The ostentatious display of Egypt’s wealth under the Ptolemies was not confined to gold coinage. Ptolemy I and his immediate successors also struck silver coins in larger denominations than any contemporary kingdom or city-state. Along with the vast outpouring of gold in the name of his sister-wife Arsinöe II, Ptolemy II also struck silver decadrachms displaying her veiled portrait backed with the cornucopia, symbolizing Egypt’s agricultural abundance.
This issue was hand struck in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (ancient Roman province Philippopolis). It goes without saying you always get the exact item in the picture.
Upon her death in July of 270 BC, Arsinoe II, the sister-wife of King Ptolemy II, was deified and a cult was established in her honour as Thea Philadelphus (‘brother-loving goddess’). It was a new cult, distinct from the Theoi Adelphoi (‘sibling gods’) cult, which by 272/1 had been established for Arsinoe and her husband. The first honorary coinage for Arsinoe II and her new cult appears to have been silver decadrachms, which were issued soon after her death. Starting in about 261/0, the same types were employed for gold coins that must have been as impressive then as they are today. The largest of these was an octodrachm or mnaieion (one-mina piece) that appears to have been worth 100 silver drachms, and was struck under successive Ptolemaic kings for about 150 years or more. Arsinoe’s portrait is carefully composed to show her royal pedigree and her divinity. While the obverse is devoted solely to the queen, the reverse is dedicated to her sibling relationship with Ptolemy II. The inscription APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛAΔEΛΦOY (“[coin] of Arsinoe, brother-lover”) is paired with a double cornucopiae, which presumably represents brother and sister. As a symbol of bounty and fertility, the double-cornucopia laden with grain and fruit and bound by a fillet is thought to have been a personal badge of Arsinoe II.
Veiled head of the deified Arsinoe right, wearing diadem and stephane; E monogram to left
Double cornucopiae with fruits and grape bunches hanging at sides, bound with fillet; amphora with high handles below
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.