Kyrene, Cyrenaica (Ptolemy Apion Reign)
[B]Kyrene, Cyrenaica (Ptolemy Apion Reign; 104-101 BC.)
[u]Obv[/u]: Diademed bust of Ptolemy Soter, facing right; centering holes; rough/crude flans
[u]Rev[/u]: Libya, facing right; PTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ legend surrouding; centering holes.
[u]Attribution[/u]: no real firm die attribution; series of coinage noted in BMC and Buttrey.
[u]Provenance[/u]: private sale.
[u]Weight[/u]: ~1.25 gm. average
[u]Maximal Diameter[/u]: 11-12 mm range
[u]Note[/u]: The "pitiful" Cyrenaica AE coinage of Ptolemy Apion.
Soter's unquiet career included the loss of Cyrenaica to Apion at some unknown time The general period of 104 to 101 B.C. cited (by Robinson) is elicited from Bagnall (i.e, R.S. Bagnall, 1976. The administration of the ptolemaic possessions outside Egypt, Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 4, 27.). Svoronos was doubtful whether any coinage could be attributed to Apion. But there are late issues of Soter/Libya (Group IX), /eagle, and /Isiac headdress that bear no eponym or monogram and are therefore not likely to have been struck under Euergetes or Soter. They also are of the smallest denomination, and wretchedly made, so that they can hardly fall anywhere else.
Apion's coinage is nothing but very small change. The three types carry on from Soter, and like his fall into two groups. All must have been issued in relatively large quantities. Robinson believed that Soter/Libya IX-E was struck in two denominations, D and E, admittedly difficult to distinguish because of the irregularity of their production. But there seems to be no distinction in style or size of types, and a weight table of the BMC and Demeter Sanctuary specimens falls into a single Gaussian distribution with a peak of about 1.30 gm., so that they must all be module E.
Where a real distinction does occur is in the preparaton of Apion's flans. Soter's Soter/Libya coins had the surface holes, whereas his other types did not; about half of Apion's Soter/Libya still have the holes, his other types do not. If two mints were in operation, there is no way of identifying them, and aside from the holes the small, crude flans seem much alike.
Buttrey (1998). The bronze coinage of Cyrenaica. In The Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene, Libya: Final Reports, Vol. VI. pg. 47.