Featured Varhran II - wanted for decades, and now I have two

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Pellinore, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    At 16 years I started collecting Sassanian coins, and naturally, Xusro II was the first I bought, and then Shapur I, Shapur II, Kavad I, Peroz, and the other common Great Kings that I could afford. They then cost about 35-75 Dutch guilders for a nice drachm. I even had a hemidrachm (100 guilders, about the max that I could pay - forty years ago). But always that fascinating type eluded me, that was only minted under Varhran II (or Bahram, or Wahram), the one with the triple portrait - you all know it well! It dates from 274-293 AD, and the design is unique in world coinage. I think the price was then about 200-250 Dutch guilders of 1976 (a dollar in the 1970s was 3,65 guilders).

    Later, the Great Coin Sleep came over me, the numismatic hibernation that happens when you are pursuing a career. I sold most of my coins and didn't think much about Sasanians for decades. Until the 2010s. My father-in-law possessed two Sasanians (beside various Roman and Greek coins), and we had many a talk about ancient coins. After his death I started to collect again, and I slowly built a new and better Sasanian selection. But the coveted Varhran II kept eluding me, it always was just a bit more expensive than I hoped, or had bid. So when at an auction in December three of these drachms were offered, I bid on two on them to have a better chance. And finally! I won both of them. And I had also won the two other coins I had bid on, medieval Europeans, so - no money to spend on coins for Christmas or New Year. In fact I'm still reeling.

    That's also because this concerns a very old-fashioned (European) auction house that needed exactly six weeks between the auction and the familiar ring at the door: Postman, is that a coin envelope in your hands? It took two weeks before they deigned to let me know what I had won (because I asked), so I could pay - then immediately the whole company took off for a well-earned two-week Christmas holiday. When they had returned, it took them another twelve days before they sent off the argentiferous parcel I pined for. It arrived yesterday.
    Well, here they are, the Varhrans. Both came with an old price tag, dating from about 2000.

    5398 Varhran ii ct.jpg

    Bahram/ Varhran II (274-293), AR drachm. Bust of king to the right with ball-topped winged crown, large pearl-netted hairball in the neck; bust of the queen to the right with boar-head topped cap; small bust of a prince to the left, with eagle-head topped cap. Rev. Fire altar, to the left a symbol (pincers with a horizontal ribbon). The attendants both male, with beard and korymbos, both looking out. 28 mm, 3.98 gr. Göbl type VII/2? Apparently bought in New York, 5.12.1999, USD 200. This coin is in excellent condition, with a bit of golden patina around the pearl rim.

    5399 Varhran ii ct.jpg

    Bahram/ Varhran II (274-293), AR drachm. Bust of king to the right with ball-topped winged crown, large pearl-netted hairball in the neck; bust of the queen to the right with griffin-head topped cap, its mouth open; small bust of a prince to the left, with horse?-head topped cap. Rev. Fire altar, to the left a symbol (wreath with four rays). The attendants both male, with beard and korymbos, both looking out. 27 mm, 4.29 gr. Göbl type VII/1?? This drachm is a bit worn and it lost its lustre, however it has kept most of the necessary details. It cost less than half of the other one. The type is clearly different, otherwise I would sell or swap it.

    In a week or two, I will have forgotten the agonizingly slow auction, and enjoy the beautiful coins. That's how it works...
     

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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Sweet coin, would love to have one of these. Congrats.
     
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  4. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Very nice acquisitions! Also, I liked your use of the word "argentiferous".
     
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  5. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    Congrats, really the summum of the series !
    An Hormazd II to illustrate the plainer family members:
    HormazdII.jpg
     
  6. DCCR

    DCCR New Member

    Nice coins. I bought from the same auction and had a similar experience. I emailed them asking for the invoice and they couldn't even confirm if I'd won the coin, telling me to wait until the invoice arrived by (international) post. They finally emailed it to me with the message that they were all going on holiday that day.

    Not being able to bid live was painful, and having to send them a signed form authorising them to ship the coin was just weird.

    Still, the coins are nice and there's a good chance of getting what you want because the process must put a lot of people off.
     
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  7. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Aha! So you're the culprit!! :shifty:

    (Actually I only bid on the first of the two, and it was nowhere near enough. Plus I did have some luck elsewhere in the auction... just joshin' you. :D)
     
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  8. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Sounds like me OP. I pined for these for years as documented on this site, now own I believe 5 besides my avatar, as well as the rare tet and a couple of bronzes.

    Now wait until you Jones for one of his daddy. And you thought junior was tough to find......
     
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