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Month Dated Parthian Tetradrachm

Most of the Parthian coins seen by collectors are silver drachms. The Parthian mint at Seleucia, however, produced base silver tetradrachms for use in transactions with people who prefered this denomination. In place of the archer used on drachms, these larger coins show the goddess Tyche giving a diadem to the king. Around the scene were two lines of legend which never seem to fit entirely on the flan. The inner line at the right is unusual in that it spells out the name of the current ruler (OLAGASOY in Greek) in addition to the dynastic name (ARSAKOY - outer right) found on the drachms.

Volagases IV (147-191 AD) - Silver Tetradrachm - Sellwood 84.13 - November 152 AD

Between the heads of Tyche and the king is the Greek numeral 'Delta Xi Upsilon' or year 464 of the Seleucid era (152 AD). Year dating was common on Seleucid coins but rare on Parthian issues from other mints. Most unusual is the inner line of legend at the bottom: 'APELAIOY' or month of November. While not every month is known, the long reign of Volagases IV produced at least 125 different dated coins. These coins are quite common but not all specimens have centering that will show the month.


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1997 Doug Smith