The changes from Ptolomy I Soter on his coinage.
The first coins of Hellenistic Egypt were the well-known Alexander type coins who also circulated among the whole conquered area of Alexander the Great. Most of the coins in Egypt were minted elsewhere but since the 320s B.C. the first local issues in Egypt seem to appear. This was after the death of Alexander the Great and the mint in Egypt was possibly opened on Ptolemy’s orders. The first Ptolemy in Egypt was called Ptolemy I Soter. The transformation of the coins in Egypt was unique in his time and tells a lot about the (wished)status of the Ptolemys in Egypt. The first stage in this transformation started around 319 B.C.
The picture above:
Tetradrachm Alexandria Egypt, Ptolemy I, Svoronos
Alexandria, 305-383 BC, AU(50-53), Silver, Svoronos:107,Diademed head of Alexander right, wearing elephant skin headdress,Athena Alkidemos advancing right; monogram and eagle to right,AΛEXANΔΡOY
The cointype then had the head of the sacred Alexander on it , provided with the horn of Amun and wearing an elephant headdress which identified him as the son of Zeus-Ammon.Slightly other iconographies started to appear since 319 B.C and the name of the Ptolemies appeared on the coins as well in the years after that. Already before the year 300 B.C. the portrait of Ptolemy I Soter was depicted on the Egyptian coins. The new style tetradrachms had the portrait of Ptolemy I Soter wearing a diadem on one side, and a badge with an eagle on a thunderbolt on the other. He didn’t only changed the iconography but also the weight of the tetradrachms from the attic standard to the new Egyptian standard: from 17.2g to 14.3g.
Tetradrachm Alexandria Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter
Weight: 14.93 g
Diameter: 27.80 mm
Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter, Tetradrachm, Alexandria, AU(55-58), Silver, Svoronos:240,Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter (310-305 BC), Tetradrachm, Alexandria, AU(55-58), Silver, Svoronos:240,Diademed bust of Ptolemy right, in aegis,eagle on thunderbolt; monogram & A in left field,Very rare tetradrachm with this reverse, 5 examples known, ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ
AR Tetradrachme 323-305 BC Ägypten, Ptolemaios I. as Governor
Catalog: SNG Cop.855
Material: Silver – Weight: 16.00 g
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Written by Joël van Dam, Owner of Joëlnumismatics.
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