Heritage World Coin Auctions > Showcase Auction 61288Auction date: 18 September 2022
Lot number: 95190

Price realized: 5,500 USD   (Approx. 5,502 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

Cleopatra VII Philopator and Marc Antony, as Rulers of the East (37-30 BC). AR denarius (17mm, 3.87 gm, 1h). NGC Choice XF 2/5 - 2/5, flan flaw, graffito. Alexandria, 34-32 BC. CLEOPATRAE-REGINAE•REGVM•FILIORVM•REGVM, diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra right, stem of galley prow below / ANTONI•ARMENIA•DEVICTA, bare head of Marc Antony right, Armenian tiara behind. Crawford 543/1. Sydenham 1210. CRI 345. RSC 1. Attractive deep cabinet toning on the portraits of history's most famous lovers.

From the Historical Scholar Collection. Ex R. A. Collection (Classical Numismatic Group, Auction 85, 15 September 2010), lot 64

The last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra VII was born in 69 BC and succeeded her father Ptolemy XII Auletes in 51 BC. She soon faced a succession crisis: Her weak-willed younger brother and co-ruler, Ptolemy XIII, was dominated by a circle of courtiers who feared Cleopatra's keen intellect and resolute will. Consequently, they ousted and exiled her in 48 BC, shortly before the Roman general Pompey the Great arrived in Alexandria fresh from his defeat by Julius Caesar at the battle of Pharsalus. Ptolemy ordered Pompey's murder, but this only outraged Caesar, who showed up days later and occupied the royal palace. Cleopatra had herself wrapped in a carpet and smuggled into Caesar's presence for a meeting. This display of spunk by the nubile 20-year-old enchanted the dictator. The two likely became lovers that night, and Caesar's bitter Alexandrine War, which ended in the defeat and death of Ptolemy XIII, was fought on her behalf. Caesar tarried a while longer in Egypt while Cleopatra conceived and bore him a son. Caesar returned to Rome in 47 BC and summoned Cleopatra to join him the following year. She was thus in Rome when Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 BC. Returning to Alexandria, she was summoned to meet the Triumvir Marc Antony at Tarsus in 41 BC. Once again, a powerful Roman succumbed to Cleopatra's charms, and within a year she had borne Antony twins, a boy and a girl. Antony's adoption of "barbaric" Egyptian customs, his increasing dependence on Cleopatra and his promise to bestow most of Rome's eastern possessions upon her and her children led his partner in power, Octavian, to declare war in 32 BC. Antony fought a lethargic campaign and suffered a heavy naval defeat at Actium in September, 31 BC, after which he and Cleopatra fled to Egypt. On Octavian's approach in 30 BC, Antony committed suicide and Cleopatra followed suit days later, utilizing the poisonous bite of the sacred asp.

This series of coins celebrate Marc Antony's victory over Armenia, which was used as propaganda to bolster his image back in Rome after failing to defeat Parthia. During the Parthian campaign, Antony had enlisted the help of Armenia; however, when it became evident that their side would lose the war, King Artavasdes II fled back to Armenia. Antony viewed this abandonment as a betrayal. While, plotting his revenge on Artavasdes II, he played nice until he made it safely out of the Armenian region. In order to enact this revenge, Antony fled to his lover, Cleopatra, and in 37 BC, used the wealth of Egypt to depose King Artavasdes II. This monetary backing became known as the "Donations of Alexandria" and the resulting political fallout of this "donation" was swift. Octavian used Antony's entanglement with Egypt, and Cleopatra, as a reason for him to end his own politically tenuous coalition with Antony, turning the people against the couple and thereby sealing their fate.



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