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    Description

    Pedigreed Mint State Arsinoe Octodrachm

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Arsinöe II Philadelphus (died 270/268 BC). AV mnaieion or octodrachm (28mm, 27.73 gm, 11h). NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5. Posthumous issue of Alexandria, under Ptolemy VI-VIII, after 193/2 BC. Veiled head of deified Arsinöe II right, wearing diademed stephane and horn of Ammon, scepter surmounted by lotus over far shoulder; K in left field, dotted border / APΣINOHΣ-ΦIΛAΔEΛΦOY, double cornucopia bound with fillet, containing pyramidal cakes, pomegranates and other fruits, grape cluster hanging from the rim of each horn; dotted border. Svoronos 1498-9. SNG Copenhagen 321-2. Incredible high-relief portrait on blazing lustrous flan.

    Ex UBS Gold & Numismatics, Auction 76 (22 January 2008), lot 1316; Auction Bank Leu 54, (28 April 1992), lot 206; Ed Milas Collection, Chicago; Auction Vinchon (Coll. Pflieger), (April 1985), lot 424.

    It has been speculated that the later K-type mnaieions issued during the reigns of Ptolemy VI through VIII feature a disguised portrait of Cleopatra II, who was the sister and later wife of both brothers. If such is the case, the K behind the head could refer to Kleopatra (on the original issues of Ptolemy II-III, from which the later issues were copied, the K was one of several letters used to designate obverse dies). Certainly the portrait on these later issues bears little resemblance to the face of Arsinoë II found on the gold pieces minted closer to her lifetime. Whether or not these pieces do bear portraits of concurrent figures, it is a historical fact that the strongest of the later Ptolemaic rulers invariably were women, including the last of the line, Cleopatra VII.




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    April, 2020
    24th-27th Friday-Monday
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