Question - Is this tetradrachm Ptolemaic or Seleucid?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    This is a head scratcher, at least for me. The reverse legend indicates clearly that the coin is one of the Ptolemaic kings, but I cannot place the portrait.

    This is not an area that I am at all knowledgeable about.

    Can you assist me in identifying the ruler, mint and year?

    Thank you.

    D-Camera  Possible Ptolemy , AR tetradrachm, 9-23-20.jpg
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  3. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I would have guessed Seleucid, not Ptolemaic.
    +VGO.DVCKS and robinjojo like this.
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. I'm having problems matching the obverse portrait with any of the Ptolemies, but the legend on the reverse seems to include "Ptolemy".
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  5. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    I read Ptolemy (VI) Philometor ?
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  6. David@PCC


    Someone that specializes in those can tell exactly which that is, but that coin is NOT Seleucid. Very similar types occur from Sidon and Tyre but with ANTIOXOY or ΔHMHTPIOY ect.
  7. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    It says on the reverse "ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΦΙΛΟΜΗΤΟΡΟΣ ΘΕΟΥ": Ptolemy Theos Philometor. As far as I know there is no Ptolemy who carries both these epithets. I do not even recall any Ptolemaic tetradrachm carrying any of these two epithets on a tetradrachm? Could be fake?

    Definitely not Seleukid with such epithets, portrait does look similar to Antiochos V.
  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter


    This coin I posted seems to be a challenging one to ID.

    It appears, right now, that the coin belongs to Ptolemy XIII (Ptolemy Theos Philometor).

    Is there any catalog reference?

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  9. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    XIII is philopator not philometor. I am pretty sure I have recently seen this exact portrait but it's the section I usual pass. I will remember eventually...
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  10. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    It it a very famous BNF coin. Ptolemy VI. Portrait tetradrachm struck during the Ptolemaic reoccupation of Coele Syria, 145 BCE.

    Reference: Svoronos 1486, pl. xlviii, 19 [2 listed, but only 1 genuine, Paris]. Svoronos 1486β, pl. xlviii, 20, at the Hague, is apparently a cast of the first.

    - Broucheion
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  11. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Wow. That coin is pretty historically significant then and also rare.

    Good catch @robinjojo
    Broucheion likes this.
  12. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi @Magnus Maximus,

    Very significant. Very rare.

    The title should be read as: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΦΙΛΟΜΗΤΟΡΟΣ ΘΕΟΥ. The first word is off the flan (right side). It is an issue of Polemais (Akko).

    This legend is the only Ptolemaic coin inscription that explicitly applies the word 'theos' (god) to a living king but it is partially off the flan, with only traces of the royal title visible. [The gold ΘΕΩΝ / ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ coins of Ptolemy II used 'theon' to describe the divine but deceased couple represented by the busts of Ptolemy I and Berenike I, the 'Theoi Soteres.']

    In 146 Ptolemy VI Philometor occupied the coastal cities of Palestine, ostensibly to support his son-in-law, the Seleucid Alexander I, against the claims of Demetrius II. But an attempt on Philometor's life at Ptolemais caused him to switch his support to Demetrius, probably in the expectation that the young Seleucid would cede the old Ptolemaic province of Syria and Phoenicia. Philometor's issue of a portrait tetradrachm at Ptolemais may indicate that he regarded it as 'dorikteton', a spear-won possession. Lorber argued in a paper about 5 or 6 years ago (the reference eludes me but it is online) that the Ptolemies only issued precious metal portrait coinage in spear-won territories. Thus the portrait coins from Ephesus, and other areas around Asia Minor and the Levant.

    - Broucheion
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  13. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    Lol this one is funny. Obverse is seleukid and reverse look ptolemiac.
  14. David@PCC


    Even though I didn't know of this particular coin, I assumed it was some occupation of Seleucid territory. It would seem this coin marks the brief unification of Asia, so rare and important may be an understatement. Wonderful piece. I'll need to look up the original in the museum.
  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you all for your help. It certainly is an intriguing coin.
  16. Lolli

    Lolli Active Member

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  17. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    I am pretty surprised you -among all- made this comment. How is this a die match, just look at the final "S" in PHILOMITOROS....
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  18. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    The die match was referring to the obverse not the reverse.
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  19. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Indeed this happens when you read too quickly...
  20. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I just want to add that this is not my coin (I wish it was).

    It belongs to an acquaintance of mine.
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