PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Arsinoë III Philopator. Died 204 BC. AV Mnaieion – "Oktadrachm" (27.5mm, 27.71 g, 12h). Uncertain military mint in Phoenicia. Struck under Ptolemy V, circa 202-200 BC. Diademed and draped bust right, wearing stephanos and single-pendant earring; transverse lotus-tipped scepter in background / APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ, cornucopia, grape bunch hanging at side, bound with fillet; star above. Svoronos 1269 var. (NI on rev.); Mørkholm, Portrait, obv. die A21; Leu 36, lot 218 (same obv. die); otherwise unpublished. Good VF, a few marks. Extremely rare, one of two known.
Ex Vinchon (13 April 1985), lot 421.
This issue was struck during the Fifth Syrian War (202-195 BC). It is the same obverse die as Svoronos 1269, but lacks the NI control on the reverse, which is also present on certain silver tetradrachms issued at an uncertain Ptolemaic military mint in Phoenicia during this period.
In his study of this coinage, Mørkholm argued that most, if not all, of these portrait issues were struck in Phoenician mints, many of the types being die-linked with mint marked pieces from Sidon, and most of the hoards being found in that region. In addition, the interlinking of dies within each series points to a limited period of minting, perhaps for only a few years after 202 BC, when Ptolemy V was fighting a losing battle to keep his Phoenician territories from falling to Antiochos III of Syria. His portrait types, along with rarer types showing his parents Ptolemy IV and Arsinoë III, lent immediacy to the Ptolemaic presence in Phoenicia.