Numismatica Ars Classica > Auction 132Auction date: 30 May 2022
Lot number: 394

Price realized: 150,000 CHF   (Approx. 156,773 USD / 146,363 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Ptolemy V Epiphanos, 205 – 180
Octodrachm, Alexandria circa 205-180, AR 28.37 g. Diademed bust of Ptolemy r., with aegis. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ – ΠTOΛEMAIOY Eagle standing l. on thunderbolt; in l. field, star. Svoronos 1230 and pl. XL, 1. SNG Copenhagen –.
Extremely rare and in exceptional condition for this impressive issue.
Struck on a very large flan and about extremely fine

Ex Leu sale 18, 1977, 281 (expertly conserved since). From the Collection of a Mentor.
While Ptolemaic gold mnaieia (oktadrachms) are encountered relatively frequently, silver oktadrachms are comparatively rare, due in part to the lack of natural sources of silver in Egypt. Out of the small pool of Ptolemaic silver oktadrachms, the present coin of Ptolemy V represents one of the very rarest emissions. When Svoronos produced his seminal work on the coinage of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in 1904-1908, he was aware of exactly two specimens. The number has increased little since then.

The oktadrachm features the standard types for Ptolemaic silver: the diademed portrait of Ptolemy I Soter, the founder of the dynasty, on the obverse and an eagle standing on a thunderbolt on the reverse. According to dynastic tradition, as an infant Ptolemy I was saved from exposure by an eagle sent by Zeus. According to some, the ruler of the gods had been the true father of Ptolemy I in the same way that his rival, Seleucus I, was reportedly a son of Apollo.

Here, a star has been added to the eagle reverse type. It has been suggested that it might represent the star Canopus. The rising of this star in 282 BC coincided with the death of Ptolemy I and was used to calculate the date of the quadrennial Ptolemaieia festival in Alexandria. On the other hand, the star may perhaps link the oktadrachm to gold mnaieia struck in 199/8 BC that feature the portrait of Ptolemy V wearing a diadem with stars at the tie ends.

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Estimate: 25000 CHF