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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
3860346
386, Lot: 346. Estimate $150.
Sold for $90. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphos. 285-246 BC. Æ Obol (26.5mm, 15.97 g, 6h). Imitative issue under Hieron II of Syracuse. Uncertain mint in Sicily. Struck after 265/4 BC. Laureate head of Zeus right / Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, with wings spread; oval shield to left, N to lower right. Svoronos 619; Wolf & Lorber, ‘Western Greek’ Style, Subgroup 3, H60 (A38/P47); cf. SNG Copenhagen 116. VF, dark green patina, patches of green and red encrustation.


In their recent study (see also: http://www.ptolemybronze.com/), Daniel Wolf and Catharine Lorber thoroughly examine a class of the ‘Galatian shield’ bronze coinage commonly given to the Alexandria mint. While the bronze issues with an enigmatic monogram of Σ with serifs above the shield can be attributed to the mint of Alexandria, those without this control exhibit distinguishing features, with provenances suggesting a Sicilian mint. While this theory of a western origin has been posited before, Wolf and Lorber present the first comprehensive investigation of the series, accompanied by a die study. Their analysis shows that the initial output of Sicilian ‘Galatian shield’ bronzes appear to have been produced under Alexandrian minting specialists, with related ‘imitative’ issues of ‘Western Greek’ style following this period of production under Ptolemaic authority. These ‘Western Greek’ style coins were struck with loose dies and share a common fabric, metrology, and border style with the Syracusan coinage of Hieron II, as well as featuring shared controls with the coinage struck in Hieron’s name, all indicating a Sicilian mint’s operation under Hieron superseding the Ptolemaic, or perhaps the wholesale transfer of the mint (if so, very likely to Syracuse).