembles evidence dating this type to Cleopatra VII instead of the reign of Ptolemy IV used in older references.
LT57290. Bronze Lot, 1/4 obol, Svoronos 1160 - 1161, Fair - aF, Paphos mint, c. 35 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra VII as Isis right, hair in melon-coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY − BAΣIΛEΩΣ, double cornucopia flanked by ribbons; no tags or flips, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $80.00 (€68.00)
 




  



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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 - ).
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Kreuzer, M. The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII, Marc Antony and Augustus in Cyprus. (Springfield, MA, 2004).
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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).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Coltrane Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 1: Ptolemaei. (Milan, 1989).
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Zervos, O. "The early tetradrachms of Ptolemy I" in ANSMN 13 (1967), pp. 1 - 16.

Catalog current as of Monday, July 23, 2018.
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Ptolemaic Egypt