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    Powerful Ptolemy III Portrait

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC). AV mnaieion (28mm, 27.80 gm, 6h). Alexandria, struck under Ptolemy IV, ca. 221-205 BC. Bust of the deified Ptolemy III right, wearing radiate diadem and aegis; trident over left shoulder / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, radiate and filleted cornucopia; ΔI below. Svoronos 1117. SNG Copenhagen 196. Exceptionally clean strike from a fresh obverse die, displaying none of the die rust usually seen on this type. Fully lustrous! NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    From The California Collection. Ex Heritage 3021 (New York, 6 January 2013), lot 21274. 

    The buying power of one gold mnaieion was enormous and unprecedented in the Ancient world, roughly $4,000 in today's currency. No other kingdom or empire in the ancient world could produce such large gold coins, and this display of economic clout drew thousands of mercenary soldiers into Egypt's service. This large and powerful army was put to maximum use by the third great king of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC). Shortly after inheriting the throne, he launched a massive invasion of the neighboring Seleucid Kingdom of Syria. Easily crushing all resistance, he even reached Babylon, where he proclaimed himself King of Kings. For a heady moment, Ptolemy III seemed to have gathered almost all of Alexander the Great's vast empire into his own hands. But instead of trying to step into Alexander's shoes, he wisely imposed severe terms on the Seleucids, annexed Palestine and Phoenicia, and returned to a rapturous welcome in Alexandria. Ptolemy III's powerful portrait appears on gold mnaieions struck by his son, Ptolemy IV Philopator, who succeeded him in 221 BC. The great conqueror appears almost bloated; while likely an accurate portrait, his well-fed appearance is also visual shorthand for Egypt's bountiful abundance. Ptolemy III also sports an array of godly attributes, including the rayed crown of Helios, the trident of Poseidon, and the aegis of Zeus. The reverse depicts a cornucopia, again symbolizing the plenty of Egypt.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,027

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