CHARACENE. Hyspaosines. Circa 140-121 BC. AR Tetradrachm (15.98 gm). Charax-Spasinu mint. Dated year 187 (126/5 BC). Diademed head right / Herakles seated left on rock, holding club on knee; monogram left, ZPR (date) in exergue. Assar fig. 15 (this coin); Alram 491 var. (different year); De Morgan pl. 49, 1 var. (same); BMC Arabia pl. 54, 1 var. (same). VF, light to moderate porosity. ($1500)
|Sale: CNG 63, Lot: 888. Estimate $1500.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 May 2003.
Sold For $1400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Hyspaosines was the charismatic founder of an Arab principality in Charax (now in southeastern Iraq at the head of the Persian Gulf), with its capital based at the ancient city of Alexandria-Antioch renamed as Charax-Spinasu (probably near modern Basra). Hyspaosines spent much of his reign fighting against the Parthians, allying himself as circumstances dictated with the Elymaeans and the Seleukids. We know from a cuneiform inscription that he extended his control for a time as far as Babylon, and one remarkable and unique coin (lot 887 below), bearing the same magistrate monograms as Phraates II, demonstrates that Hyspaosines took control of the city of Seleukeia on the Tigris (about 30 km south of Baghdad) and struck coinage at its Parthian mint. Apart from this exceptional issue at Seleukeia, his coins were struck at Charax and dated to the Seleukid Era, with the following dates presently known: 184, 187, 188, 190, 191, and 192. All his coins are extremely rare. Hyspaosines died from illness in 188 SE (124 BC), but coins continued to be issued posthumously in his name while his wife served as regent for their young son. For further background and a detailed study of the cuneiform and numismatic evidence, see Dr. G.R.F. Assar, "Recent Studies in Parthian History: Part II," The Celator, vol. 15, no. 1 (January 2001), pp. 17-27, where the following coins are illustrated (but please note that these coins were not from the author’s collection as stated in The Celator).