ANCIENT COIN COLLECTORS GUILD

Egypt

March 15, 2022 12:20 PM | Sue McGovern-Huffman (Administrator)

Effective date: December 5, 2016. Amended and expanded effective December 1, 2021

Source: 81 Fed. Reg. 87805- 87809 (December 6, 2016); and 86 Fed. Reg. 68546-68553 (December 3, 2021)..

The Designated List is as follows:

Coins In copper or bronze, silver, and gold.

1. General—There are a number of references that list Egyptian coin types. Below are some examples. Most Hellenistic and Ptolemaic coin types are listed in R.S. Poole, A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Alexandria and the Nomes (London, 1893); J.N. Svoronos, Τα Nομισματα του Κρατουσ των Πτολe μαιων (Münzen der Ptolemäer)(Athens 1904); and R.A. Hazzard, Ptolemaic Coins: An Introduction for Collectors (Toronto, 1985). Examples of catalogues listing the Roman coinage in Egypt are J.G. Milne, Catalogue of Alexandrian Coins (Oxford, 1933); J.W. Curtis, The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt(Chicago, 1969); A. Burnett, M. Amandry, and P.P Ripollès, Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69) (London, 1998—revised edition); and A. Burnett, M. Amandry, and I. Carradice, Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96) (London, 1999). There are also so-called nwb-nfr coins, which may date to Dynasty 30. See T. Faucher, W. Fischer-Bossert, and S. Dhennin, “Les Monnaies en or aux types hiéroglyphiques nwb nfr,” Bulletin de l'institut français d'archéologie orientale 112 (2012), pp. 147-169.

2. Dynasty 30 —Nwb nfr coins have the hieroglyphs nwb nfr on one side and a horse on the other.

3. Hellenistic and Ptolemaic coins—Struck in gold, silver, and bronze at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state. Gold coins of and in honor of Alexander the Great, struck at Alexandria and Memphis, depict a helmeted bust of Athena on the obverse and a winged Victory on the reverse. Silver coins of Alexander the Great, struck at Alexandria and Memphis, depict a bust of Herakles wearing the lion skin on the obverse, or “heads” side, and a seated statue of Olympian Zeus on the reverse, or “tails” side. Gold coins of the Ptolemies from Egypt will have jugate portraits on both obverse and reverse, a portrait of the king on the obverse and a cornucopia on the reverse, or a jugate portrait of the king and queen on the obverse and cornucopiae on the reverse. Silver coins of the Ptolemies coins from Egypt tend to depict a portrait of Alexander wearing an elephant skin on the obverse and Athena on the reverse or a portrait Start Printed Page 87808of the reigning king with an eagle on the reverse. Some silver coins have jugate portraits of the king and queen on the obverse. Bronze coins of the Ptolemies commonly depict a head of Zeus (bearded) on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. These iconographical descriptions are non-exclusive and describe only some of the more common examples. There are other types and variants. Approximate date: ca. 332 B.C. through ca. 31 B.C.

4. Roman coins—Struck in silver or bronze at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state in the territory of the modern state of Egypt until the monetary reforms of Diocletian. The iconography of the coinage in the Roman period varied widely, although a portrait of the reigning emperor is almost always present on the obverse of the coin. Approximate date: ca. 31 B.C. through ca. A.D. 294.

Effective December 1, 2021, the Designated list was amended to add additional categories of Roman Imperial and later coins. Here are the additions.

iv. Roman—Coins of this type are struck in bronze, silver, or gold at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state until approx. A.D. 498. The iconography of the coinage in the Roman period varied widely, although a portrait of the reigning emperor is almost always present on the obverse of the coin. Approximate dates: ca. 31 B.C. through ca. A.D. 498.

v. Byzantine and Arab Byzantine—Coins of these types are struck in bronze and gold at Alexandria, Fustat, and other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state between A.D. 498 and ca. A.D. 696. Iconography may include one, two, or three persons (busts or standing figures); large letters in Latin script (sometimes with smaller Latin, Greek, or Arabic letters along the edge); and crosses, stars, moons, and other symbols.

vi. Islamic/Medieval and Ottoman— Coins of this type are struck in copper, bronze, silver, and gold at Cairo, Fustat, Alexandria, and other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state under the Umayyad, ‘Abbasid, Tulunid, Ikhshidid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman (up to A.D. 1750) dynasties. Iconography is mostly writing in Arabic script, sometimes with stars, circles, flowers, or other ornaments placed at center or among the text, and rarely with human figures or trees

Comment: The current and amended designated list for Egypt ignores the statutory requirement that restricted objects must both be “first discovered within” and subject to Egyptian “export control.” Only coins that “exclusively” circulated within Egypt can meet both requirements, but larger denomination gold and silver Alexander the Great, Ptolemaic and Roman Egyptian, and now Roman Imperial and Byzantine coins from the Alexandria mint that circulated in quantity outside the modern borders of Egypt nonetheless ended up on the 2016 and 2021 designated lists. Proponents may have raised Egypt’s so-called “closed monetary system” under the Ptolemies and Roman Provincial authorities to justify these restrictions, but that system was meant to keep foreign coins "out" and not Egyptian coins “in.” Moreover, the borders of ancient Egypt stretched well beyond its modern borders, and larger denomination Greek and Roman Egyptian Provincial coins with Greek legends are found in quantity well outside of Egypt. The additional concern is that the amendment is the first time that restrictions were explicitly placed on Roman Imperial coins, here coins struck after Diocletian’s reform which were identical to other Roman Imperial coins except for a mint mark. Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a trend to place restrictions on such common coins form other more prolific later Roman Imperial mints.


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