PTOLEMAIC KINGS OF EGYPT. Arsinoe II, wife of Ptolemy II, died 270 BC.
Dekadrachm (Silver, 33 mm, 35.64 g, 12 h), Alexandria, circa 249/8-246/5. Diademed and veiled bust of deified Arsinoe II with ram's horn to right, with the tip of a lotos scepter at the top of her head; in field to left, ΩΩ. Rev.
ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ Double cornucopiae bound with fillet and with two grape bunches hanging at sides. CPE 366. SNG Copenhagen -. Svoronos 959 and pl. XXVIII, 22 (same obverse die
). Troxell Group IV, p. 45. Very rare and in exceptional condition for the issue, with a beautiful portrait of the deified queen. Very minor weakness on the reverse and with a few tiny marks and scratches, otherwise,
nearly extremely fine.
From the T. Frisbie Collection and the Robert O. Ebert Collection, Gemini V, 6 January 2009, 691, ex Classical Numismatic Auctions I, 1 May 1987, 101.
After the death of his sister-wife, Arsinoe II, in circa 270 BC, Ptolemy II introduced a new coin worth 10 drachms carrying the deceased queen's portrait on the obverse. This fit in well with the king's coin reform initiated sometime before August 272, which broke away from the monetary system established by his father and was characterized by the regular issuing of high value denominations, such as gold mnaieia (worth 100 drachms) and half mnaieia (worth 50 drachms, see the previous lot). Pieces such as this dekadrachm not only facilitated economic exchange for the elite - through their sheer size and weight, they also provided very tangible proof of the Ptolemies' wealth and splendor.