Parthian coins "not in Sellwood"

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Alwin, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    I gather all my courage and I take the plunge, it is the first thread that I open.
    As some people know, I have spent much time these recent years in the Parthian coinage. Discovering a Parthian coin which is not yet referenced is a great pleasure, then adding it on (I wish it as complete and accurate as possible for drachms and tetradrachms).

    Below, a drachm of Orodes II of which I know only this specimen:


    ORODES II (57-38)
    Drachm, Margiane or Traxiane
    3.99 g – 18,5 mm
    Obv. Bust to left
    Rev. Incoherent legend – Arsaces seated right – Monogram

    The monogram "N" on the reverse is very different from the N of Nisa. This is confirmed with the effigy, which recalls the S.45 specimens struck at Margiane, and also to a lesser extent those from Traxiane (the eye). The style of the reverse and the legend are also found identically on a drachm S.43.9 from Traxiane (CNG 400, 413).
    By studying these coins, we can verify that the production of Margiane and Traxiane is at least partly to be attributed to the same engravers. This drachm was therefore struck either at Margiane or Traxiane. So why a monogram that looks like an N is one of the countless mysteries that make this coinage so interesting.

    (English translation by Google Trad and me, for complaints write only to Google!)

    Please share your Parthian coins NOT IN SELLWOOD.
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  3. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    Great post, Alwin. I don't imagine that many coins will be added to the thread, however. But we'll see. Here's one:


    Artabanos I
    tetradrachm, 127 - 124 BC
    Sellwood 21.4 variant

    Sellwood does not list the "sub-varieties with a horse head symbol" in the reverse left field. The quote is from CNG's info about this coin. Additional info is here.
  4. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you Bob for this wonderful tetradrachm!


    Same obverse die?
  5. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I have a tetradrachm of Gotarzes II with an unlisted date:
    Gotarzes II tet.jpg
    Parthian Kingdom, Seleucia-on-Tigris mint. AR tetradrachm. Gotarzes II (40-51 AD), dated Apellaios, 355 Seleucid Era (=November, 43 AD). Obverse: Diademed bust of king left. Reverse: Seated king receives diadem from Tyche holding cornucopia; standard legend around "Basilews basilewn/ Arsakou euergetou/ Dikaiou/ Epiphanou philellenou" (King of Kings Arsaces, Benefactor, Just, God Manifest, Friend of the Greeks), in exergue partial month name. Cf. Sellwood 65.1 (month unlisted for this year).

    The date on this tetradrachm of Apellaios 355 SE is two months earlier than the earliest date for Gotarzes II tetradrachms listed in Sellwood, Peritios 355 SE (January 44 AD), which would extend the length of the time period when both Gotarzes II and his brother Vardanes II were issuing tetradrachms from Seleukia. (Note: I initially read the year [the three letters between and above the king and Tyche on reverse] as 359, as the first letter looked more like a theta (9) than E (5). If that is in fact a theta and the date is Apellaios 359, it would still be an unpublished date combination, though it would fit more comfortably in between known dates for Gotarzes II.)
  6. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you Parthicus for this interesting coin. I think you are right with Theta N T.
    You can see also:
    Rauch 98, 183
    Triton XIII, 733
    DBDc80 likes this.
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    How many dies are the with the 'horse' head? Was that designation based on this die or are there other reasons for this name being applied to it?
  8. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    We have: S.21.4 without horse head
    S.21.4 v. With horse head turned to the right (very rare, one die?)
    S.21.4 v. With horse head turned to the left (not very rare)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Thanks. Several of the online coins make the ID of the horsehead obvious.
  10. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    @Alwin : Thanks for the two auction links, I am now leaning towards my coin having a theta and thus 359 rather than 355. Not quite as exciting (it doesn't push back the date of Gotarzes' sharing control of the Seleukia mint), but still pretty cool, and I like this coin as an example of his tets even without considering the date.
  11. DBDc80

    DBDc80 Numismatist

    Very interesting discovery! These small nuances are what make the Parthian series so interesting!
  12. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Excellent writeup about a most interesting discovery @Alwin

    Thanks for sharing this
  13. Hamilcar Barca

    Hamilcar Barca Active Member

    I too am fascinated by Parthian and Sasanian coinage. I have recently acquire some examples of each. They usually quite affordable and look great in a presentation display. I have just begun to study these coins and I thank you for the Parthika link.
  14. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Congratulations, Alwin, on your first post! From someone who hasn't summoned the requisite nerve.
    I can only admire your level of engagement with this series. I know a numismatist and collector (Alan DeShazo) who is this deep into it with Sasanian and earlier Islamic. And, Heck, I lean this way with c. 10th-12th c. European. From here, it comes across a little like holding up that side of the tent, so that the rest of us don't have to. :<}
  15. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Supporter! Supporter

    I would wager a $1 that @Alwin & @Bob L. have a Double Die match Tetradrachm.
    @Alwin being earlier, if that is the right term.
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