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    JUDAEA. Ascalon. Autonomous Issue during the time of Ptolemy XII Auletes (ca. 80-51 BC). AR tetradrachm (24mm, 13.56 gm, 1h). NGC Choice VF 4/5 - 4/5. Dated Year 41 Era of Ascalon (64/3 BC). Diademed head of Ptolemy I (?) right / ΙΕΡΑΣ ΑΣΥΛΟΥ ΑΣΚΑΛΩΝΙΤΩΝ (Sacred and Inviolate of (the people of) Askalon), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, palm over right wing; L MA (date) above dove in left field, ΔΩ monogram between legs. BMC Palestine 18. Very well struck with fresh reverse die and somewhat worn obverse die. Wonderful style and attractive toning.

    This issue is described in BMC as "silver with Ptolemaic portrait" with an obverse of "bust of Ptolemy XV (?) diademed and draped". Comparing our coin to other Ascalon issues in sales archives, the obverse does look like the Ascalon-dated series of Antiochus VIII (Seleucid Kingdom), as noted on the holder, and the eagle on the reverse most certainly is in the style consistent with Seleucid issues. The attribution question comes in with the reverse legend - the similar Seleucid coins have a legend of BAΣIΛEΩΣ-ANTIOXOY and the date format is AΣ in left field and date in right field. The "L" on this coin is consistent with Ptolemaic Egypt issues. In addition, there is one example of an Ascalon-minted tetradrachm, likely from this issue, that has a portrait of Cleopatra VII, with this reverse legend and date format (Roma Numismatics, Auction XIII, 23 March 2017, lot 428). If the Ascalon date is being converted correctly as 64/3 BC, with year 41 being reconciled from the year of autonomy of Ascalon in 104/3 BC, this coin would fall in the reign of Ptolemy XII and not Ptolemy XV as postulated by BMC. Regardless, this enigmatic issue still puzzles scholars today and more research is necessary to firmly determine where it falls within the ancient numismatic corpus.


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    Auction Dates
    September, 2018
    6th-11th Thursday-Tuesday
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