World Coins

Tyrants of the Nile on display at August ANA event

Historic rare coins of Egypt from the unparalleled Tyrant Collection will be displayed together publicly for the first time at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money Aug. 6 through 10. The exhibit titled “Tyrants of the Nile” includes coins of the ancient world’s most famous queen, the legendary Cleopatra VII.

Tyrants of the Nile is the latest multimillion-dollar exhibition in a multi-year series of educational displays revealing portions of the extensive and unprecedented Tyrant Collection. Owned by Southern California collector Dan O’Dowd, it is described as the world’s most valuable rare coin collection in private hands.

“There will be about 350 coins in this extraordinary, museum-quality exhibit dating from the first coinage of Egypt around 350 B.C. to a 1980 gold coin commemorating the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty,” said Ira Goldberg, President of Goldberg Coins and Collectibles Inc.

Goldberg is one of the numismatic professionals providing guidance in assembling the wide-ranging Tyrant Collection of superb quality, historic U.S., world, and ancient coins.

“The earliest ancient Egyptian coin in the exhibit was issued by the only Egyptian Pharaoh who issued a coin, Nectanebo II, circa 361 to 350 B.C. The Tyrant Collection contains one of the finest known examples of this extremely rare coin,” stated Goldberg.

Among the other highlights of the $5 million exhibit will be:
➤ Ptolemaic Kings of Egypt: Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 to 204 B.C., gold octodrachm, Sidon mint, struck circa 202 to 200 B.C. Only two examples are known and they are among the most spectacular gold Greek coins in existence. “It’s a magnificent portrait work of very skilled master engraver perfectly struck in high relief, a real masterpiece of Hellenistic art. Virtually as struck and almost FDC [Fleur du Coin, or Mint State],” said Goldberg.
➤ Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt: Ptolemy I, as satrap (provisional governor), gold stater, Alexandria, Egypt, mint, circa 312 to 311 B.C. Extremely Rare, one of only six known, and one of only three in private hands.
➤ Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt: Cleopatra VII, archaic silver tetradrachm, year 64 Era of Askalon (41 to 40 B.C.). Unique, unpublished and of considerable historical and numismatic interest. “A marvelous example of Cleopatra’s excessively rare ‘Greek’ silver coinage, and only three other tetradrachms issued by Cleopatra at Askalon are known to exist,” Goldberg explained.

“Cleopatra VII is known today simply as Cleopatra. She was famous for her beauty and complicated relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. There are many legendary stories about her as well as frequent depictions in film and television, but what did she look like in real life? We get an intriguing glimpse of her portraits on these coins,” said Goldberg.

Four coins in the exhibit depict this most famous queen of antiquity. In addition to the tetradrachm of Askalon, a silver diobol and obol from the Alexandria mint in Egypt and one of the finest known of the rare tetradrachms each display magnificent portraits, depicting Cleopatra on one side of the coin and Marc Antony on the other side.
➤ Vespasian with Titus as Caesar, gold aureus, A.D. 69 to 79. Minted in Alexandria after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and extremely rare.
➤ Justinian I, 527 to 565, gold solidus struck at the Alexandria mint circa 527 to 538. Extremely rare and unpublished in the standard references, it possibly is only the sixth known. “This type has only recently come to light and is of great importance. Previously only copper coins of Justinian were known from Alexandria, which feature the mintmark in Greek rather than Latin,” said Goldberg.
➤ Incredibly rare gold dinar of Shajar al-Durr, Queen of the Muslims, Islamic Kingdoms, Mamluks, struck in AH 648 (1250) at the al-Qahira (Cairo) mint. “We have only been able to trace two other examples of a Shajar al-Durr Dinar, one permanently impounded in the British Museum collection,” said Goldberg.

Visitors to the August 2024 ANA Chicago World’s Fair of Money exhibit can receive a free, illustrated educational booklet about this display. Detailed catalogs with information and illustrations about each coin in the Tyrants of the Nile exhibit, including fascinating details about coins of Cleopatra VII, will be available for $10 each.

The ANA Chicago World’s Fair of Money will be held in Hall A of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.

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