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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 407. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of PARTHIA. Phraates II. 132-126 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.05 gm). Seleukeia on the Tigris mint. Struck circa 129-128 BC. Diademed bust right / BASILEWS M-EGALOU A-R-SAKOU NIKHFOROU, bearded male deity enthroned left, wearing chiton and kalathos, holding Nike and cornucopiae; two monograms in exergue. Sellwood 17.3; Shore -; BMC Parthia -; MACW -; Le Rider, Suse pl. LXX, 23. VF, light cleaning marks. ($1000)

As a minor son of the Great Mithradates, Phraates II began his reign as a co-ruler with his mother, Riinu. The scanty evidence from this period reveals Phraates’ preoccupation with fighting the Seleukids under their king, Antiochus VII, in the west and the Sacae in the east. However, the presence of silver and copper coins from Susa indicate that he began his rule consolidating Parthian hegemony in Elam; a task that had already started in the closing months of his father’s reign. Although successful against the Seleukids (see below), his struggle against the Sacae was a protracted and severe conflict which began favorably but ultimately concluded in his defeat and death (see lot 410).

The S17 series of Phraates' coinage was issued at Seleukeia in commemoration of his victory over what proved to be the final Seleukid invasion of Parthia. This invasion was launched in the late summer of 130 BC, under the command of their king, Antiochos VII. After initial Seleukid advances, in the mid-summer or early-autumn of 129 BC, the Parthians successfully defeated the invaders and killed their unfortunate king.