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    Description

    Stunning Ptolemaic Queen

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Arsinoe II, deified (after 270 BC). AV mnaieion or octodrachm (27mm, 27.79 gm, 12h). Posthumous issue of Alexandria under Ptolemy VI-VIII, ca. 186-127 BC. Veiled head of the deified Arsinoe II right (with features of Cleopatra II?), wearing diademed stephane and horn of Ammon, lotus scepter over far shoulder, K behind / ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ, double cornucopia bound with fringed diadem. Svoronos 1498. SNG Copenhagen 322. Deeply struck in sculptural high relief and possessing nearly full mint bloom. NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    The portraits on later K-type mnaieions of the second century BC bear little resemblance to the face of Arsinoe II used on coins issued closer to her lifetime. It has thus been speculated that these coins, issued during the reigns of Ptolemy VI through VIII, feature a disguised portrait of Cleopatra II, who was the sister and later wife of both brothers and a dominant presence at court. If such is the case, the K behind the head could refer to Kleopatra (on the original issues of Ptolemy II-III, from which the later issues were copied, the K was one of several letters used to designate obverse dies). Cleopatra II was thoroughly embroiled in the murderous dynastic politics of the Egypt, marrying in succession both of her brothers Ptolemy VI Philometor (187-145 BC) and  Ptolemy VIII Euergetes-Physcon  (145-116 BC), and instigating many intrigues. Whether or not these pieces do bear portraits of Cleopatra II, it is a historical fact that the strongest of the later Ptolemaic rulers invariably were women, including the last of the line, Cleopatra VII.

    The exploits of the female Ptolemaic (and Seleucid) rulers, most named Cleopatra, were related in a little-known British TV series "The Cleopatras," which first aired in 1983 and can now be watched on YouTube. 




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    14th-19th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,227

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