Kings of Mauretania Denarius Ptolemy / Capricorn - looking for more info

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by guaranaguru, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. guaranaguru

    guaranaguru Member

    Hello forum,
    first post here and a coin collector greenhorn as well, so please be gentle ;-)
    After looking through some thousand coin photographs and descriptions over the last weeks, I decided to go for ancient greeks. Made a modest start with two affordable bronze coins, since I was adviced not to start with decadrachms. Well, the third coin was a step into loftier heights, my first AR and although even smaller a bit more costly. When I stumbled upon it, freshly uploaded in the shop of a renowned dealer, I was (after some research) nearly sure that it wasn´t proper described, because it was labeled Numidia. I could find only a few similar coins of the type, the best one here at a Triton Auction, three other here, here and here. And one or two with far weaker conditon.
    My coin hasn´t such a nice and nearly full legend as the one from Triton, but has a slightly different portrait, which I couldn´t find at all online.

    (by the way: a big thank to Doug Smith for giving great photography advice on his website)

    According to Müller (Numismatique de l’ancienne Afrique) and with some imagination regarding the incomplete legend, it could be Müller 172, since the last half visible letter on the reverse doesn´t look like X or V, more like a single I, without another one next to it. In that case the legend could have been RAVI (maybe too far stretched?)


    Unfortunately - as a beginner - I do not yet own Mazard nor Alexandropoulos, to have a closer look on these. Not to mention SNG Copenhagen.

    I would be very happy about some more information about this coin, which seems quite rare. Any Mauretanian kings around? Photos of your coins highly appreciated...
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  3. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Welcome to CT. It is a very nice first coin, and excellent picture too. I can't help you with your new baby since I do not know much about greek.:( By the way, it would be fun to know where you're from (not your actual address but at least the country or the state). Wish you a long collecting career!
  4. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Yes, welcome to CT!
    I have no knowledge or books on these coins, but it is a pleasure to see someone trying hard to do his own homework before coming to CT for help!
    Keep up the good work!
    TIF and PlanoSteve like this.
  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin and pic, I have an AR of Juba. And welcome to CT. Juba.jpg
    KINGS of NUMIDIA. Juba I, Circa 60-46 BC. Drachm (Silver, 17mm, 3.76 g 12), Utica. REX IVBA Diademed, bearded, draped and cuirassed bust of Juba I to right, scepter over his right shoulder. Rev. (Punic legend) Octastyle temple with a flat roof and a small, central, pedimented tower. MAA 29. Mazard 84. SNG Copenhagen 523. Attractively toned grey. Bankers mark under ear.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
    Alegandron, TIF, guaranaguru and 3 others like this.
  6. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    That's a fantastic Ptolemy of Numidia, Mark Antony's grandson! Congrats! I'm very jealous. Here's one of mine with the write up and history from my forum gallery.

    bare head of Augustus right

    C LAETILIVS APALVS II V Q, REX PTOL (Ptolemy, King) within diadem

    Carthago Nova, Spain, under sole 'duovir quinqunennales' C Laetilius Apalus.

    18.5mm, 5.3g.
    RPC 172.


    Ptolemy of Numidia was the son of King Juba II of Numidia and Cleopatra Selene II. He was also the grandson of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII on his mohter's side. He was named in honor of the memory of Cleopatra VII, the birthplace of his mother and the birthplace of her relatives. In choosing her son's name, Cleopatra Selene II created a distinct Greek-Egyptian tone and emphasized her role as the monarch who would continue the Ptolemaic dynasty. She by-passed the ancestral names of her husband. By naming her son Ptolemy instead of a Berber ancestral name, she offers an example rare in ancient history, especially in the case of a son who is the primary male heir, of reaching into the mother's family instead of the father's for a name. This emphasized the idea that his mother was the heiress of the Ptolemies and the leader of a Ptolemaic government in exile.

    Through his parents he received Roman citizenship and was actually educated in Rome. Amazingly he grew up in the house of his maternal aunt, and Antony's daughter Antonia Minor, the youngest daughter of Mark Antony and the youngest niece of Augustus. Antonia was also a half-sister of Ptolemy's late mother, also a daughter of Mark Antony. Antonia Minor's mother was Octavia Minor, Mark Antony's fourth wife and the second sister of Octavian (later Augustus). Ptolemy lived in Rome until the age of 21, when he returned to the court of his aging father in Mauretania.

    Ptolemy was a co-ruler with his father Juba II until Juba's death and was the last semi-autonomous ruler of Africa. On a visit to Rome in 40 AD he was seen by the Emperor Caligula in an amphitheather wearing a spectacular purpal cloak. A jealous Caligula had him murdered for his fashionable purple cloak.
  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Welcome... excellent acquisition! I can't help with the references, but just looking at the coin, I lean towards it being RAVI, or just RAV even.

    My only one from this family is a Juba II.

    juba ii - new400.jpg KINGS OF MAURETANIA. Juba II
    AR Denarius. 3.14g, 17mm. Iol Caesarea mint, 25 BC - 24 AD. MAA 95; SNG Copenhagen 579. O: REX IVBA, Diademed head right. R: Cornucopia; transverse scepter in background, crescent to upper right.
    Ex Ronald J. Hansen Collection; ex Noble 66 (30 March 2001), lot 3452; ex CNG 319 L149, Jan 2014
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  8. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Though I can't help you with more info, I concur! What a nice coin, and superb photography!
  9. guaranaguru

    guaranaguru Member

    Thank you all for the warm welcome and showing your interesting coins!

    I updated my profile, posting from Germany :)

    This is what got me confused in the first place, the coin was sold as from Numidia. According to Britannica, Ptolemy was born in Numidia, but later called Ptolemy of Mauretania. All the coins I found have been described as "Kings from Mauretania". Except this one.
  10. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Welcome @guaranaguru and congrats on a great coin. I am not able to help on the attribution, but I will share a Juba II, my only coin from this family and another version of @zumbly's coin.
    Juba II Cornucopia.jpg
    Kings of Mauritania, Juba II, 25 BC-AD 24, AR Denarius, Caesarea mint
    Obv: Diademed head right
    Rev: Cornucopia; transverse scepter in background, crescent to upper right
    Notes: son of King Juba of Numidia (see @Ancient Aussie's coin above) who was killed and lost his kingdom with Caesar's victory over the Pompeians at Thapsus in 46 BC. He was educated in Rome and became friend to Octavian/Augustus, who in 25 BC gave his friend the North African Kingdom of Mauretania. He married Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt. They were parents to your and @Jay GT4's Ptolemy.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  11. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Broucheion, Bing and Jay GT4 like this.
  13. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    Am I missing something? I think it's simply different photos of the same coin. It would hardly be the first time a dealer was slow to indicate a sale in an online listing.

    Phil Davis
    zumbly, Jay GT4 and TIF like this.
  14. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    I Agree, but the coin was just listed tonight. So someone doesn't have this coin.
  15. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    Perhaps relisted in error then. Note that the "new" Kunker listing describes the coin as being from Numidia nor Mauretania, precisely the confused attribution pointed out in the OP. I'll need to be convinced that even the best possible pressure cast could so accurately reproduce the corrosion and deposits from parent coin to offspring. Why would a cast duplicate the areas of discoloration at all?
  16. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Oh, I wasn't saying it was cast. I believe it is the exact same coin, but someone doesn't have it, either Kunker or the OP.
  17. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    Ah, I misunderstood your objection. Sorry! Thanks for clarifying. Certainly, we've seen occasions when a second dealer has simply misappropriated a photo and offered for sale a coin they didn't actually possess, but generally that second "dealer" is a fly-by-night con artist no one's ever heard of, not a well-established and entirely reputable firm like Kunker.

    I still think an honest error is the most likely explanation. I predict that the "renowned dealer" noted in the OP turns out to be Kunker as well.
  18. guaranaguru

    guaranaguru Member

    Hi everyone,
    after quite some thought, I decided to return the coin a few days ago. So no error from Kuenker, they took it back in the shop of course. Photos here are my own photos.
    Sorry guys for bringing so much input and in the end it is no longer my coin. But without doubt it is an interesting read.
    It seems I can´t edit my own threads, is there something I should do?
    Thanks everyone.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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