PTOLEMAIC KINGS OF EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphos, with Arsinöe II, Ptolemy I, and Berenike I, 285-246 BC. Mnaeion or Octadrachm (Gold, 27 mm, 27.70 g, 12 h), Alexandria, after 265 BC. ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ Jugate busts right of Ptolemy II, diademed and draped, and Arsinoe II, diademed and veiled; behind, Gallic shield. Rev. ΘΕΩΝ Jugate busts right of Ptolemy I, diademed and draped, and Berenike I, diademed and veiled. CPE 313. Olivier & Lorber 54 (A8/R26 this coin). SNG Copenhagen 132. Svoronos 603. A beautiful, toned and elegant example of this impressive coin, of fine style and with excellent portraits. Minor scratches, otherwise, extremely fine.
From a Swiss collection, and that of Roger Peyrefitte, Vinchon 29 April 1974, 118.
The Ptolemies were famous for the vast number of gold coins they issued during the first century of their rule. These coins were used for trade, major payments and for prestige gifts to high ranking individuals; and, of course, they were also used for subsidies to allies. The gold came from mines to the south, in Nubia and elsewhere. This piece is part of a major issue showing the reigning monarch, his sister-wife, and their parents, the founders of the dynasty.
This coin was once owned by Roger Peyrefitte, a very colorful (to say the least!) French writer, diplomat and defender of gay rights. He launched serious attacks on the Catholic Church, had a serious fight with Mauriac, and wrote reams of gossipy articles. In 1963 he met the 12 year old Alain-Philippe Malagnac d'Argens de Villèle (1951-2000) and fell in love with him; he became Peyrefitte's secretary in 1967 and later Peyrefitte adopted him. In 1979 Malagnac married Amanda Lear, but since that happened long after this coin was sold the story, while a wild one, isn't relevant here! What is worth noting is that Peyrefitte did have a very good eye for style - as anyone who has seen his coins in the Vinchon sale of 1974 can attest! In fact, another one of his coins was the famous Antinoos bronze that later appeared in the BCD collection (LHS 96, 1499).