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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 9, Lot: 191. Estimate CHF25000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 20 October 2014. 
Sold For CHF32000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Period of Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII, c. 180 - 116 BC. Tetradrachm (Gold, 22mm, 13.92 g 12), Alexandria, struck in the name of the deified Arsinoe II, but probably meant to represent Cleopatra III, queen of Egypt, 142-101 BC. Diademed and veiled head of Arsinoe II to right, wearing stephane and ram’s horn and with a lotos-tipped scepter over her left shoulder; behind, Κ. Rev. ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ Double cornucopiae bound with fillet. BMC 40. Svoronos 1500 and pl. LI, 22-23. Very rare. Attractive and struck in high relief. Extremely fine.

Ex Hess-Divo 307, 8 June 2007, 1381, from A Distinguished American Collection, Bank Leu 52, 15 May 1991, 140, ex Numismatic Fine Arts XX, 10 March 1988, 828, and from the Pflieger collection, Vinchon, Monte Carlo, 13 April 1985, 425.

The Ptolemies produced a remarkable number of impressive gold coins, primarily because they seem to have had access to a considerable amount of African gold. Originally these coins must have existed in great numbers, but as is usual, the number that exist today are only a tiny fraction of those struck. The “Κ” issues of the mid 2nd century are based on the similar coins of the 3rd, and are primarily known in the weight of an oktadrachm. They were issued in considerable numbers with obverse dies cut by engravers of very varying abilities. The tetradrachms, however, were produced in much smaller amounts - this piece may well be one of the earliest because the portrait of Arsinoe is of very fine style, far from the nearly caricatural ones found on the larger coins.