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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VIII, Lot: 598. Estimate $10000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 10 January 2005. 
Sold For $11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of PARTHIA. Artabanos "the Younger". Circa April/May-October 122 BC. AR Tetradrachm (15.84 gm, 1h). Seleukeia on the Tigris mint. Diademed bust right, wearing short beard / BASILEW[S] ARSAKOU EPIFANOUS FILELLHNOS, goddess enthroned left, holding Nike, who crowns her with wreath, in extended right hand, and cornucopiae in left; winged Tritoness forms base of her throne; TY and monogram in exergue. Sellwood 23.2; Shore -; De Morgan -; MACW -; BMC Parthia pg. 23, 1 (Himerus?). EF, lightly toned, a few spots of horn silver. Extremely rare and exceptional for issue. ($10,000)

The king following Artabanos I on the Parthian throne was probably his younger son, who inaugurated his reign by striking S23 tetradrachms, perhaps in celebration of the re-imposition of Arsakid suzerainty over the southern and south-eastern satrapies of the empire after the death of his father. This issue had previously been taken to be either the coinage of Himeros, a minion of Phraates II and his appointed governor of Babylonia in 128 BC, or the very first coinage of Mithradates II. However, the significant disparity between the royal portraiture on S23 and that on S24 of Mithradates II, the contiguity of S23 and S24 tetradrachms, confirmed by their common mint magistrate monogram TY (cf. S24.4 and S24.6-7), and the fact that S23.4 bronzes of Mithradates II, dated 191 SE (122/1 BC), depict him fully bearded, led Dr. Farhad Assar to assign the S23 type to a new prince. Dr. Assar has called him Artabanos “The Younger” on the assumption that, apart from the brevity of his rule (circa April/May ­ Oct. 122 BC), one reason for Justin’s conflation of the reigns of this king and his predecessor was that the two kings were homonymous. Like his father, Artabanos I, the young king Artabanos also appears to have fallen in a battle against the Sakae raiders.