Auction: 344 - The Numismatic Collector's Series Sale at Grand Hyatt, NY INC
Kings of Egypt. Arsinöe II (died 270/268 BC). AV Mnaieion - Oktadrachm. Alexandria. 27.73 gms. Struck under Ptolemy VI-VII, ca. 180-116 BC. Head of the deified Arsinöe II right, veiled and wearing stephane; lotus-tipped sceptyer behind her head, large "k" in left field, rev. APΣINoHΣ ϕI ΛA ΔEΛ ϕoY, Filleted double cornucopiae, grape bunch hanging from each side. Svoronos 1242, 1394; Olivier Group 7, CNG Copenhagen 321-2, Boston MFA 2293, 2298.
Daughter of Ptolemy I Soter, Arsinöe was wed at age 15 to Lysimachos of Thrace. After his death in 281 BC, she fled to Cassandreia, marrying her paternal half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos for political reasons - they both claimed the crowns of Macedon and Thrace. Their bitter marriage shattered as the power of Ptolemy Keraunos grew. Arsinöe conspired against him and was forced to seek refuge in the Temple Complex, then to Alexandria and the protection of her brother Ptolemy II. Svoronos. There, she is believed to have orchestrated the exile of Ptolemy's first wife, Arsinöe I and their divorce.
With the field clear, Arsinöe II married her brother becoming co-regent. The scandalized Greeks bequeathed the two the epithet "Philadelphoi" (sibling loving). Arsinöe II exerted a powerful influence on her younger brother-husband, while her political role in the Kingdom was unprecedented in the Dynasty. Towns were dedicated to her, she appeared always with Ptolemy II in ritual and public displays, she contributed to foreign policy, and her image appeared on coins. Posidippus of Pella even cites Arsinöe II as winning three chariot races at the Olympic Games, ca 272 BC.
After her death, her devoted husband deified her and began a cult in her honor. Ptolemy II planned an elaborate temple for her, but his own death cut the plans short. The series of posthumous gold and silver coins, though, that Ptolemy II initiated (and later rulers continued), bearing only her image and struck in her name, would serve as a lasting memorial.
NGC MS. Hairlines in obverse field and small ancient graffito. Mint State.
$15,000 to $18,000