Ptolemaic Kingdom Ptolemy II 285-246 BC Gold Octodrachm NGC CHVF RARE Dynastic Portrait

Ptolemaic Kingdom Ptolemy II 285-246 BC Gold Octodrachm NGC CHVF RARE Dynastic Portrait.

When Alexander died in Babylon on 10 June 323 BCE, his corpse, embalmed by a team of Egyptian 

morticians, was placed in an elaborate mule cart for travel back to Macedon in northern Greece for burial with his ancestors. 

Ptolemy (born 367, died 283 BCE), one of Alexander's boyhood companions, trusted bodyguards, and Generals 

seized the body and diverted it to Memphis, capital of Egypt, where he had been appointed /satrap/ 

(governor). Moved to a splendid tomb in the newly founded city of Alexandria, Alexander's body 

became a trophy and symbol of legitimacy for Ptolemy's dynasty. 

This gold octodrachm was struck at the mint in Alexandria in Egypt, under Ptolemy II . The obverse jugate portrait busts are that of Ptolemy II and his sister-wife Arsinoë II (philadelphoi). Both heads are diademed, with that of Arsinoë probably veiled (it is a little difficult to tell). Both busts have a chlamys. The legend within an off-centre dotted border reads ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ (adelphon), a genitive plural meaning ‘of the siblings’. The reverse depicts the jugate busts of Ptolemy I and Arsinoë I (Soteroi), the parents and predecessors of the obverse subjects. Again, both are diademed and are wearing a chlamys. The legend within the dotted border reads ΘΕΩΝ (theon) meaning ‘of the gods’. This coin presents us with two generations of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt represented on one coin. In light of Ptolemaic iconography up to this issue, this octodrachm is unique,

Ptolemaic Egypt was the only Greek-ruled kingdom to strike large quantities of enormous gold coins weighing nearly an ounce. This impressive denomination, today usually called an octodrachm, was worth 100 silver drachms, or one mina, a small fortune in ancient times.


For centuries, this extensive and complex coinage of the Ptolemaic Dynasty has been a challenge for scholars and a delight 

for collectors. 


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