Ptolemaic Kingdom- Ptolemy III Gold Octodrachm NGC AU 5x3

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Ptolemaic Kingdom

Ptolemy III, 246-222 BC

Gold AV Octodrachm

NGC AU 5x3



Ptolemy III Euergetes (Benefactor), the third ruler of Egypt’s Ptolemaic Dynasty and was the eldest son of Ptolemy II Philadephus by one of his early wives named Arsinoe. However, his father apparently abandoned this first Arsinoe to marry his full sister (after the death of her husband Lysimachos), who was also named Arsinoe and is frequently referred to in history as Arsinoe II. Both would be worshipped as living gods. He succeeded his father in 246 bc at the age of 30, wasting no time carrying on his families powerful influence. 

Under the rule of Ptolemy III, Egypt’s realm reached the height of it’s empire expansion and influence. If you were to look at a ancient map, the Kingdom stretched from Cyrene in North Africa to the old capital of Alexander the Great- Babylon in Mesopotamia. Rather than instigate war against old foes, he decided to concentrate on developing Egypt’s economy and its trading partners. A move that other Macedonian Kingdoms failed to foresee as their territories shrank with each civil war. This advantage would further his agenda as a world power, and the stability would solidify the greek families Egyptian footprint for future generations of Ptolemaic rulers.


Surprisingly Ptolemy III never issued a coin in his portrait.The present coin was struck posthumously during his son’s rule- Ptolemy IV. This Gold Octodrachm paid special homage to his dead father, diefying him with three other gods that were worshipped during that period. Found on his coin, Ptolemy III is shown wearing the crown of Hellos- the sun god, the armor of Zeus on his chest, and in the background the trident of Poseidon- god of the sea. 


This coin is beautiful and in above average preservation for being over 2,200 years old. Certified by NGC, this is heaviest gold coin with the highest contemporary value of any coin the world had ever seen. The coin itself weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed 4 to 5 grams. This extraordinary coin was apparently not popular for commercial use, but struck to show how rich and powerful the kingdom was. The coin may have also had a ceremonial function showcasing the Ptolemaic rulers, who were all deified during their lifetime. This denomination is commonly called a Octodrachm or Mnaieion, meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver.

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