Numismatic and History Discussions > Parthian and Other Eastern Coins

Elymais Tetradrachm ID Assistance


Virgil H:
I have this Elymais AE Tetradrachm I am trying to narrow down the identification of. I think I am close. I would appreciate some input if anyone can help.

AE 28 mm, 14.99 grams, I have a hard time determining orientation on this one. Degradation of reverses is one of the ways these are cataloged and this one is pretty degraded.and helps place it. The bust on this one isn't bad, but across these coins, busts are all far better than the reverses.

I think this is van't Haaff Type 10 Subtype 3.1-1C. Some concerns and possible issues. For one, the reverse on mine is possibly more degraded than would be indicated. This coin is worn and these often had weak reverse strikes, however.

The image doesn't show it well, but there appears to be a star or pellet inside the crescent. The visible pellet is not what I am talking about. That more visible off center pellet indicates possibly it is a rosette within the crescent, which is Type 10.2. Right now, I am leaning toward worn star, but that other pellet is "not supposed to be there" unless it is part of an otherwise mostly hidden rosette.

The other area is the pellets above the anchor crossbars. There are examples with one pellet. Mine has two and possibly three, third one in middle worn but with naked eye I thought it was three when I look at the coin. I do think the two are correct and the one in the middle is an artifact.

Type 10.4 is a possibility, but none of those have pellets above the anchor.


Hey, Virgil. Nice to see a new post on this board.

Pinning these coins down to a specific van’t Haaff variety is often so challenging, in part because of the wear and weak strikes, but also because Anne’s catalog is, no doubt, incomplete. In recent months I’ve spotted several new Elymaean varieties at auction.

Regarding your coin: I would lean toward it being a worn star, and thus a VH 10.3, within the crescent. I cannot account for the extra pellet at 11:00 within the crescent, but perhaps it’s incidental, just one of the many oddities one encounters within this series.

If the coin were mine, I’d certainly catalog it with a question mark since (1) it is not entirely clear whether we see a pellet or star within the crescent, and (2) the two pellets above the anchor (I don’t think there is a third there) mean that this variety is unpublished. We are dealing with a variant here. I’d go with:

“van’t Haaff 10.3.1-1C var.? (two pellets above anchor)”

Nick Molinari, general editor of KOINON: The International Journal of Classical Numismatic Studies, welcomes submissions for the “Catalog of New Varieties” section that appears in each volume. Volume six of the journal should be printed this winter. Feel free to reach out to Nick if you’d like to see your coin published.

Virgil H:
Thanks for responding, I was hoping you would. I just got a lot of 10 Elymais coins, my first new ones in a while. All common coins from what I can tell, and the rest are drachms. I got it because price was right and it had the tetradrachm that is quite attractive and there are a couple I think are Orodes IV. The others, all common AEs, but with these coins, I don't mind duplicates and perhaps I end up with some new variations. In any case, nice little lot.

I completely agree on your recommended catalog entry, I appreciate that. I may not have been as specific on the variant if I had written it myself, so I do thank you for helping me include valuable information.

I will reach out to Nick and see if he is interested. I did a book review for the last issue and I enjoy the journal. I am going to try one more time to get a better photo, but I think this photo isn't too bad.

Thanks again,


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