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    Description

    Queenly Portrait

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Arsinoe II Philadelphus (277-270 BC). AV mnaieion or octodrachm (27mm, 27.74 gm, 11h). NGC AU ★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Alexandria, under Ptolemy II, ca. 253/2-246 BC. Diademed and veiled head of the deified Arsinoe right with ram's horn; behind, lotus-tipped scepter; in left field, control letter Θ / APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛAΔEΛΦOY, filleted double cornucopiae. Svoronos 460. SNG Copenhagen 134. A superb example of this fundamental type, struck on a broad flan from dies of beautiful style, with crisp detail and lustrous fields.

    Huge gold coins of the mnaieion denomination, containing nearly an ounce of gold, 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 Arsinoe, in the manner of the old Egyptian pharaohs. The sibling marriage scandalized Greek society, which gave Arsinoe the nickname Philadelphus, or "brother-lover." Arsinoe embraced the term, making it part of her royal title. Arsinoe's regal profile, veiled and crowned with a jeweled coronet, graces the obverse of most Ptolemaic gold octadrachms. The double-cornucopia on the reverse symbolized both Egypt's abundance and the joint rule of Ptolemy and Arsinoe. Gold coins bearing Arsinoe's portrait continued to be struck for centuries after her death in 271 BC.


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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