The last Persian Tetradrachm

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by medoraman, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    So many people know about the tetradrachms the Parthians issued for the Greek speaking population after they took over from the Seleukids. They are a fairly popular coin type to collect. Many might know after the Sassanids took over Ardashir kept producing these. I guess I figured that was the end of it, having never seen anything other than a Ardashir tetradrachm.

    Well, I just bought in an auction that ended a tetradrachm of Vahran II. Evidently the Sassanians kept producing these coins up until his reign, (although in ever decreasing purity and quantity). Having collected these for about 20 years now, I have never seen one for sale. Not only is he the last ruler to strike these, this type is the last type he ever struck, (emperor with queen and "son"), so it really has to be one of the very last ones ever struck. I feel fortunate to ever see one for sale, and now it will be in the mail for me to covet. :)

    Vahran II Tet.jpg

    SASANIAN KINGS. Vahram (Bahram) II, with Queen and Prince?, AD 276-293. Billon tetradrachm (17.46 gm; 27 mm). Veh-Ardashir (Seleucia) mint. Jugate busts of Vahram (Bahram), wearing winged crown with korymbos, and his queen, wearing kolah with boar's head, right, vis-a-vis bust of Prince?, wearing kolah with boar's head, left, holding diadem; three pellets below head of queen's kolah / Fire altar with ribbon; flanked by two attendants. SNS -, Göbl SN –, Göbl –; Saaedi –; Sunrise –; Zeno –. Nice brown-reddish patina. Choice Very Fine. Unpublished and unique. Extremely Rare.
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  3. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Great! Congratulations with your extremely unique addition.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Wow, what a great find/score. Never seen one either, very cool. Congrats, Chris.
  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Roma Invicta

    Very cool coin. You must be very proud.
  6. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Great find! As far as I know, it is doubted that the little figure is a crown prince - scientists now think it is one of the Zoroastrian gods or personifications, like the head in the flames. Anahita or Ahura Mazda.
  7. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I agree. It is still an outstanding debate who each of them represent, ("princes" 1-4). I do believe, though, that the "family" coins with the Emperor, his wife, and a "prince" were the last styles of coins emitted from Vahran II though.
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    It is always good to see the right coin end up in the right collection. I trust this will be a coin still in your hands when you pass on. It is a keeper.

    I have never understood these coins which we call tetradrachms. Mine is an Ardashir and has better billon than your prize but still the metal value is about the same as the silver coins we call drachms. I know they were made for circulation in different parts of the Parthian Empire but there is no way anyone would give you four drachms for a tetradrachm.
    Was the coin heavily contested in the auction or were there few there with a clue what the coin is?
  9. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    I had no idea this tetradrachm existed before I saw it in Par's auction.
    Nice pickup on a true rarity.
    Glad it is headed your way @medoraman
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Spectacular!!! Congrats on the great win. :happy:

    I thought I had won a lovely transitional Ardashir bronze with a great portrait, but someone edged me out in the last second. :(
  11. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I do not think it was contested that heavily. They also had a Shapur tet I would have also got if I was not going to Thailand next month, (and bought a couple of platinum eagles last week).

    I got this one for a lot less than I would have paid, since Vahran II has kind of become a specialty of mine now since I lusted after them for so long.

    As for the test themselves, they started under the Parthians as truly 4 drachma. Over time, I guess the Parthians figured they could "tax" the Greeks and get away with it by debasement. I find them interesting, since it shows the extent the Greeks led a separate life with a separate economy, since if they were integrated into the economy, there is no was a debased tet would circulate alongside good silver drachms. This one is full weight for 4 drachms.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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