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Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I

Lot nuber 523

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Arsinoe II Philadelphos. Died 270/268 BC. AV Mnaieion – ‘Oktadrachm’ (28.5mm, 27.78 g, 12h). Alexandreia mint. Struck under Ptolemy II, circa 252/1-250/49 BC.


Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I
Lot: 523.
 Estimated: $ 7 500

Greek, Gold

Sold For $ 8 500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Arsinoe II Philadelphos. Died 270/268 BC. AV Mnaieion – ‘Oktadrachm’ (28.5mm, 27.78 g, 12h). Alexandreia mint. Struck under Ptolemy II, circa 252/1-250/49 BC. Head right with ram’s horn, veiled and wearing stephanos; lotus-tipped scepter in background, I to left / APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛAΔEΛΦOY, double cornucopia, grape bunches hanging at sides, bound with fillet. CPE 389; Svoronos 471; Olivier & Lorber dies 2/2; Troxell, Arsinoe, Group 3, p. 44 and pl. 7, 2 (same obv. die); SNG Copenhagen –; Adams III 2091 (same obv. die); Boston MFA Supp. 320; de Luynes 3562 (same obv. die). Minor edge bump, light mark in field on obverse, die break on reverse. Near EF. Lustrous.

Arsinoë II, wife (and sister) of Ptolemy II, exerted a powerful influence on her younger mate – her experience in statecraft coming from her earlier marriage to Lysimachos of Thrace – and her subsequent involvement in the turbulent politics of the successor kingdoms. After her death in 271 BC, her devoted husband deified her, and initiated a cult in her honor. The temple he intended to construct (plans cut short by his own death) in her name was to have an iron ceiling with a statue of Arsinoë, made entirely of lodestone, suspended in the air beneath it. That grandiose plan came to nothing, but the series of large value gold and silver coins struck in her name was a suitable memorial. As noted by Lorber, the letters behind her bust are die sequence numbers, though it is still not proven whether they note annual issues. Under Ptolemy II, these large gold coins served a variety of purposes. The early issues were struck during the time of the Second Syrian War, but while some probably were used toward war finance, Lorber noted that these issues were too large to be solely for that purpose. The later issues were marked by an early spike in production; to Lorber, the evidence is fairly convincing that these were primarily related to the resettlement of veterans following the Second Syrian War and the reclamation of land in the villages of the Fayum. The issues of Arsinoe gold came to an end soon after the accession of Ptolemy III, but later kings sporadically issued more of them, a phenomenon that lasted into the middle of the 2nd century BC. These issues are characterized by a less refined style in type and epigraphy, and their late chronology is confirmed by finds, though the reason for their reissue is unknown. Nearly all of these late issues bear a kappa behind the head of Arsinoe, but there are also very rare issues with other letters, such as the lambda on the present coin. While the former are present in most major collections, the latter are found in only a very few.

The final winners of all Triton XXIII lots will be determined at the live public sale that will be held on 14-15 January 2020. Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I will be held Tuesday afternoon, 14 January 2020 beginning at 2:00 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and in person at the public auction, 22.50% for all others.