PTOLEMAIC KINGS OF EGYPT. Arsinoe II, wife of Ptolemy II, died 270 BC. Mnaieion or Oktadrachm (Gold, 28 mm, 27.95 g, 12 h), Alexandria, struck under Ptolemy VI and/or VIII, circa 204-116. Veiled head of Arsinoe II to right, wearing stephane and ram’s horn and with a lotus-tipped scepter over her left shoulder; behind, K. Rev. ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ - ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ Double cornucopiae bound with fillet and with two grape bunches hanging at sides. Boston MFA 2293 (same obverse die). Gulbenkian 1080. SNG Copenhagen 321–2. Svoronos 1498–9. A lustrous and exceptional example boldly struck in high relief. Tiny marks on the obverse, otherwise, virtually as struck.
From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, privately acquired from Münzen & Medaillen AG on 28 October 1969 (with photocopies of the original invoice and correspondence between Dr. Herbert A. Cahn and Dr. Hans Krähenbühl regarding the acquisition of this coin enclosed).
A minor detail of these impressive gold coins is the ram's horn, which is hinted at below Arsinoe's ear. It has been suggested that it refers to Arsinoe's association with the ram-god Mendes, as we find it on the Mendes-Stele, where Ptolemy II decrees that a statue of his deceased sister-wife would appear with that of the god in every Egyptian nome. However, the iconography of the Ptolemaic gold coinage was mainly targeting a Graeco-Macedonian audience, which argues for an identification of the ram's horn with that of Zeus Ammon, a reference to Alexander the Great, who had established Macedonian rule in Egypt.