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Corrected Attribution of the Coinex Hoard

A hoard of ancient Egyptian (Ptolemaic) coins, named the "Coinex Hoard", appeared on the numismatic market in 1992 at the Coinex show in London.  Before dispersal, the contents of the hoard was fortunately recorded and an attribution of the coins was published in 2001.S. M. Huston and C. C. Lorber, 'A hoard of Ptolemaic bronze coins in commerce, October 1992 (CH 8, 413)' Numismatic Chronicle, 2001, p. 11-40.

As usual with Ptolemaic bronze coins, none in this hoard of 164 coins showed any distinctive portrait, legend or date of issue.  Unusual, however, was the presence of a countermark on twenty-one coins of Ptolemy IV (who reigned from 221 to 204 BC);  each of these coins showed a cornucopia symbol that had been applied as a countermark in the left field on the reverse. See an example of one of the countermarked coins in the hoard.

The published study of the hoard showed that the countermarks are the result of a monetary reform that involved the reissue and revalidation of earlier coins.  If the date of the countermark could be established this would also give the date of the monetary reform.

However, although coins in the hoard had been reissued and had therefore been redated to the time of countermarking, the published determination of the date of countermarking did not treat the coins as if they had a new date.  The method used to give a date for the monetary reform was based on the original date of the coins and was not the established method of dating a countermark.  Use of an incorrect method therefore led to an incorrect date for the reform which was said to be before 206 BC in the time of Ptolemy IV.

The date of the countermark should have been determined by the method successfully used to determine the date of many ancient countermarks.C. J. Howgego, Greek Imperial Countermarks,  London 1985.  This method had previously been used to determine the earliest possible date (180 BC) for the same cornucopia countermark that is found on coins in the Coinex hoard.H.-Chr. Noeske‚‘Gegenstempel auf Ptolemäischen bronzemünzen’, MDAI(K), 51, 1995, p. 203.   When the date of the reform is correctly determined from the countermark, the conclusion obtained is that the monetary reform must have occurred, not in the reign of Ptolemy IV, but after 180 BC in the reign of Ptolemy VI with Cleopatra I and, continuing after 176 BC with Cleopatra II.

This web site summarizes the dating of Ptolemaic coins and hoards (Parts 1-2) and applies the effects of a monetary reform to the Coinex hoard (3-4) to give the corrected attribution (5, 5a and b).  The site also reviews the previously published attribution (6, 6a and b).  A summary of methods and results is given in Part 7. 


go to 1 - Dating Ptolemaic Coins   go to 5 - Introduction to the corrected attribution of the Coinex hoard   go to 7 - Summary and comparison of the two different attributions

Copies of a manuscript giving further information about the new attribution are available for reading and/or downloading.

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