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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Greek Imperial| ▸ |Egypt||View Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Provincial Coins from 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.


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $840.00 (€739.20)
 


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

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $420.00 (€369.60)
 


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

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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.
GP85912. Bronze trihemiobol, Lorber CPE B447; Svoronos 1005; SNG Cop 644; Weiser 107; BMC Ptolemies p. 52, 57; SNG Milan 199; Weber 854; McClean 9789; Noeske -; Hosking -, VF, dark patina, well centered, some red earthen deposits, porosity/light corrosion, central cavities, weight 17.135 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, series 5; obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), cult statue of Aphrodite standing facing on base, wearing polos, chiton and peplos, right arm across breast, left arm downward away from side; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius, Roman Provincial Egypt

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Missing from all the references examined, except Emmett, where the type is listed only for year three and is identified as very rare (R5). We did not find another example online.
RX89193. Bronze diobol, Emmett 2324 (R5), Dattari -, Geissen -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, Kampmann -, SRCV II -, VF/F, light marks, edge cracks, beveled obverse edge, weight 8.146 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 162 - 28 Aug 163 A.D.; obverse ΦAVCTINA CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse Tyche standing facing, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, L - Γ (year 3) divided across fields; extremely rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


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

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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; $145.00 (€127.60)
 


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

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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; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 275, Aurelian prepared a campaign against the Sassanids in Asia Minor. In Thrace, while waiting to cross the Bosphorus with his army, he ordered severe punishments for corrupt soldiers and made a list of high-ranking officers marked for execution. In September, Aurelian fell victim to a conspiracy of the Praetorian Guard and was murdered near Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey).
RX91483. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5477; Geissen 3096; BMC Alexandria p. 306, 2362; Milne 4456; Curtis 1773; SNG Cop 883; Kampmann 106.54; Emmett 3923, EF, well centered, excellent portrait, edge splits, weight 7.948 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 274 - 28 Aug 275 A.D.; obverse A K Λ ∆OM AVPHΛ IANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ETOVC S (year 6), eagle standing left head turned back, wreath in beak; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to "enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle." Dio, 51.16:5. "In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus" dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. Eusebius of Caearea, "Historia Ecclesiastica, books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD." The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX86734. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102, Dattari 2009, Milne 1436, SNG Cop 391, SNG Milan 1114, BMC Alexandria 811, Kampmann 32.610, Emmett 1114/18, F, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, scratches, edge cracks, weight 7.579 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull standing right on ground line, altar to right, L IH (year 18) above; scarce; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 281 A.D., Probus returned to Rome, where he celebrates his triumph over the Vandals and the usurpers Bonosus, Julius Saturninus and Proculus.
RX91485. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4618; Dattari 5525; BMC Alexandria p. 313, 2410; SNG Cop 936; Geissen 3152; Emmett 3878; Curtis -, VF, nice brown tone, reverse a little off center, weight 7.970 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 280 - 28 Aug 281 A.D.; obverse A K M AVP ΠPOBOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Athena seated left, cuirass besides throne, Nike in right, LS (year 6) left; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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"Eirene is the Koine (New Testament) Greek word for "harmony." It's actually translated "peace" in most places. But in Greek culture, the idea of peace was not a passive concept or an absence of conflict. Rather peace was something active, where parties worked to find common ground and maintain a relationship. Or where a person worked to maintain a harmonious relationship with his or her environment." -- Becca Shouse, Notes from Eirene Farm
RX92009. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5236; Milne 4114; Geissen 2929; BMC Alexandria p. 284, 2177; SNG Cop 786; Kampmann 90.87; Emmett 3810.13, VF, well centered, nice portrait, tiny edge cracks, weight 8.670 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 265 - 266 A.D.; obverse AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Eirene (Peace) standing left, olive-branch in raised right, scepter in left, palm right, date LIΓ (year 13) left; ex FORVM (2008); $120.00 (€105.60)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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

Catalog current as of Monday, October 14, 2019.
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Roman Egypt