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Philip II Philadelphus, Tetradrachm

Al Kowsky

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I recently added a tetradrachm of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, with a handsome portrait of Ptolemy I, to my collection. This coin was really a replacement to a tetradrachm of Ptolemy VI that I sold 12 years ago. This tetradrachm has the mysterious Greek letter "delta" behind the head of Ptolemy, a letter that frequently appears in micro form behind the ear on many coins of Ptolemy I & II. For a long time it was thought that the "delta" letter was a cryptic signature of a talented die engraver, however, this idea has been debunked because that letter has been used on many dies over a long period of time. To this day we still don't know the significance of the letter "delta" on these coins 🤔. One thing is certain, the coins with this letter display unusually fine die engraving.


PTOLEMAIC-EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 285-246 BC (struck c. 274 BC). Sidon Mint. Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemy I, aegis around neck. Reverse: Eagle standing on thunderbolt, translated inscription, "King Ptolemy", Sidon monogram in left field. Svoronos 713. Ex CNG Triton I, lot 630, December 2, 1997.

Pictured below is a tetradrachm of Ptolemy I Soter, 305-282 BC, that was auctioned by a U.K. company on the 1st Dibs website, it sold for $5,000. The obverse has a micro letter "delta" behind Ptolemy's ear. On coins that are weakly struck or have considerable wear this letter may be difficult to spot.


Pictured below is the tetradrachm of Ptolemy VI that Heritage auctioned for me on April 25, 2012. The coin had a long die break from the ear to the back of the head, the reverse was struck off-center, & it had a touch of "horn silver" on the reverse, never the less, it did well at auction, $2,185 😃. This same coin reappeared at auction on December 4, 2013, where it sold for $3,500😲! The Heritage photos were of very poor quality, my photos are below the Heritage photos.


Website members are welcome to post any of their Greco-Egyptian portrait coins ☺️.

I should get in the habit of proof reading these threads 😏....



Edited by Al Kowsky
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2 hours ago, Broucheion said:

Hi @Al Kowsky,

Great coins but a slip of the 'pen' I think. That would be Ptolemy Philadelphos or Ptolemy VI, not Philip.

- Broucheion

Broucheion, Thanks for catching the Ptolemy VI error, I'll edit the thread 😮. Both Philadelphos & Philadelphus are correct 😉.

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