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Research Coins: Printed Auction



Triton XXII, Lot: 425. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy V Epiphanes. 204-180 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 14.10 g, 12h). Soli mint. Struck circa 204-197 BC. Jugate draped busts right of Serapis, wearing laurel wreath and atef crown, and Isis, wearing crown of horns flanking solar disk / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, eagle standing left, head right, on thunderbolt; filleted double cornucopia over shoulder, MO to left; to right, owl standing left, head facing, above ON. Landvatter Group 7, 96a (O32/R85) = C.C. Lorber & F. Kovacs, “A Ptolemaic Mint at Soli: A Tale of Two Magistrates” in SM 187 (October 1997), 3 (this coin, illustrated in both); otherwise unpublished. EF, toned, some die wear, trace cleaning marks, slight roughness, flan flaw on obverse. Unique example of this issue.

From the collection of a Northern California Gentleman, purchased from Frank Kovacs, June 1996. Ex Baldwin’s 4 (3 May 1995), lot 51; Sotheby’s (9 March 1989), lot 622.

This exceptional piece is from a very rare series from the mint of Soli, which represents the only group from the large Serapis and Isis coinage that can be definitively dated to the reign of Ptolemy V. This series at Soli is composed of three issues, all of which share a common obverse die and have an MO in the left field of the reverse. Two magistrates, AP and ON, appear in the right field of the reverse. A subsidiary control mark, an owl, appears with both magistrates, though one issue of ON lacks this control. The two studies of this series reconstructed the order of the issues as AP-with-owl, ON-without-owl, and ON-with-owl. However, this was predicated upon an erroneous identification of the state of the common obverse die that was used. While the two coins with AP-owl are clearly of the earliest state, a close comparison of the two ON coins reveals that the die state of the obverse on the ON-without-owl coin (in the ANS) is clearly later than that of the ON-with-owl coin (the present piece). This rearrangement is confirmed by another oversight of the previous studies, that the ON-with-owl coin is struck from the same reverse die as the AP-with-owl coin, but with the ON now re-engraved over the AP. Thus, the correct arrangement of the three issues must be AP-with-owl, ON-with-owl, and then ON-without-owl.