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    Portrait of Cleopatra II?

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Arsinöe II Philadelphus (277-270 BC). AV mnaieion or octodrachm (28mm, 27.88 gm, 12h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. Posthumous issue of Alexandria under Ptolemy VI-VIII, after 193/2 BC. Veiled head of the deified Arsinöe II right, wearing diademed stephane and horn of Ammon, lotus-tipped scepter over far shoulder; K in left field / ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ-ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ, double cornucopia, grape bunches hanging from sides, bound with fillet. Svoronos 1498-9. SNG Copenhagen 321-2. Very high-relief portrait, well-struck from dies of exceptional style.

    From the Collection of a Philhellene. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 11 (April 1996), lot 351.

    It has been speculated that the later K-type mnaieions 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. 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 range of letters used to designate obverse dies). Certainly the portrait on these later issues bears little resemblance to the face of Arsinöe II found on the gold pieces minted closer to her lifetime.


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    August, 2018
    17th Friday
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