Massive Update to Ptolemaic Coins Online

In 2018, the ANS launched Ptolemaic Coins Online as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded Hellenistic Royal Coinages (HRC) project. Ptolemaic Coins Online (PCO) is an innovative research tool that will ultimately provide wide access to the coins listed in the print volumes of Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire by Catharine C. Lorber, which was published by the ANS, the first attempt to provide a new, comprehensive standard typology and catalogue for the coinage produced by the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt since Ioannis Svoronos’s Τα νομίσματα του κράτους των Πτολεμαίων published in 1904–1908. The print volumes of Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire will eventually appear in four parts: Volume I appeared in 2018 covering the gold and silver coinage (Part I) and bronze coinage (Part II) of Ptolemy I (r. 323–282 BC) through Ptolemy IV (r. 221–204 BC). Volume II covering the gold and silver coinage (Part I) and bronze coinage (Part II) of Ptolemy V (r. 203–181 BC) through Cleopatra VII (r. 51–30 BC) is expected to appear in print by the end of 2021. The newly updated version of PCO, released on April 24, 2020, now includes the typology of the bronze coinages found in Volume I, Part II of Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire, in addition to the gold and silver coinages found in Volume I, Part I.

Bronze Drachma of Ptolemy III Euergetes, Alexandria, 246 – 222 BC. ANS 1929.66.21.

As part of the new update, examples of 590 Ptolemaic bronze coins from the ANS collection have been added to PCO, bringing the total number of available examples of all coins on PCO to 3,200 from 12 museums located around the world.

The inclusion of these Ptolemaic bronzes into PCO marks a major step forward for researchers worldwide since these coins remain some of the least understood coinages from antiquity. For researchers to have open access to a modern typology and to be able to see examples of the coins from collections around the world will undoubtedly help further our understanding of them.

For those interested in the technical aspects of this update, see the post by ANS’s Director of Data Science, Ethan Gruber, on the Numishare blog.