PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphos, with Arsinöe II, Ptolemy I, and Berenike I. 285-246 BC. Mnaeion or Oktadrachm (Gold, 25mm, 27.80 g 12), Alexandria, c. 265-261/0 BC. ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ Diademed jugate busts of Ptolemy II, draped, and Arsinoe II, veiled, to right; behind, Gallic shield. Rev. ΘΕΩΝ Diademed jugate busts of Ptolemy I, draped, and Berenike I, veiled, to right. BMFA 2274. SNG Copenhagen 132. Svoronos 603. Lightly toned. Minor striking fault on Ptolemy I’s neck, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
From an American collection.
Gold coins began to be issued in large numbers under Ptolemy I, but it was under Ptolemy II that oktadrachms began to pour in streams out of the mint. This is one of his earlier issues, showing himself and his sister-wife, along with his parents. The following lots, of a type issued in massive numbers, commemorate his deceased wife. Egypt was famed for its great wealth of gold, derived from mines located to the south. Thus, the Ptolemies were able to issue enormous amounts of prestigious gold coins, primarily oktadrachms. These coins primarily served to pay for foreign trade and as a domestic store of wealth; needless to say, almost all of the coins that went abroad were soon melted down and reused in more convenient ways. Despite all the subsidies and extortions that occurred before, when Octavian finally captured Egypt after Actium the booty in gold must have been enormous.
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