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Research Coins: Printed Auction


A New Issue Struck under Ptolemy V

Triton XXII, Lot: 410. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $6000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphos, with Arsinöe II, Ptolemy I, and Berenike I. 285-246 BC. AV Half Mnaïeion – ‘Tetradrachm’ (21mm, 13.78 g, 11h). Commemorative issue. Uncertain mint. Struck under Ptolemy V, circa 199/8 BC. Conjoined busts of Ptolemy II and Arsinöe II right; Ptolemy is diademed and draped, Arsinöe is diademed and veiled; AΔEΛΦΩN above, shield to left / Conjoined busts of Ptolemy I and Berenike I; Ptolemy is diademed and draped, Berenike is diademed and veiled; ΘEΩN above, star to left. Unpublished. Good VF, even light roughness, a few marks. Unique with star on reverse.

In 199/8 BC, there were a number of commemorative issues struck at various mints in celebration of the formal deification of Ptolemy V. These issues included gold mnaieia of Ptolemy V (Sv. 1254 and 1257 [Alexandreia]), silver tetradrachms of Ptolemy V (Sv. 1249 [Alexandreia, and prob. Sidon] and 1250 [prob. Tyre]), gold mnaieia of Arsinoe II (Sv. 1159 [Alexandreia]), and, most importantly for the present coin, gold mnaieia of the Theoi Adelphoi type (Sv. 613α and 1229 [Alexandreia], 1247 [prob. Sidon], and 1248 [prob. Tyre]). This new half mnaieion is certainly to be associated with this commemorative coinage, based on the unusual portrait styles, the presence of the star symbol, and the deeper concavity of the reverse—all features that set it apart from the large series struck under Ptolemy II. The question that remains unanswered is, from which mint? Until further evidence appears, though, it remains a mystery, though the style seems to discount any of the standard mints, but many small mints became active during the reign of Ptolemy V, some of which had not previously struck precious metal issues. [CNG thanks Cathy Lorber for providing comments and evidence for this piece, upon which this note is based.]