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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 414. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $1500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of PARTHIA. Artabanos I. Circa September/October 126 - April/May 122 BC. AR Tetradrachm (15.70 gm). Seleukeia on the Tigris mint. Undated issue (circa 126 BC). Diademed bust right / BASI-LEWS ARSAKOU, Demeter enthroned left, holding Nike and cornucopiae, nereid supporting throne; monogram to outer left, horse's head outer left, two monograms in exergue. Sellwood 21.4 var. (no horse head); Shore -; BMC Parthia -; MACW -; Le Rider, Suse pl. LXXI, 6-7 var. (same). Nice VF. ($1500)

During his short four year reign, Artabanos remained chiefly preoccupied with repeated unrest in the southern provinces of Mesene and Elam, and the nomad attacks in north-east Parthia. Although largely successful in extending Arsakid jurisdiction over the southern regions of the empire (confirmed by his S18.2 tetradrachm from Susa and S21 series from Seleukeia), and in pushing the northern invaders as far as Margiane (attested by his S20.5-6, S22.4, and Shore 64 drachms), he seems to have ultimately succumbed to a poisoned arrow he received in his arm while fighting the “Tochari” in eastern Parthia about April or May 122 BC.

The undated S21.4 coinage represented by this example forms the initial tetradrachms issued for Artabanos from the mint of Seleukeia. The two sub-varieties with a horse head symbol indicate that the entire S21.4 issue is a celebratory coinage struck in commemoration of Artabanos’ reestablishment of Parthian control in Media and its projection into Susiana.