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    Description

    Fresh 'K Die' Strike

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Arsinoe II Philadelphus (277-270 BC). AV mnaieion or octodrachm (28mm, 27.77 gm, 12h). NGC AU 5/5 - 3/5, marks. Alexandria, posthumous issue 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 K / APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛAΔEΛΦOY, filleted double cornucopiae. Svoronos 471. Troxell group 7, 2. A flew minor scratches, mainly confined to obverse fields, otherwise well struck from a relatively fresh die.

    On the initial series of Arsinoe gold mnaieions, struck after her death by her husband Ptolemy II, the letters behind the queen's veiled head were used to differentiate different obverse dies. The die marked with a K (kappa) started out life marked with an I (iota), but after it grew worn from repeated strikes, mint officials had it partially re-engraved to restore lost detail, and turned the I into a K by the addition of two small "legs." The "K die" continued in use for some time thereafter, and the later strikes show a pronounced loss of detail, meaning even coins found recently in Mint State or About Uncirculated condition can appear quite worn. This example must have been struck shortly after the die was touched up, as critical details in the veil and hair at the highest points are still present.


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    August, 2017
    3rd Thursday
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