ANCIENT GREEK COINS
(Egypt & Kyrene)


EGYPT KYRENE


EGYPT

BERENIKE I, wife of Ptolemy I

10505. EGYPT, PTOLEMAIC KINGS. BERENIKE I or II. Mid 3rd century BC. AR Didrachm (18mm, 6.56 g). Kyrene or Alexandreia mint. Diademed and draped bust right / Club facing downward; monogram to left, trident head to right; all within wreath. Svoronos 318 (Berenike I); Caltabiano, Berenice, pl. I, 3 (Berenike II); SNG Copenhagen 429 (Berenike I); cf. BMC Ptolemies p. 60, 13 (Berenike II); BMC Cyrenaica p. 76, 11 (Berenike I); Noske -. VF, lightly toned, porous. Considerably better than photo. Scarce Ptolemaic portrait coin as most Ptolemaic issues feature the head of Zeus rather than likenesses of Ptolemaic rulers.

These didrachms struck in the name of Berenike have been attributed to either Berenike I, wife of Ptolemy I, or Berenike II, wife of Ptolemy III. Even at the time of Svoronos' great corpus, there was no unanimity among prominent numismatists. While Svoronos favored an attribution to Berenike I, Poole (in BMC Ptol.), Head, and Mčller preferred Berenike II. A full discussion of these attributions was taken up by Robinson in his introduction in BMC Cyrenaica (pp. cxlix-cliv). His argument supports an attribution to Berenike I, but much later than Svoronos' dating, to the period of Magas' revolt against Ptolemy II. His conclusions are largely based on the attribution of the bronze coinage in this period, and further refinements have necessitated a lowering of Robinson's dating, placing the Berenike coins in the period after the revolt, when Magas was reconciled to Ptolemy, circa 261-258 BC (cf. Buttrey, Coins, 199, and p. 55). Caltabiano, however, has assigned all of the coinage in the name of Berenike, both Egyptian and Kyrenaikan, to Berenike II, and dates them to the period that Berenike was regent while Ptolemy III was away fighting in the Third Syrian War. Much of her argument is based on control mark links she identifies between the Berenike coinage and that assigned to Ptolemy III and IV. Both theories have significant flaws. The attribution to Berenike I relies strongly on the dating of the bronze 'Koinon' coinage of Kyrenaika, but recent finds have suggested these issues may be later than previously thought. On the other hand, Caltabiano's linkage between the Kyrenaikan and Egyptian coinage in the name of Berenike is conjectural, and ignores the significance of the MAΓ monogram, which must be related to Magas (cf. BMC Cyr. p. cl). Perhaps the most important deficiency in analyzing this coinage is the absence of any known mixed-coinage hoard containing these didrachms. Discussion courtesy CNG.

$650.



PTOLEMY II, PHILADELPHOS, 285-246

8196. EGYPT, PTOLEMY II, 285-246 BC. Tetradrachm of Tyre, S.7773. Portrait Ptolemy I/Eagle, TYP monogram above club. VF. A superior style portrait.

$650.



ONLY 10 KNOWN INCLUDING ONE IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM

10353. A VERY RARE PTOLEMAIC BRONZE. EGYPT, PTOLEMY II?, c. 260 BC. Middle Eastern? mint. AE18, 7.05 g. 12h. Svoronos 792 (Plate XXV, #22), BMC 65, #29. Svoronos knew only the single BMC example. Laur. hd. Zeus Ammon right. Reverse: Eagle standing left on thunderbolt looking left, tripod to left and Π-T-O monogram to right of eagle. VF. Nice dark glossy green patina. Much better than photo. Only a few examples known. Very rare and missing from most collections. Only 2 examples were known including one in the British Museum until we were privileged to acquire 8 more.

Svoronos attributes these to Ptolemy II but the details, of style, and lettering suggest even Ptolemy III or even Ptolemy V. The eagle is similar to those on Ptolemy V portrait tetradrachms. The Ptolemy V coins with NI controls are said to be from 'military mints' of the 4th or 5th Syrian war. Perhaps this tripod type has a similar origin (middle East) while the others (791, 793) are believed to come from Western Turkey (Bodrum, Fethiye). Richard Ashton wrote an article on those arguing for the Turkish mints. The Ashton paper on coins at Fethiye (turkey) does not include these types. The 791 and 793 are plentiful there but not 792 with the Π-T-O symbol. Interesting also that a couple of earlier issue Ptolemaic bronzes are known with a tripod countermark and perhaps are related to these. One is a Tyre coin of Ptolemy III, the other of Ptolemy IV.

$250.



ONLY 10 KNOWN INCLUDING ONE IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM

10355. A VERY RARE PTOLEMAIC BRONZE. EGYPT, PTOLEMY II?, c. 260 BC. Middle Eastern? mint. AE19, 5.03 g. 12h. Svoronos 792 (Plate XXV, #22), BMC 65, #29. Svoronos knew only the single BMC example. Laur. hd. Zeus Ammon right. Reverse: Eagle standing left on thunderbolt looking left, tripod to left and Π-T-O monogram to right of eagle. VF. Nice dark glossy green patina. Much better than photo. Only a few examples known. Very rare and missing from most collections. Only 2 examples were known including one in the British Museum until we were privileged to acquire 8 more.

Svoronos attributes these to Ptolemy II but the details, of style, and lettering suggest even Ptolemy III or even Ptolemy V. The eagle is similar to those on Ptolemy V portrait tetradrachms. The Ptolemy V coins with NI controls are said to be from 'military mints' of the 4th or 5th Syrian war. Perhaps this tripod type has a similar origin (middle East) while the others (791, 793) are believed to come from Western Turkey (Bodrum, Fethiye). Richard Ashton wrote an article on those arguing for the Turkish mints. The Ashton paper on coins at Fethiye (turkey) does not include these types. The 791 and 793 are plentiful there but not 792 with the Π-T-O symbol. Interesting also that a couple of earlier issue Ptolemaic bronzes are known with a tripod countermark and perhaps are related to these. One is a Tyre coin of Ptolemy III, the other of Ptolemy IV.

$150.



9374. EGYPT, PTOLEMY II PHILADELPHOS. 285-246 BC. AE Hemiobol (22mm). Alexandreia mint. Struck circa 266-256 BC. Deified head of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant skin headdress / Eagle standing left on thunderbolt. Svoronos 450; Weiser 31; SNG Copenhagen -; Laffaille 619 Ptolemy VI issued similar coins, but they have a mintmark in the reverse left field that looks like an A within a door frame, according to Svoronos, SNG Cop., and Sear. Good VF. Choice example much superior to the Copenhagen plate coin.

$350.



PTOLEMY III, EUERGETES, 246-222

10864. EGYPT, PTOLEMY III, 246-222 BC. AE (20mm, 6.33 g, 12h). Alexandreia mint. Struck 245 BC. Laureate bust right, wearing aegis / Eagle standing left on thunderbolt; filleted cornucopia to right. Svoronos 1000; SNG Copenhagen 193. Good Fine, green patina, a few light scratches. Scarce Ptolemaic portrait coin.

$185.



9369. EGYPT, PTOLEMY III, 246-222 BC. AE27, Sear 7820. Diad. hd. Zeus Ammon r./Cult statue of Aphrodite stg. facing on prow. AEF. Rare. Excellent example considerably better than the Sear plate coin.

$450.



9370. EGYPT, PTOLEMY III, 246-222 BC. AE27, Sear 7820. Diad. hd. Zeus Ammon r./Cult statue of Aphrodite stg. facing on prow. VF+. Rare. Excellent example considerably better than the Sear plate coin with nice contrasting patina.

$450.



PTOLEMY IV, PHILOPATOR, 221-204

9371. EGYPT, PTOLEMY III or IV, ca. 246-204 BC. AE42, Sear 7841v. Diad. hd. Zeus Ammon r./Eagle stg. l. on thunderbolt, cornucopia to l. VF+. Choice large bronze.

$650.



CLEOPATRA VII, THEA NEOTERA, 51-30, lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, daughter of Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra VI, (issues with Marc Antony are to be found on our Roman Imperatorial coins page)

CLEOPATRA OF EGYPT

9421. SCARCE PORTRAIT COIN OF THE FAMOUS CLEOPATRA OF EGYPT. EGYPT, CLEOPATRA VII, 51-30 BC. AE25 80 drachma, 16.67 g, BMC 4-5. Draped bust with diadem r./Eagle stg. on thunderbolt l., double cornucopia. RR! Good Fine with nice portrait for these.

$1500.



PTOLEMY, UNATTRIBUTED

KYRENE

11282. KYRENAICA, KYRENE. Circa 308-277 BC. AR Didrachm (20mm, 7.74 g, 12h). Head of Karneios left / Silphion plant; I and monogram to upper right. Muller, Afrique 174; SNG Copenhagen 1239 var. (coiled serpent to left); BMC 246-8. Near VF, toned. Excellent metal. Provenance: From the Deyo Collection.

The silphium or silphion plant depicted on the reverse of this coin was one the most famous medicinal plants of the ancient world and the primary export from Kyrene on the coast of N. Africa in modern Libya. A large plant of the fennel family it was very effective as a contraceptive and abortifacient. It also had additional medicinal uses and was even used in cooking. Demand for the plant was so great that it was apparently harvested to extinction in ancient times and the last known plant was said to have been presented to the emperor Nero as a gift. Thought to have been extinct since then some recent reports have claimed to have found small patches still growing in the wild in the Magreb.

The seed of the silphium plant was heart shaped and depicted thus on some of the smaller coins of Kyrene. In fact it may well be the original source of the heart shaped symbol now universally used to connote love because of the silphium's strong sexual connotations in antiquity.

$1850.