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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
3130144
313, Lot: 144. Estimate $100.
Sold for $150. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

HUNNIC TRIBES, Hephthalites. Before AD 700. AR Drachm (33mm, 3.27 g, 12h). Imitating a drachm from the MRW mint from an uncertain year. Crowned Sassanian style bust right; c/m: Sogdian legend / Fire altar flanked by attendants; star and crescent flanking flames. Göbl, Dokumente –; for c/m: Göbl, Dokumente KM79. VF, lightly toned, minor porosity, reverse double struck. Interesting. No MRW (Marw) mint drachms were minted in the name of Khosrau.


In AH 61, Salm bin Ziyad was appointed Governor of Khurasan by the Umayyad caliph Yazid I. Three years later, bin Ziyad was deposed and replaced by ‘Abd Allah bin Khazim. The new governor quickly threw in his lot with the rebel faction led by bin Zubayr, dragging Khurasan into internecine conflict. Meanwhile, the Hepthalites took advantage of Arab distraction and invaded the region. In such a fractured state, Khurasan could not resist the Huns, and the whole of the province fell under Hepthalite control for a brief period.

This coin and related imitations (cf. CNG 60, 1090-6 and the following lot) were struck after the deposition of bin Ziyad in the same Khorasanian locality, by the same Sogdian speaking peoples. The group minting these imitations was plainly impartial to whether the prototype was Sasanian (with Khusro II types) or Arab-Sasanian, imitating either ‘Abd Allah bin Khazim or Salm bin Ziyad. However, the omnipresence of the tamgha and Sogdian legends (in countermark or engraveur) indicates that an association with Sogdian Hephthalite groups is the most important factor in the coins' production and identity.