Parthian and Sassanian Help, Please

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by nicholasz219, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    As mentioned in my ANA post, I was able to pick up both Parthian and Sassanian drachms. I only have a few of these and most of the time I have relied upon the seller's info. But I am trying to learn.

    So, to my expert friends out there, if you can help me in two ways, I would be much obliged:

    1) Are there online versions of Shore and Sellwood anywhere? What else should I be looking at for Parthian and Sassanian coins?
    2) I have these tentatively ID'd as Orodes I and Kavad I. But I don't know anything and some of these guys wear the same hats.

    Any and all help is appreciated. IMG_9584.jpg IMG_9585.jpg IMG_9586.jpg IMG_9587.jpg
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  3. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I don't know of anything that's precisely an online copy of Sellwood or Shore (and that would probably be a massive copyright violation if it existed). But there are some very useful sites I like, in addition to my library of old-school dead tree data storage (aka books): -Your one-stop source for all things Parthian. Includes lots of historical information as well as information on the coins, tons of coin photos, a useful chart correlating all the different attribution systems... spend some time there, you'll learn a lot. Mints -Useful site for reading Sasanian mintmarks (and the various guesses at what those mintmarks mean!) Dates -How to read dates on Sasanian coins.

    Your Parthian coin is Sellwood 31.5 (assuming the star on the tiara has 6 points, which I think it does but it's a little hard to be sure). This type was assigned to Orodes I by both Sellwood and Shore, but Assar's work attributes this type to a previously unknown "Mithradates III (87-80 BC)". (This is of course not the same "Mithradates III" who was the brother of Orodes II and reigned c.58-54 BC.) I recently posted about a similar coin:

    The Sasanian coin looks good for Kavad I to me, though I'm not as sure on my Sasanians as on Parthians. The mintmark is AS (uncertain site in Khuzistan province) and I think the date is Year 15.

    For Parthian ID, nothing substitutes for a copy of Sellwood (2nd edition). Once you've got the correct Sellwood number, then you can use that to look up whether Shore or Assar have modified the assignment of that type to a particular king.

    The best general one-volume book for Persian coins is the Sunrise Collection (Numismatic Art of Persia: The Sunrise Collection Part I: Ancient- 650 BC to AD 650, edited by Bradley R. Nelson). It features an excellent essay by G.R.F. Assar on Parthian coins, and lots of other useful info on Sasanian and other ancient Persian coinages. It's not cheap, but it's easier to find than either Sellwood or Shore and it is well worth the price. (My Cointalk colleague @dougsmit wrote a much less favorable review of the book here. His major concern is that the book is not a comprehensive catalogue of the various coin series, rather it only shows the coins in that one collection. I suppose it depends on what you are expecting when you open the book. It will not show every coin variety, but it does have a lot of useful information and can send you looking in the right direction in more specialized catalogues.)

    Anyway, welcome to the group, and please post more of your coins (especially Parthian and Sasanian ;)).
    Alegandron likes this.
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    Recently Sunrise got cheaper but I do not know if the link posted here is still good. Since the book makes so many changes to the old standard ID's, I would rather see coins added to replace Sellwood. The current best answer is to ID coins by Sellwood number where possible but not be bothered by the current opinions on ruler assignment. Most of the new ID suggestions make sense but the lack of a single, comprehensive catalog makes collecting them harder. Sunrise does not count start rays. Older books have 6 or 8 but now we have seen 7 ray stars. Perhaps it is best not to count unless someone decides it makes a difference as to issuing ruler.
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