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Two Eagles on Ptolemaic Coins as Representations of Co-Regency

Review of Price's suggestion that two eagles indicate a double denomination

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In 1981, M. Price reported his study of the coins from excavations at North Saqqra.  A hoard of 75 coins included two types of two-eagle coins,  i.e., two examples of Sv1423 and fifteen of Sv1424 (see table below).  Price used his view that the two-eagle reverse type is a denominational marker,Origin of the idea that double eagles represent a double denomination  he therefore treated these two types as the same denomination.  Since they had considerable differences in weight, he labeled Sv1423 a "double unit" and the lighter weight Sv1424 a later "reduced double unit"  (i.e., reduced in size and weight but the same denomination).  He assigned other coins in the hoard (Sv1375 and Sv1494) as "unit" denominations of the "double unit" coins.  These relationships and assumptions are shown by the images and given by titles of the coins illustrated in the table.

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  Note countermark in left field as in the die of Sv1424
"double unit"    "unit" (when not countermarked)
Sv1423 (two eagles)   Sv1375 (one eagle)
30.9g, 31mm and 36.3g, 35mm   17.1 - 22.4g, 28-30mm
 
Note cornucopia (from the die) in left field  
"reduced double unit"    "[reduced] unit"
Sv1424 (two eagles)   Sv1494 (one eagle)
16.0 - 28.8g, 30-35mm   7.5g, 24mm and 11.5g, 24mm

Source:  M. J. Price, Appendix J, Coins, in The Sacred Animal Necropolis at N. Saqqra,
(London 1981), p. 160.

 To support his assignments, Price pointed out that all examples of Sv1375 in the hoard had been countermarked with a cornucopia symbol applied in the same place on the flan as in the design of Sv1424.  He suggested that the countermarking  probably represented a reissuing that doubled the original value of Sv1375.  Since coins Sv1424 are almost indistinguishable in size from Sv1375, coins Sv1375 (after countermarking) would then circulate at the same value as Sv1424. Thus, if the countermarking indicates a double unit,  both Sv1424 and countermarked Sv1375 are equivalent "reduced double units" with the same value as the "double unit".

It is important to recognize two assumptions as the basis of the argument that Sv1424 is a reduced double unit rather than simply another denomination, i.e., a denomination with less weight, smaller diameter, and a corresponding lower value.