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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Asian Coins| ▸ |Sasanian Empire||View Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Sasanian Empire, 224 - 651 A.D.

With the overthrow of the Parthians in 224, Ardashir I founded the Sasanian Empire which was for over four centuries, alongside the Roman-Byzantine Empire, one of the main powers in Western and Central Asia. At its greatest extent, the Sassanid Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Israel), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), the Persian Gulf countries, Yemen, Oman and Pakistan. It was overthrown by the Rashidun Caliphate in 651. Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in architecture, poetry, etc. was conveyed to the Muslim world by the Sassanids.


Sasanian Empire, Ardashir I, 224 - 241 A.D.

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SH46230. Billon tetradrachm, Göbl II/5 and pl. 1, 7; Mitchiner ACW 784 - 786, VF, porous, weight 12.263 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 270o, Ctesiphon mint, obverse Pahlavi legend, "MaZDISN BaGi ARTaHShATER MaLKAN MaLKA AIRAN" (of the Worshipper of Mazda, the Divine Ardashir, King of Kings or Iran); cuirassed bust of Ardashir right with long beard, Parthian-style headdress with ear flaps; reverse Pahlavi legend, "NURA ZI ARTaHShaTR" (Fire of Ardashir), fire-altar without attendants; rare in this condition; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Ardashir I, 224 - 241 A.D.

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SH46231. Silver drachm, SNS I type IIIa/3a, 50 - 51; Göbl SN III/2/2, 9; Mitchiner ACW 789 - 790, gVF, weight 4.245 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 270o, "C" mint, Phase 3, c. 228 - 239 A.D.; obverse Pahlavi legend: Lord Ardashir, King of Kings of the Iranians whose image is from the Gods, bust of Ardashir right with long beard and hair over shoulders, close fitting headdress with korymbos above, no ear flaps, ties flying behind; reverse Pahlavi legend: Fire of Ardashir, fire-altar without attendants; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Vahram V (Bahram Gor), 420 - 438 A.D.

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"This is the son of Yazdagard I (also known as Izgader Malka mentioned in the Talmud). Yazdagard was know to be friendly to the Jewish citizens of his land. According to Sassanian and Pahlavian literature King Yazdagard married the daughter of the exilarch (resh galuta), who was a high government official and the de-facto leader of the Jewish community in the diaspora. In effect this made Varhran V a Jewish Sassanian King!" -- Isadore Goldstein, Zuzim Inc.
WA73352. Silver drachm, SNS Ib1/2 KL, Göbl SN I/2, Choice EF, bold strike with no flat spots, excellent metal, weight 4.159 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 45o, Kirman province (in or near Shirajan?), KL mint, 420 - 438 A.D.; obverse bust of Vahram right, wearing mural crown with korymbos set on crescent, floral decoration on lower bust; reverse fire altar with ribbons, flanked by two attendants, head of Vahram right in altar, mint signature downward on right; ex Zuzim Inc.; scarce; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Levantine Occupation, 610 - 629 A.D., Imitative of Heraclius with Heraclius Constantine

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In 604, Khusro II personnally led the siege of Dara, Mesopotamia. Because they resisted, the inhabitants were slaughtered and everything of value was carried off to Persia. This warning was somewhat sufficient; other cities including Antioch (610), Emesa (611), and Damascus (613) surrendered under terms and opened their gates. When Jerusalem was taken in May 614, tens of thousands were massacred and the True cross was taken. In 619 when Alexandria surrendered after a long siege, the young men and monks were massacred. Evidence suggests, however, that Persians allowed the local adminstrations to resume control of these cities after the initial slaughter and looting. This type was likely struck by civic authorities for local use in one of the Levantine cities during the Sasanian Occupation.
BZ65350. Bronze follis, Imitative of Heraclius with Heraclius Constantine; Pottier p. 140, 4, pl. XVI, AA3-4; CNG e-auction 217, 461, aVF, crude barbaric style, weight 13.560 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 135o, 610 - 629 A.D.; obverse NOCVΛ-PTCNC (or similar, blundered), two imperial figures standing facing in very crude style, each holding cruciform scepter in right, cross above center; reverse large M (40 nummi), ANN left, G/II right, ONIX in exergue (all N's reversed); unusual and rare; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Shapur I, 241 - 272 A.D.

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In 260 A.D., after four years of war the Roman emperor Valerian arranged for peace talks with Sapor. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian emperor and was never seen again. In Rome it was rumored that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool.
AW46234. Silver hemidrachm, Göbl I/1, Saeedi 91, VF, weight 2.092 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 90o, obverse Pahlavi legend: Mazda-worshipping, Lord Shapur, King of Kings of the Iranians, whose image is from the Gods; king bust right wearing a crown with merlons and earflaps, surmounted by the korymbos; reverse Pahlavi legend: Fire of Sabuhr, fire altar with two attendants; scarce; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Levantine Occupation, 610 - 629 A.D., Imitative of Heraclius with Heraclius Constantine

Click for a larger photo
In 604, Khusro II personnally led the siege of Dara, Mesopotamia. Because they resisted, the inhabitants were slaughtered and everything of value was carried off to Persia. This warning was somewhat sufficient; other cities including Antioch (610), Emesa (611), and Damascus (613) surrendered under terms and opened their gates. When Jerusalem was taken in May 614, tens of thousands were massacred and the True cross was taken. In 619 when Alexandria surrendered after a long siege, the young men and monks were massacred. Evidence suggests, however, that Persians allowed the local adminstrations to resume control of these cities after the initial slaughter and looting. This type was likely struck by civic authorities for local use in one of the Levantine cities during the Sasanian Occupation.
BZ65330. Bronze follis, Imitative of Heraclius with Heraclius Constantine; CNG e-auction 217, 460 (same obverse die); cf. Pottier p. 140, 4, pl. XVII, Pottier AA3-6, VF, nice desert patina, weight 11.641 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 315o, 610 - 629 A.D.; obverse two imperial figures standing facing in very crude style, each holding cruciform scepter in right, cross above center; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, A below, blundered legend and mintmark; unusual and rare; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Shapur I, 241 - 272 A.D.

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In 260 A.D., after four years of war the Roman emperor Valerian arranged for peace talks with Sapor. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian emperor and was never seen again. In Rome it was rumored that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool.
SH30427. Silver drachm, Mitchiner ACW 811 - 819, Choice VF, weight 4.292 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 270o, obverse king bust right wearing a crown with merlons and earflaps; reverse fire altar with two attendants; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Ardashir I, 224 - 241 A.D.

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AW46232. Silver hemidrachm, SNS I type IIIa/3b, 35, Göbl SN III/2/2, 11; Mitchiner ACW 796 - 798, VF, weight 2.044 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 270o, "C" mint, Phase 3, c. 228 - 239 A.D.; obverse Pahlavi legend: Lord Ardashir, King of Kings of the Iranians whose image is from the Gods, bust of Ardashir right with long beard and hair over shoulders, close fitting headdress with korymbos above, no ear flaps; reverse Pahlavi legend: Fire of Ardashir, fire-altar without attendants; SOLD


Islamic, Arab-Sasanian, Anonymous in the name of Khusro II, 660 A.D.

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After the Arabs annexed the former Sasanian lands in 651 A.D., at first they continued to issue coins with the types of the last Sasanian king Yazdgard III, dated PYE year 20. From PYE 21 to PYE 60 they issued coins of this type, imitative of the earlier Sasanian king, Khusro II.

The variations on this coin are not found on other examples of this type known to Forum.

The WYH mint is extremely common for Sasanian coins but Album notes it is very rare for Arab-Sasanian coins.

AW46251. Silver drachm, cf. Mitchiner ACW 1344 - 1346 (various mints and dates, without orb and symbol variations), EF, weight 3.847 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 90o, WYH (Bihqubadh) mint, PYE year 29, 660 A.D.; obverse Pahlavi legend: Khusro may his glory increase; praise (in outer margin), crowned bust of king right, orb vice star on top of crown, double circle around, three crescents with star and legend outside; reverse fire altar with two attendants, triple circle, three crescents with star outside, crescent and star at bottom replaced by symbol; extremely rare; SOLD


Sasanian Empire, Hormizd II, 303 - 309 A.D.

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AW27778. Silver drachm, Göbl SN I/1a, gVF, weight 4.282 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 90o, 303 - 309 A.D.; obverse eagle-crowned and cuirassed bust of King right; reverse attendants holding swords at fire altar decorated with ribbon, topped by Ahuramazda bust in flames; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Album, S. A Checklist of Islamic Coins. (Santa Rosa, CA, 1998).
Album, S., R. Gyselen, et al. Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Paris - Berlin - Wien. (Wien, 2003 - 2012).
Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. (Wien, 1986).
Baratova, L., N. Schindel, E. Rtveladze. Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Usbekistan: Sasanidische Münzen und ihre Imitationen aus Bukhara, Termes und Chaganian. (Vienna|, 2012).
Curtis, V.S., et al. Sylloge of the Sasanian Coins in the National Museum of Iran (Muzeh Melli Iran), Tehran. Vol. 1: Ardashir I - Hormizd IV. (London, 2010).
Cribb, J. "Numismatic Evidence for Kushano-Sasanian Chronology" in Studia Iranica 19 (1990).
Göbl, R. Münzprägung des Kusanreiches. (Wien, 1984).
Göbl, R. Sasanian Numismatics. (Braunschweig, 1971).
Grierson, P. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection: Vol. 2. (Washington, D.C., 1968).
Gyselen, R. ed. New Evidence for Sasanian Numismatics: The Collection of Ahmad Saeedi. (Leuven, Belgium, 2004).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values: The Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values: The World of Islam. (London, 1977).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values: Non-Islamic States & Western Colonies. (London, 1979).
Pottier, H. Le monnayage de la syrie sous l'occupation perse (610-630). Cahiers Ernst-Babelon 9. (Paris, 2004).
Schindel, N. Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Israel: The Sasanian and Sasanian-Type Coins in the Collections of the Hebrew University. (Jerusalem, 2009).
Tsotsella, M. History and Coin Finds in Georgia: Sasanian coin finds and hoards. Moneta 30. (Wetteren, 2003).

Catalog current as of Sunday, October 20, 2019.
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Sasanian Coins