Historically important coin recalls troubled king who lost his rule of Judaea
An exceptionally rare coin struck in the year that the boy king of Egypt, Ptolemy V, was defeated in battle and forced to relinquish his rule of Judaea is among the important Greek coins to be sold by specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden. It will be offered on Wednesday June 5, the first of a two-day coin auction in London.
Only one other example of the historically important tetradrachm struck in year seven of Ptolemy V Epiphanes’ rule (198/7 BC) exists. This was the last year of his control in Ake Ptolemais, when he was aged just 12.
The coin’s obverse shows the young king’s diademed and draped bust looking to the right, while the reverse is struck with an eagle standing on a thunderbolt, clearly bearing the mintmark of Ake and the year it was struck. It is estimated at £1,500-2,000.
Ptolemy V began his life precariously, being proclaimed king of a troubled empire at the tender age of five. Following the murder of his mother, Arsinoe III, by two of his father’s advisers, he was raised by one ambitious advisor after another.
Antiochus III of Syria and Philip V of Macedon decided to take advantage of Ptolemy’s weak position, creating a pact to share his overseas possessions between them. Philip seized several islands and places in Caria and Thrace, while Antiochus swept down through Coele-Syria in 202-195 BC in what is known as the Fifth Syrian War.
The Battle of Panium in 198 BC, the year this coin was struck, in which the Seleucid King of Syria Antiochus III took over the area, marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Judaea.
The coin will be on view at Morton & Eden’s London offices at 45 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PE on Friday May 31, Monday June 3 and Tuesday June 4 from 10am-4.30pm or by appointment. Morton & Eden holds auctions in association with Sotheby’s and both days’ sales will take place there on June 5 & 6, starting at 10.30am.
For further information, please contact Tom Eden or Nicholas Mathioudakis, telephone 020 7493 5344 or [email protected]