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Research Coins: Feature Auction


The First Roman Alexandrian Coin

Triton XXI, Lot: 2. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $5250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. Æ Diobol – 80 Drachmai (27mm, 18.58 g, 12h). First series, struck circa 30-28 BC. [ΘΕΟ]Υ ΥΙ[ΟΥ], bare head right / [ΚΑΙCΑ]ΡΟC ΑΥ[ΤΟΚΡΑΤΟΡΟC], eagle standing left on thunderbolt; cornucopia to left, Π to right. Köln 1; Dattari (Savio) 2; K&G 2.5; RPC I 5001; Emmett 1; Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 2 (this coin). Good VF, attractive reddish brown and green patina. Exceptional for issue. The first Roman Alexandrian coin.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Kerry K. Wetterstrom Collection (Classical Numismatic Auctions XIII, 4 December 1990), lot 1.

The first coinage of the new province of Egypt was a direct copy of the bronze coinage of Cleopatra, the last Ptolemaic ruler, with the portrait of Augustus replacing the Queen’s. Egypt, wealthy and a vital source of grain for the empire, was to be never allowed again as a potential leaping-off point for a rival emperor. The new province was held under tight control by the emperor. Its governor was to be an equestrian prefect answerable to Augustus, with a legion under his direct command. The Senate would have no say in the administration of the province, and in fact, senators were forbidden to travel there without permission.