Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Joseph" on Ancient Egyptian Coins?

Numismatists have long known that the the early Egyptian Pharaohs did not strike coins. Indeed, coins were not struck in Egypt until much later for purposes of trade or to pay foreign mercenaries. In addition to copies of Athenian coinage, Egypt's last native Pharaoh, Nectanebo II, struck one rare gold issue and another rare bronze issue is also sometimes attributed to him.

Under the circumstances, I read with interest reports derived from a major Egyptian newspaper about ancient Egyptian coins depicting Joseph, a major religious figure for Jews, Muslims and Christians. See

This certainly would be a major discovery, if true. But I suspect the objects, which were "excavated" from the basement of the Egyptian Museum, are either outright fakes or are in fact charms that are being reclassified as "money."

We have been told by a number of bloggers associated with Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) that archaeologists care about coins, that they are knowledgeable about them, and that they take the utmost care in keeping records about the provenance of finds. However, I suspect this particular story will not ultimately be used to support those particular claims.

In the meantime, for an example of Nectanebo's rare gold type and some scholarship on the issue, see:

Is it possible that coin dealers could be more educated about ancient Egyptian coins than some archaeologists?

No comments: