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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 153. Estimate CHF20000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF18000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Berenike II, wife of Ptolemy III. Circa 244/3-221 BC. Pentakaidekadrachm (Silver, 52.55 g 12), Alexandria. Diademed and veiled bust of Berenike II to right. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΒΕΡΕΝΙΚΗΣ Cornucopiae bound with fillet between two laureate pilei. Hazard c1052 (dodekadrachm). Svoronos 988. D. Vagi, “The Ptolemaic Pentakaidekadrachm,” SAN XX. 1 (1997), pp. 5-10. Nicely toned and attractive. With the usual minor flan crack, otherwise, extremely fine.

From the Spina Collection, Nomos 1, 6 May 2009, 131, and originally acquired in the United States.

For a long time this large and impressive coin was only known from the single broken specimen published by Svoronos, which he identified as an Attic dodekadrachm. This caused no end of debate and theorizing because, of course, the Ptolemies did not normally use the Attic standard. However, when a group of well-preserved examples of this type came on the market several years ago, it was realized that their weight was simply too low to be Attic and, as D. Vagi pointed out in an important article, they worked much better as 15-drachma pieces following the Ptolemaic standard. They are, aside from the lost 20 drachm pieces of Amyntas once in the museum in Qunduz, the largest Greek silver coins ever made.