Silver Coin Minted Under Ptolemy III Euergetes - C.4000 - For Sale

Silver Coin Minted Under Ptolemy III Euergetes - C.4000
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Ptolemy III Euergetes (Benefactor) carried on successful military campaigns that brought new wealth into Egypt, resulting in the minting of large silver coins and other gold denominations and a return to the Attic weight standard, which had not been used in Egypt for over sixty years. The most common type on the obverse of the coins was a portrait of his wife, Berenike II of Kyrene. Berenike's marriage to her cousin was politically significant, since it had brought Kyrene, which had been lost by Ptolemy II, back under Egyptian control. Upon the death of her husband, she became joint ruler with her son, Ptolemy IV, who had her murdered. Coin portraits of queens were common in Hellenistic Egypt, where women had higher status than elsewhere in the ancient world and were often influential. Berenike is depicted with the royal diadem and a veil. The fruit-filled cornucopia is a symbol of abundance and prosperity often depicted on the coins of agricultural Egypt.
These rare and impressive coins have been the subject of intense controversy in recent years, both as to the intended denomination and to the identity of the "Queen Berenike" depicted on the obverse. Originally known to Svoronos from only a single, heavily corroded specimen, they were initially identified by Svoronos and Mørkholm as Attic-weight dodekadrachms, or 12-drachm pieces, issued by Ptolemy III in the name of his wife, Queen Berenike II. More of these coins in far better condition have come to light in recent years, although they remain quite rare, and their appearence has prompted a re-evaluation of these earlier conclusions. In a recent article in the journal of the Society for Ancient Numismatics (SAN XX, No. 1), author David Vagi points out that the weight of well-preserved specimens of this coin average 52.70 grams, nearly two grams over the theoretical ideal for an Attic-weight dodekadrachm. However, the average almost exactly corresponds to the theoretical weight for a 15-drachm piece, or pentekaidekadrachm, struck on the lighter Ptolemaic standard. He therefore reattributes these coins as pentakaidekadrachms, the largest-value silver denomination issued by any Hellensitic kingdom, save for the immense 20- drachm medallic silver pieces of the Baktrian king Amyntas, of which only two are known.

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