Featured Some recent Roman Alexandrian purchases, including a (worn!) Ant. Pius Zodiac drachm

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    I've bought half a dozen Roman Alexandrian coins over the last few months, but decided to wait until the last one arrived to mention them, so I could post them all together. One is a type I never thought I'd be able to afford except in extremely poor condition: one of the Antoninus Pius Zodiac drachms. The kind I bought (a "Sun in Leo" variety) is clearly the most common, but examples still usually cost more than I'm able to spend. I was able to buy the coin I did only because it's very worn. Nonetheless, the main components of the design are still visible, and there's even enough of the obverse lettering remaining to determine where the legend breaks and be able to assign a Milne number! More importantly, I actually think the green and brown patina is rather attractive. The dealer assured me that there's no active bronze disease, and after receiving the coin I think I can confirm that he was right.

    Here they are, with the Zodiac coin first and then the others in chronological order. Perhaps the reverses are mostly just someone -- or some thing! -- standing or sitting or lying there, but I find them all interesting nonetheless.

    1. Antoninus Pius AE Drachm, Zodiac Series, Sun in Leo (day house), Year 8 (144-145 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑYΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤѠΝƐΙΝΟϹ ϹƐ-Β ƐYϹ (legend begins at 8:00) / Rev. Lion springing right; above to left, bust of Helios, radiate and draped; above to right, 8-pointed star; L H (Year 8) below. RPC IV.4 Online 13547 (temp.) (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/13547); Emmett 1530.8 (ill. p. 74A); BMC 16 Alexandria 1084 at p. 127 (ill. Pl. 12); Milne 1813-1815 at p. 44 (No. 1815 has same obv. legend break as this coin, i.e., ϹƐ-Β ƐVϹ); Dattari (Savio) 2968; K&G 35.278 (ill. p. 173); Köln (Geissen) 1495. Ex. Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger, Auction 428, Lot 555, 28 Apr. 2021; ex. Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün e.K., Auction 79, Lot 1284, 10 Nov. 2020. 33 mm., 20.95 g.*

    Ant Pius zodiac Helios & lion photo from 2021 Busso P. nachf. auction.jpg

    *See explanation at Classical Numismatic Group, Triton XXI Catalog (“The Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection of the Coins of Roman Alexandria,” Jan 9. 2018), Lot 124, p. 68 (available at https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=349280):

    “The Great Sothic Cycle was a calendrical cycle based on the heliacal rising in July of the star Sirius (known to the Greeks as Sothis) and lasting approximately 1460 years. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, in a Golden Age, the beginning of the flooding of the Nile coincided exactly with the rising of Sirius, which was reckoned as the New Year. Only once every 1460 years did Sirius rise at exactly the same time. Thus, the coincidence of this along with the concurrent beginning of the flooding of the Nile gave the event major cosmological significance by heralding not just the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new eon. This event also was thought to herald the appearance of the phoenix, a mythological bird which was reborn every 500 to 1000 years out of its own ashes. According to one version of the myth, each new phoenix embalmed its old ashes in an egg of myrrh, which it then deposited in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis. So important was the advent of the new Great Sothic Cycle, both to the realignment of the heavens and its signaling of the annual flooding of the Nile, that the Egyptians celebrated it in a five-day festival, which emphasized the important cosmological significance.

    In the third year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD 139/40), a new Great Sothic Cycle began. To mark this event, the mint of Alexandria struck an extensive series of coinage, especially in large bronze drachms, each related in some astrological way to the reordering of the heavens during the advent of the new Great Sothic Cycle. This celebration would continue throughout Pius’ reign, with an immense output of coinage during the eighth year of his reign in Egypt, which included this coin type, part of the Zodiac series.”

    I have seen no explanation of why it took five years to issue this series after the beginning of the new Cycle. It should be noted that the Zodiac series is based not on the ancient Egyptian “Decan” system of 36 star groups (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decan), but on the 12 Greek (originally Babylonian) signs, and depicts associated Greco-Roman deities -- although the additional “Zodiac Wheel” coin (see Triton XXI catalog, Lot 124) depicts Isis and Serapis at the center of the reverse.

    In total, according to Emmett, there are 16 basic drachm types in the Antoninus Pius Zodiac Series, all issued in Year 8 of his reign, listed and depicted in Emmett at p. 74A: Ares (Mars) in Aries [ram] (Emmett 1461.8), Aphrodite (Venus) in Taurus [bull] (E. 1450.8), Hermes (Mercury) in Gemini [with the twins represented by Herakles and Apollo rather than the Dioscuri] (E.1576.8), Selene (Moon) in Cancer [crab] (E.1681.8), Helios (Sun) in Leo [this coin] (E.1530.8), Hermes (Mercury) in Virgo [Demeter] (E.1575.8), Aphrodite (Venus) in Libra [female holding scales] (E.1452.8), Ares (Mars) in Scorpio [scorpion] (E.1460.8), Zeus (Jupiter) in Sagittarius [centaur as archer] (E.1693.8), Kronos (Saturn) in Capricorn [capricorn] (E.1598.8), Kronos (Saturn) in Aquarius [youth swimming with amphora] (E.1451.8), and Zeus (Jupiter) in Pisces [two fish] (E.1692.8). There are four additional "Zodiac Wheel" types variously depicting Helios and Selene, Serapis and Isis, or Serapis by himself in the center, surrounded by either one circular band showing the Zodiac, or two bands showing respectively the Zodiac and the five planets together with the Sun and Moon (Emmett 1705-1708).

    2. Nero and Divus Augustus, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 13 (66/67 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Radiate head of Nero left, ΝΕΡΩ ΚΛΑV ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ ΓΕΡ AY; in left field, LIE (Year 13) / Rev. Radiate head of Augustus right, ΘΕΟΣ ΣΕΒΑΣΤΟΣ. RPC I Online 5294 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/1/5294), Emmett 113.13, Milne 251 at p. 7, BMC 16 Alexandria 112 at p. 15, Dattari (Savio) 184, Sear RCV I 2007 (ill. p. 394). 24 mm., 11.6 g.

    Nero-Divus Augustus Alexandrian Tetradrachm.jpg

    [The reverse of this coin would go well in the thread about portraits that look nothing like the person they're supposed to be portraying.]

    3. Trajan, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 15 (111/112 AD), Aexandria, Egypt mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑΥΤ ΤΡΑΙΑΝ Ϲ - ƐΒ ΓƐΡΜ ΔΑΚΙΚ / Rev. Serpent Agathodaemon standing erect right, crowned with pschent/skhent [the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt] , with coils enfolding caduceus upright to left and stalk of corn to right; L - IƐ (Year 15) across fields. RPC III 4586 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/4586) [see also RPC 4646 (https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/4646) (same type?)], Emmett 369.15, Milne 649-650 at p. 19, BMC 16 Alexandria 391 at p. 47, Köln (Geissen) 569-572, Dattari (Savio) 700-701. Ex. Economopoulos Numismatics, Holicong PA, Oct. 2021 (Nick Economopoulos, formerly of Pegasi Numismatics). 24x22 mm., 12.25 g.*

    COMBINED Trajan - Agathodaemon, Roman Alexandria Yr 15.jpg

    *See my footnote on the subject of the serpent Agathodaemon, in my post some time ago about my Hadrian agathodaemon, at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/finally-an-agathodaemon.383883/#post-7779971. Here is the beginning of that footnote. (The two coins are quite similar, as one can see at the link, but I couldn't resist buying the Trajan as well):

    The serpent Agathodaemon or Agathos Daimon -- translated variously as good spirit, noble spirit, or good genius -- was sacred to Serapis, and was worshipped in every Egyptian town. “On the coins he is always represented erect, and usually wearing the skhent, in the midst of corn and poppies, generally with a caduceus, also rising from the ground.” BMC 16 Alexandria, p. lxxxvi. The Numiswiki definition of Agathodaemon, at https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Agathodaemon, states as follows: “Agathodaemon (Greek: ‘good spirit’) was a god of the vineyards and grainfields and of good luck, health and wisdom. It was customary to drink or pour out a glass of unmixed wine to honor him in every meal. He was the spouse or companion of Tyche Agathe (later Agatha). He was represented in art as a serpent or as a young man bearing a cornucopia and a bowl in one hand, and a poppy and an ear of corn [U.S.: grain] in the other. The agathodaemon was later adapted into a general daemon of good luck, particularly of the abundance of a family 's good food and drink.”

    It should be noted that there is a wide variety of coin types showing the Agathodaemon, under Hadrian and other emperors (and empresses) from Nero to Gallienus. For example, the serpent Agathodaemon frequently appears on tetradrachms, diobols, and drachms, and is shown both with and without the caduceus and corn stalks -- and, sometimes, when they are present, with the corn stalks to the left and the caduceus to the right instead of the order shown on my example. The Agathodaemon is also sometimes shown with the head of Serapis, and sometimes appears with the Uraeus snake facing it. As we know, it occasionally appears riding a horse, and there is one variety showing it riding a bull.

    The article entitled “The Agathos Daimon in Greco-Egyptian religion,” by João Pedro Feliciano, at https://www.academia.edu/27115429/The_Agathos_Daimon_in_Greco-Egyptian_religion is quite informative, and it is worth quoting it extensively even though its primary focus is on the Agathodaemon as represented on stelae, reliefs, and statues, rather than on coins . . . . [See link above for remainder of footnote.]

    4. Hadrian, AE Drachm, Year 18 (133/134 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right wearing cloak (paladumentum) and cuirass, seen from behind, AVT KAIC TPAIAN - ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ / Rev. Sphinx with female human head and body of lioness, seated left, crowned with kalathos, wearing long drop earrings, wings curled upwards, tail erect, right forepaw resting on wheel, LI - H (Year 18) across fields. RPC III Online 5915 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/5915 ), Emmett 1053.18, Milne 1427 at p. 34, BMC 16 Alexandria 848 at p. 99, K&G 32.603 (ill. p. 145), Dattari (Savio) 1996, Köln (Geissen) 1134 (same obverse die). Ex. Economopoulos Numismatics, Holicong PA, Oct. 2021 (Nick Economopoulos, formerly of Pegasi Numismatics); ex. CNG (Classical Numismatic Group), Mail Bid Sale 58, Lot 976, Sep. 19, 2001 (ill. at Catalog p. 108). 33 mm., 26.23 g.

    COMBINED Hadrian - Sphinx - Alexandria.jpg

    The coin in hand is actually a bit darker than this dealer's photo; see this photo I took of the reverse of this drachm next to the Zodiac drachm in its tray, to get a better idea of the actual color:

    Sphinx & Sun in Leo in tray 2.jpeg

    The old CNG tag from 2001 came with the coin:

    2001 CNG tag Sale 58 Lot 976 for Hadrian Sphinx Drachm, Roman Alexandria.jpg

    I couldn't find the catalog anywhere online, but I was able to buy a copy for $10.00, so here are the lot description and photo:

    Cropped Hadrian drachm sphinx reverse, CNG Sale 58 lot 976 p, 108, 9.19.2001.jpg

    Next, a goddess standing there on the reverse, but an unusual one who never appeared on Roman Alexandrian coinage before this issue. Plus, an unusually fierce-looking Hadrian:

    5. Hadrian, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 22 (137/138 AD), Alexandria, Egypt mint. Obv. Laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑ - ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ / Rev. Pronoia standing facing, head left, crowned with flowers, wearing long chiton and peplum, holding in outstretched right hand a phoenix standing left, and in left hand a long scepter held obliquely; Π-Ρ-ONOIA; in left field, KB/L (Year 22). RPC III 6252 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/6252), Emmett 881.22, Milne 1560 at p. 37, K&G 32.770 (ill. p. 154), BMC Alexandria 598 at p. 72, Sear RCV II 3747, Köln (Geissen) 1243, Dattari (Savio) 1450. 24 mm., 12.94 g. Ex. Economopoulos Numismatics, Holicong PA, Oct. 2021 (Nick Economopoulos, formerly of Pegasi Numismatics).*

    COMBINED Hadrian - Pronoia (Roman Alexandria Tetradrachm, Yr 22).jpg

    *Pronoia was a minor figure in Greek mythology representing foresight or forethought; see https://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NymphePronoia.html (“HESIONE PRONOIA (Pronoea) was the Okeanid-nymph wife of the Titan Prometheus. She was a minor goddess of foresight”) (noting that the name of Prometheus's wife was sometimes given as Asia). See also Jones, John Melville, A Dictionary of Ancient Greek Coins (London, Seaby, 1986) at p. 197 [entry for Pronoia]: “’Forethought’, the equivalent of the Roman imperial virtue Providentia, personified at Alexandria as a female figure with scepter or phoenix.”

    However, J.G. Milne did not agree that Providentia and Pronoia could be equated, and had a view of the significance of Pronoia’s appearance on this type that I have not seen elsewhere. See the Introduction to his Catalogue of Alexandrian Coins (1971 reprint) at pp. xxxi-xxxii, discussing various personifications, including Pronoia, who were so unfamiliar in Egypt that they had to be specifically named on coins depicting them, such as this type:

    “The majority of the personifications that occur on Alexandrian coins are borrowed from Rome, and show little or no modification of the Roman types. {Names of various personifications omitted.] . . . . It is some evidence of their strangenss to Egyptian ideas that their meaning had to be explained by adding their names in the legends of the coins on which they first appeared . . . .

    There are, however, a few types which seem to be independent of Roman models [discussion of Eleutheria and Kratesis omitted.] . . . . Another special type is Pronoia, who also had to be identified by name whenever she appeared, and seems to have no relation to the Roman Providentia. The figure first appears in the last year of Hadrian, when the meaning is made clear by a phoenix placed in her hand; in the following year, under Antoninus, the phoenix is used as an emblem of the completion of the Sothic cycle which took place in that year [see footnote to Antoninus Pius drachm from Zodiac Series], and so the Phoenix of the earlier year is the anticipation of this event.”

    Finally, a type I've always enjoyed: Tyche reclining on a couch holding a rudder downwards off the edge. Every time I see her that way, I imagine her steering her way leisurely down the Nile:

    6. Salonina (wife of Gallienus), Billon Tetradrachm, 266-267 AD (Year 14), Alexandria, Egypt mint. Obv. Draped bust right, wearing stephane (Milne obv. type t4), KOPNHΛIA CAΛѠNЄINA CЄB / Rev. Tyche wearing long chiton and peplum, crowned with modius, reclining left on couch (lectisternium*) adorned with double garland, resting right hand on rudder, resting left elbow on arm of lectistermium and supporting head with left hand, LIΔ (Year 14) in left field, palm branch in exergue. 23.6 mm., 10.94 g. Emmett 3865.14 (R2), Milne 4140 at p. 99, K&G 91.47 (ill. p. 323), BMC 16 Alexandria 2266 at p. 294, Sear RCV III 10716, Dattari (Savio) 5342, Köln (Geissen) 2982. Purchased from Marc R. Breitsprecher Oct. 2021. Ex. Stack’s Coin Galleries Mail Bid Sale, Nov. 13, 1985, part of Lot 209 (with original coin tag).

    Salonina Alexandria - Tyche reclining jpg version.jpg

    Original Coin Tag:

    Salonina -Tyche Alexandria, Coin Galleries ticket 1985 copy 2.jpeg

    *Definition of lectisternium at https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Lectisternium:

    “Lectisternium, a species of sacrifice, at which, in times of great public calamity, the gods themselves were invited to a solemn feast. Their statues were taken from their pedestals, and they were laid on pulvinaria, or lecti, that is to say, on beds prepared purposely for their reception in the temples, with pillows under their heads, and in this posture they were each day of the festival served with a magnificent banquet, which the priests never failed to clear away in the evening. There were tables set out in all the different quarters of the city, to which everyone, without distinction, was admitted. . . .

    The word lectisternium signifies the act of making or preparing beds. It is derived from lectus, a bed, and sternere, to raise, prepare, and spread. The word also designates sometimes the bed itself, on which is placed the statue of the divinity in honour of whom the above mentioned ceremony of the lectistern was celebrated.” (Emphasis added.)

    Please post your own Zodiac coins, or any other Roman Alexandrian coins you've recently acquired or haven't shown lately, or particularly like.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
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  3. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    PS: This wouldn't fit in the OP, which already had 10 images: it's the listing for the Salonina/Tyche tetradrachm as part of Lot 209 in the Coin Galleries Mail Bid Sale catalog dated 11.13.1985, at p. 23:

    Stacks Coin Galleries Sale 11.13.1985 Lot 209 p. 23 Salonina tetradrachm,.jpg

    I found the catalog online at the Newman Numismatic Portal hosted by the Washington University of St. Louis, a great resource for doing that kind of research.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    The usual, somewhat surreally brilliant stuff, @DonnaML. ...I'm still just processing the old-timey New York provenance.
    But it's compellingly interesting (and really fun) to start to see how the religion was morphing, from Pharaonic precedent (sometimes surprisingly intact), through the Ptolemaic appropriation, to the period of Roman occupation, with the increasingly apparent contrast (thank you, into the early Christian period) between the political presence and the socio-cultural one, closer to the ground.
    But I was wondering about the number of pics you can download here. Where I was was 8. ...Or does it just feel like that? Can you Really do ten ...or do they just really have to like you?
    Marsden and DonnaML like this.
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    It's 10. I have no special privileges, believe me!
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  6. Marsden

    Marsden Well-Known Member

    You can download anything you like. But you can never ...upload more than 10 pics per post!

    (In case it's not clear, I'm just channeling Hotel California here)
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  7. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Nice purchases, Donna. The giant snake and Sphinx are my favorite. :)
    DonnaML, 7Calbrey and Tigermoth1 like this.
  8. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Economopoulos Numismatics: do they have a site or webshop? Only hits in Google are spartan Numismatics who say they are cooperating with agora and pegasi is their parent company. I got confused with them :bookworm:
  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana

    Very handsome sphinx! And I love the colours of the Zodiac drachm. It's almost a certainty that I'll never have the full set, but I'm glad to add to my collection what I can.

    Antoninus Pius - Drachm Zodiac Leo Helios 2248.jpg
    AE Drachm. 24.39g, 35mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 8 (AD 144/5). Zodiac Series. Emmett 1530; Dattari 2968; RPC Online 13547 (31 spec). O: ΑVΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤωΝƐΙΝΟС СƐΒ ƐVС, Laureate head right. R: Zodiac Series, Sun in Leo: Lion (Leo) running right, radiate and draped bust of Helios and star above; L H below.

    Antoninus Pius - Drachm Zodiac Venus in Tarus 3796.jpg ANTONINUS PIUS
    AE Drachm. 21.14g, 33.6mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 8 (AD 144/145). RPC Online Temp #13542; Dattari 2959; Emmett 1450.8. O: ΑΥΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤⲰΝƐΙΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ ƐVϹ, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: Zodiac Series, Venus in Taurus (night house): Draped bust of Aphrodite left; star before her; bull butting left below; L H in exergue.

    Antoninus Pius - Drachm Zodiac Aries in Mars 4274.JPG ANTONINUS PIUS
    AE Drachm. 25.25g, 35.7mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 8 (144/5). Dattari (Savio) 2958; Emmett 1461.8; K&G 35.267; RPC IV.4 online temp 13540. O: ΑΥΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤⲰΝΙΝΟC CЄΒ ЄΥC, laureate head right. R: Zodiac Series, Mars in Aries: Ram (Aries) leaping right, head to left; to upper left, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Ares (Mars) to right; above, star; L H (date) below.
    Ex Rhakotis Collection
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  10. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Well-Known Member

    That's a fabulous series of alexandrian coins you got there @DonnaML with a very informative writeup as ever. Thanks

    Unfortunately, I don't have any of the zodiac series to show

    What I can contribute with, other than the usual suspects, is a Mamaea tet :

    Julia Mamaea, mère de Severe Alexandre ( † AD 235)
    Tétradrachme de l'atelier d'Alexandrie, AD 231-232
    IOY MAMAIA CE MHTE CEB K CT , Buste diadémé et drapé à droite vu par l'avant
    Helios radié et drapé à droite, une branche de palmier dans le champ à droite, LIA dans le champ à gauche (11° année de règne)
    23.5mm - 12.67gr
    Ref : Emmett # 3205/11 (R4), Kampmann -
    From the E.E. Clain-Stefanelli collection.
    Provenance : Naville web auction #37/312

    Edessa, Curtisimo, tibor and 18 others like this.
  11. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    I love those Alexandrian coins where Rome meets Egypt !
    Beautiful Sphinx. Congrats! High on my wish list.
    I have a few drachm and tetradrachm. I picked this one.


    Nero Billon Tetradrachm.
    Alexandria. Year 13 = 66/67 AD.
    26 mm 12,77 g.
    Obv. NEΡΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEΡ AV, radiate bust of Nero left wearing aegis
    Rev. LIΓ to left / ΔIOΣ OΛYMΠIOY, laureate head of Zeus Olympius right.
    RPC I 5297
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  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Donna, It looks like you've been on a safari for Alexandrian coinage & managed to bag some nice ones :smuggrin:. The Hadrian/Sphinx drachm is my favorite & the Salonina Tet has an exceptional portrait :happy:. I sold all my Alexandrian coinage except for 3 Tets, just to narrow my collecting focus. The one keeper I look at most often is pictured below.

    Philip II, Alaxandria, Egypt, Emmett 3593.jpg
    Egypt-Alexandria, Philip II as Augustus, AD 247-249 (struck Year 6 under Philip I, AD 248/9). Reverse: Homonoia. Billon Tetradrachm: 23 mm, 11 h. Emmett 3593.
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  13. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    These astrological series is fascinating. I cannot contribute with any of them, but here are my two favourite Roman Alexandrian coins :

    Hadrien Alexandrie.jpg Hadrian, AE drachm, 32 mm, 20.63 g, Alexandria AD 136/7.
    The Obv. and Rev. legends are all off flan or worn out, which gives the coin a special look...
    Obv. legend probably [ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑΙΑΝ - ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹЄΒ], laureate head of Hadrian, r.
    Rev. : [L / K] A (RY 21: 136/7 AD), facade of Egyptian temple with two pylons, Isis statue holding sceptre above the door.
    Probably a mule : the obverse is RPC III 6211 but the reverse is 6212.

    Gallien Alexandrie.jpg
    Gallienus, AE tetradrachm, 22 mm, 10.36 g, Alexandria 263/4 AD.
    Obv.: AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, draped, cuirassed and laureate bust right seen from rear
    Rev.: Radiate bust right of Helios wearing chlamys seen from rear. L I/A (RY 11: 263/4 AD).
    I do love the baroque style.
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  14. Shea19

    Shea19 Well-Known Member

    Some great new additions, Donna…I love that Hadrian/Sphinx drachm!

    The Hadrian/Pronoia tetradrachm is a very interesting reverse type, here is my example:

    Hadrian, Alexandria, BI Tetradrachm (24 mm, 12.68 g), RY 22 = 137/8. ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙC ΤΡΑ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟC CЄΒ Laureate head of Hadrian to right./ Rev. ΠΡΟΝΟΙΑ / L ΚΒ Pronoia standing front, head to left, holding Phoenix in her right hand and scepter in her left. RPC III 6252.

    I also really like the Nero dual portrait series…yours is a beauty! This Nero with Tiberius was my first Alexandrian coin.
    Nero, Tetradrachm, Alexandria, (22 mm, 13.54g), 66-67 AD, NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY, Radiate bust of Nero to left, wearing aegis; Rev. TIBEPIOΣ KAIΣAP, Radiate head of Tiberius to right. RPC I 5295
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  15. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    That's a tremendous set of coins, Donna - an enviable acquisition! You know, I actually prefer a colorful coin like the AP drachm. Given the choice between a more detailed example with an homogenous patina and your example full of character, I would choose your coin all day long.

    Also, I always enjoy your highly informative posts - always so much to learn!
  16. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    To me, an interesting point of Alexandrian coinage is how varied are the number of types and number of coins seen from ruler to ruler. Leader in the number of really special drachms is Antoninus Pius but a great number of those types are extremely rare or even unique. Specialists show no shame in owning coins with faults or even worn to Good. It simply is not possible to assemble any number of Alexandrian bronzes in high grade. Silver/billon are not a great deal better. Commodus seems to have issued a very large number of tetradrachm types but his bronzes are harder to find. Severans before Elagabalus are similarly proportioned but the bronzes are extremely rare while the silver is only rare. The series ends when Diocletian regained control of the city following the usurpation of Domitius Domitianus but the number of tetradrachms we see for Diocletian and Maximianus seem to outnumber those for the rest of that century combined. It would be interesting to see a study done on the factors that led to the output in terms of coins as a whole and the number of types and denominations. Several rulers have a very limited number of types but those few are very common. Claudius tetradrachms with the reverse of Messalina are common but other coins of his are not. Hadrian issued many types but the one everyone seems to have is the Nilus reclining drachm. Numismatists study 'what', 'when', 'where' and 'how' but 'why' is a harder question.

    Claudius with Messalina

    Hadrian (most people into Alexandrian have a better one than mine)

    My only Commodus bronze is this diobol.

    Commodus tetradrachms are common with only a few like the rather common lighthouse types being popular.

    My only Severan bronze is this Caracalla drachm.

    After the middle of the third century, tetradrachms declined in size and quality of workmanship. The decline was gradual. This Philip I is among the last that I have and consider well made.

    Anyone who collects Alexandrians at all is bound to have a Diocletian billon tetradrachm.

    Some, we will never have. This is a plaster cast of the British Museum Pertinax Junior/Titania tetradrachm gifted to me by the late Roger Bickford-Smith. There are really terrible fakes of these in metal but I feel lucky to have a plaster one. I would love to know with certainty the circumstances that led to the striking of this coin. Assumptions are easy; facts, not so much.
    Edessa, Curtisimo, tibor and 15 others like this.
  17. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Terrific coins and write-up @DonnaML - and everybody else too. As an eBay scrounger, I have found that earlier Roman Egypt material is really hard to find cheap, which means I don't have much pre-Diocletian, and what I do have is pretty rough.

    Here is my most recent example - the seller didn't know what it was, so he listed it cheap (buy-it-now) for under $5. Although it is hard to love, I did find that I liked it far more than I thought I would when it showed up - it's nice and big and smooth. No Zodiac sign or snakes on this one; RPC describes the structure as a "temple (classical) with two columns,":

    Hadrian Æ Drachm
    Year 3 (LΓ) (118/119 A.D.)
    Alexandria Mint

    [ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑΙ]ΑΝΟϹ [ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ], laureate head right, drapery on shoulder
    / Temple with two columns, Sarapis within standing facing, resting hand on shrine, holding sceptre, [L]- Γ (?)
    (15.20 grams / 30 mm)
    eBay Sep. 2021 $4.75 BIN
    Attribution Note:
    Obverse legend [ΤΡΑΙ]ΑΝΟϹ is found on early issues only. Reverse letter in right field has straight back, probably Γ
    RPC III, 5170; Geissen 777; BMC Greek (Alexandria) 2909.

    Serapis in "classical" temple type seems to be scarce; only one in acsearch, though RPC refs. 11 museum specimens.

    While I'm on the ugly side of Hadrianic Egypt, I'd like to toss out a mystery here. A couple years ago my local dealer had some Roman Egyptian stuff in his junk bin (!) which I of course scooped up, junk being irresistible.

    From that batch, this one really baffles me - it might be a fake of some sort, with a great deal of effort put into making it look old. The type/weight/denomination never lined up to anything I could find - my efforts at attribution below the photo:

    Egypt - Hadrian Isis w Sail AZ Sep 2019sun (0).jpg
    Hadrian Æ Hemidrachm?
    (Year 14 / 129-130 A.D.)
    Alexandria Mint

    AYT KAI TPAI AΔPIA CEB, laureate,draped and cuirassed bust right / LI - Δ Isis Pharia standing right, holding sistrum and billowing sail.
    RPC III 5748; Dattari 1753 (?).
    (Lightweight forgery or Diobol?)
    (7.79 grams / 27 mm)
    Attribution Note: Weight is light for hemidrachms of this era, but about right for
    a diobol. No diobols of this type are listed for Hadrian that I could find.

    Any help with this one greatly appreciated!
  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Great coins Donna!. And @zumbly - now I know who outbid me for the Aries drachm in the Leu auction of the Rhakotis collection. Congrats.

    Here are some Alexandrian pieces (10) I have a lot more:








    hadrian_alexandria2.jpg hadrian3.jpg

    Edessa, Curtisimo, tibor and 14 others like this.
  19. Silverlock

    Silverlock Well-Known Member

    I find it amusing when someone’s recent acquisitions are more impressive than my entire collection combined. Very nice additions! Enjoy.
    DonnaML likes this.
  20. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    As I understand it, Pegasi ceased doing business after Eldert Bontekoe died, and Nick Economopoulos, the other partner (or one of them) now operates independently under his own name. But at least so far, he doesn't seem to have an Internet presence and sells only at shows. The person who sold me the three Economopoulos coins bought them from Nick -- along with quite a few other Roman Alexandrian coins -- at a show last month.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
    Roman Collector likes this.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    If it's a fake, it seems rather unlikely that it's a modern one. The only type of Hadrian that seems like it possibly fits is an Isis Pharia hemidrachm. Emmett lists no diobols of that type issued by Hadrian in any year. Emmett lists the Year 14 hemidrachm as the most common of the type.
    Marsyas Mike and Spaniard like this.
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