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    Impressive Early Mnaieion

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Arsinöe II Philadelphus (died 270/268 BC). AV mnaieion or octodrachm (29mm, 27.74 gm, 12h).  Alexandria, under Ptolemy II, ca. 253/2 BC. Veiled head of the deified Arsinöe II right, wearing stephane, lotus-tipped scepter behind, Λ left / APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛAΔEΛΦOY, double cornucopia, grape bunches hanging at sides, bound with fillet. Svoronos 476. Troxell Group 3, p. 44 and pl. 7, 4 (same obverse die). Boldly struck on an immense flan, with residual luster in fields. Devoid of the usual "scrubbed" surface and contact marks. NGC AU 5/5 - 3/5, Fine Style.

    From The Providence Collection.

    This impressive denomination, today usually called an octodrachm, was worth 100 silver drachms, or one mina, a considerable fortune in ancient times. The Greco-Egyptians called the 100-mina piece a mnaieion (min-EYE-on). Calculating its buying power in modern terms is difficult, but a rough equivalent might be around $4,000. These impressive pieces were first struck under Ptolemy II (282-246 BC), who built the famous Library of Alexandria and towering Pharos lighthouse. In 279 BC he married his sister, the beautiful and ambitious Arsinöe, in the manner of the old Egyptian pharaohs. The sibling marriage scandalized Greek society, which gave Arsinöe the nickname Philadelphus, or "brother-lover." Arsinöe embraced the term, making it part of her royal title. Arsinöe's regal profile, veiled and crowned with a jeweled coronet, graces the obverse of this attractive type. The double-cornucopia on the reverse symbolized both Egypt's abundance and the joint rule of Ptolemy and Arsinöe. Gold coins bearing Arsinöe's portrait continued to be struck for centuries after her death in 270 or 268 BC.

    View all of [The Providence Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th-14th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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