The Ancient Scribe

Examining ancient culture's status in the modern era

Ancient Coins Found in Egypt Sheds New Light on Numismatics

Posted By on May 29, 2010

Ancient Egyptian Coins

Egyptian history dates back to more than 5000 years. Within the duration of Egyptian rule, the emperors issued numerous coins. The designs of their coins reflect their modern and ancient heritage in unison. It was quite amazing when my friend Bob told me about one such supplier who collected 75 different categories of Egyptian coins. These groups of coins comprise of both the un-circulated and circulated coins. It must have taken the person years of effort to come up with this collection of Egyptian coins.

These ancient coins of Egypt shed a new ray of light in the realm of numismatics, and give us more information about the society and culture during the times of Egyptian rule. Very recently, the Egyptian archeologists unearthed an age old Egyptian coin dating back to more than 2,250 years. The culture ministry of Egypt announced that these bronze coins have the image of King Ptolemy III, the Egyptian ruler who ruled from the oasis to the south of the capital.

These coins in the news were found along the northern side of Qarun Lake in the Fayoum Oasis. This oasis lies to the southwestern side of Cairo. My friend, Janice, has a genuine interest in numismatics, and she told me that these coins weighed almost 1.2 ounces or 32 grams each. In these coins, one side features the face of God Amun, while the other side shows the image of King Ptolemy III.

The Ptolemaic Dynasty, ruled from apparently 330 B.C to 30 B.C. Ptolemy III was the last Greek ruler of Egypt before the land went into the hands of the Romans. The archeologists came up with at least 383 bronze coins of Ptolemy’s reign. Amazingly enough, these coins were in great shape. This is something I found most interesting, given the fact that they did not have modern tools to work with.

Among the ancient Egyptian coins, the oldest ones are Attic staters and tetradrachms. These coins had the names and symbols of Alexander. Modified versions of these coins came up in the later times; however, there was not much changes in the weight of the coins. In the later ages, the Rhodian tetradrachms became smaller and finally the Phoenician standard took over the Attic standard. These changes came up once the period of 305 B.C was over. By the end of the third century, the Egyptian accounts mentioned the use of silver coins and copper coins as well. Since Ptolemy Epiphanes’s reign the circulation of copper coins gained in prominence.


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