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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Armenian Kingdom||View Options:  |  |  |   

Armenian Kingdom

The ancient Kingdom of Armenia existed for six centuries, divided into successive reigns by three royal dynasties: Orontid (321-200 BC), Artaxiad (189 BC-12 AD) and Arsacid (52-428). The Persian satrapy Armenia became a kingdom in 321 B.C. after Alexander's conquest of Persia. Under the Seleucid Empire, Armenia was divided into Armenia Major and Sophene, both of which passed to members of the Artaxiad dynasty in 189 B.C. The Kingdom of Armenia peaked from 83 to 69 B.C., under Tigranes the Great, after it reincorporated Sophene and conquered the falling Seleucid Empire. Armenia was an empire for a brief period, until it was conquered by Rome in 69 B.C. The Artaxiad kings ruled as clients of Rome until, suspected of allegiance to Parthia, they were overthrown in 12 A.D. During the Roman-Parthian Wars, the Arsacid dynasty was founded when Tiridates I, a member of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, was proclaimed King of Armenia in 52. The Kingdom of Armenia often served as a client state or vassal at the frontier of the two large empires and their successors, the Byzantine and Sassanid empires. From 114 to 118, Armenia briefly became a Roman province. In 301, Tiridates III proclaimed Christianity as the state religion, making the Armenian kingdom the first state to officially embrace Christianity. Armenian Kingdom


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes IV and Erato, Second Reign, c. 2 B.C. - 4 A.D.

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This remarkable type was only discovered in 1978. In 2014, one of the best examples to come to auction but still only aVF, realized $12,370 plus fees! In "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions" in AJN 20 (2008), Frank Kovacs convincingly attributes this type to Tigranes IV and notes the view is of Mt. Ararat from the perspective of the city of Artaxata. The beardless portrait fits the youthful Tigranes IV and, although not visible on most examples, the legend on the reverse, ΦIΛOKAIΣAP, refers to the Armenian king's affection for his Roman ally, Augustus.
SH85956. Bronze dichalkon, Kovacs AJN 20 p. 340 and pl. 81, 5; Bedoukian CCA 128 (Tigranes II); Nercessian ACV 122 (Tigranes II); MDHRAC -, F, porous, weak legends not visible - as on most known specimens, weight 4.214 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Artaxata mint, 2nd reign, c. 2 B.C.; obverse ...EME - TIΓPAN (or similar), jugate busts of Tigranes and Erato right, Tigranes draped and wearing a tall Armenian tiara with five point and ornamented with a star; reverse ΦIΛOKAIΣAP (friend of Caesar), twin peaks of Mount Ararat, as seen from the Armenian capital Artaxata, A (regnal year 1) below; extremely rare; SOLD


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes V (Herodian Tigranes I), c. 6 - 12 A.D.

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"The reign of Tigranes V has generally been described as uneventful; his coins are similarly unremarkable. They do not commemorate any historical or military events but merely copy designs common to the Seleucid and autonomous city coinage of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Phoenicia. The standing Herakles/Vahagn, which was employed extensively by Tigranes the Great (CCA, 99-103), would have had particular appeal for the Phoenician population, as well as the Armenian." -- Frank L. Kovacs in "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions"
SH76981. Bronze two chalkoi, Kovacs AJN 20 6, Nercessian ACV 158 (Tigranes IV), Bedoukian CCA 153 (same), VF, superb portrait, nice green patina, old scratch on obverse, weight 5.606 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus(?) mint, c. 6 - 12 A.D.; obverse heavily bearded head of Tigranes IV right, wearing Armenian tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩC TIΓPANOY MEΓAΛOY, Herakles-Vahagn standing slightly left, nude, right hand resting on grounded club, Nemean lion skin draped over left arm; ex Pecunem Numismatik Naumann auction 34 (2 Aug 2015), lot 496 (price realized €522.50 including fees); rare; SOLD


Kingdom of Sophene, Armenia, Arsames II, c. 240 - 220 B.C.

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The Kingdom of Sophene was an ancient Armenian kingdom. Founded around the 3rd century B.C. the kingdom maintained independence until around 90 B.C. when Tigranes the Great conquered the territories as part of his empire.
SH66372. Bronze two chalkoi, Nercessian AC 7; Bedoukian ANSMN 28, 6, Nice F, weight 5.356 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 45o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, c. 240 - 220 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right, wearing flat-topped tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APΣAMOY, Herakles standing facing, extending right hand, club over shoulder in left; very rare; SOLD


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes II the Great, 95 - 55 B.C.

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Tigranes was called "Tigranes the Great" by Plutarch. The "King of Kings" never appeared in public without having four kings attending him. At its height, Tigranes' empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. In 83 B.C., the Syrians offered him the crown and after conquering Phoenicia and Cilicia, he effectively ended the Seleucid Empire. His southern border reached as far as Akko-Ptolemais. The first Armenian ruler to issue coins, he adopted the Seleucid tradition and struck coins at Antioch and Damascus during his occupation of Syria from 83 to 69 B.C. In 66 B.C., Pompey advanced into Armenia with Tigranes' own son as an ally. Tigranes, now almost 75 years old, surrendered. Pompey treated him generously and returned part of his kingdom in return for 6,000 talents of silver. His unfaithful son was sent back to Rome as a prisoner. Tigranes continued to rule Armenia as an ally of Rome until his death in 55 B.C.
SH71010. Bronze chalkous, Nercessian AC 51, Bedoukian 92, MDHRAC 24 (Nercessian and Bedoukian list as a tetrachalkon), VF, nice green patina, overstruck (commonly on a coin of Arados), weight 6.568 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch mint, c. 70 - 66 B.C.; obverse bust right wearing Armenian tiara, five-pointed tiara ornamented with star between two eagles, top extends outside of dot circle; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ − BAΣIΛEIΩN / TIΓPANOY, Tyche seated right on rocks, turreted, holding palm frond in right, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right at her feet below, no letters or monograms in fields; SOLD


Kingdom of Sophene, Armenia, Arsames II, c. 240 - 220 B.C.

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The Kingdom of Sophene was an ancient Armenian kingdom. Founded around the 3rd century B.C. the kingdom maintained independence until around 90 B.C. when Tigranes the Great conquered the territories as part of his empire.
SH66374. Bronze chalkous, Nercessian Sophene 19; Nercessian 9 var. (same head right); Bedoukian ANSMN 28, 8 var. (same), aVF, weight 3.057 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 315o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, c. 240 - 220 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust left, wearing flat-topped tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APΣAMOY, caps of the Dioscuri, two stars above; extremely rare; SOLD


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes II the Great, 95 - 55 B.C.

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Tigranes was called "Tigranes the Great" by Plutarch. The "King of Kings" never appeared in public without having four kings attending him. At its height, Tigranes' empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. In 83 B.C., the Syrians offered him the crown and after conquering Phoenicia and Cilicia, he effectively ended the Seleucid Empire. His southern border reached as far as Akko-Ptolemais. The first Armenian ruler to issue coins, he adopted the Seleucid tradition and struck coins at Antioch and Damascus during his occupation of Syria from 83 to 69 B.C. In 66 B.C., Pompey advanced into Armenia with Tigranes' own son as an ally. Tigranes, now almost 75 years old, surrendered. Pompey treated him generously and returned part of his kingdom in return for 6,000 talents of silver. His unfaithful son was sent back to Rome as a prisoner. Tigranes continued to rule Armenia as an ally of Rome until his death in 55 B.C.
GY13137. Bronze AE 22, SNG Cop 436, cf. BMC Seleucid, 104, 10, SNG Spaer -, F, weight 7.750 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, c. 83 - 69 B.C.; obverse head right wearing Armenian tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ TIΓPANOY, Antioch seated left on rock, turreted and draped, right extended, cornucopia in left hand, ΘE / OΦ outer left; rare; SOLD


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes V (Herodian Tigranes I), c. 6 - 12 A.D.

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"The reign of Tigranes V has generally been described as uneventful; his coins are similarly unremarkable. They do not commemorate any historical or military events but merely copy designs common to the Seleucid and autonomous city coinage of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Phoenicia. The standing Herakles/Vahagn, which was employed extensively by Tigranes the Great (CCA, 99-103), would have had particular appeal for the Phoenician population, as well as the Armenian." -- Frank L. Kovacs in "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions"
SH66377. Bronze chalkous, Kovacs AJN 20 10, Bedoukian CCA 156 (Tigranes IV), Nercessian ACV 166 (same, half chalkous), VF, weight 2.467 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus(?) mint, c. 6 - 12 A.D.; obverse heavily bearded head of Tigranes IV right, wearing Armenian tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩC TIΓPANOY MEΓAΛOY, eagle standing left, wings closed; rare; SOLD


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes II the Great, 95 - 56 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Tigranes was called "Tigranes the Great" by Plutarch. The "King of Kings" never appeared in public without having four kings attending him. At its height, Tigranes' empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. In 83 B.C., the Syrians offered him the crown and after conquering Phoenicia and Cilicia, he effectively ended the Seleucid Empire. His southern border reached as far as Akko-Ptolemais. The first Armenian ruler to issue coins, he adopted the Seleucid tradition and struck coins at Antioch and Damascus during his occupation of Syria from 83 to 69 B.C. In 66 B.C., Pompey advanced into Armenia with Tigranes' own son as an ally. Tigranes, now almost 75 years old, surrendered. Pompey treated him generously and returned part of his kingdom in return for 6,000 talents of silver. His unfaithful son was sent back to Rome as a prisoner. Tigranes continued to rule Armenia as an ally of Rome until his death in 55 B.C.
GB84505. Bronze chalkous, Kovacs 81, Bedoukian 93, Nercessian AC 49, MDHRAC 85, F, overstruck with strong undertype effects, earthen deposits, scratches, a bit rough, weight 7.123 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tigranocerta (near Diyarbakir, Turkey) mint, c. 80 - 68 B.C.; obverse bust right wearing Armenian tiara, five-pointed tiara ornamented with star between two eagles, top extends outside of dot circle; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ − BAΣIΛEIΩN / TIΓPANOY, Tyche seated right on rocks, turreted, holding palm frond in right hand, TP monogram to the left of palm frond and above her arm, A below palm frond, half-length figure of river-god swimming right at her feet below; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; scarce; SOLD


Kingdom of Sophene, Armenia, Arsames II, c. 240 - 220 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
The Kingdom of Sophene was an ancient Armenian kingdom. Founded around the 3rd century B.C. the kingdom maintained independence until around 90 B.C. when Tigranes the Great conquered the territories as part of his empire.
SH67177. Bronze two chalkoi, Nercessian ACV 7; Bedoukian ANSMN 28, 6, F, weight 4.964 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, c. 240 - 220 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right, wearing flat-topped tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APΣAMOY, Herakles standing facing, extending right hand, club over shoulder in left; very rare; SOLD


Armenian Empire, Tigranes the Great, 95 - 55 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Tigranes was called "Tigranes the Great" by Plutarch. The "King of Kings" never appeared in public without having four kings attending him. At its height, Tigranes' empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. In 83 B.C., the Syrians offered him the crown and after conquering Phoenicia and Cilicia, he effectively ended the Seleucid Empire. His southern border reached as far as Akko-Ptolemais. The first Armenian ruler to issue coins, he adopted the Seleucid tradition and struck coins at Antioch and Damascus during his occupation of Syria from 83 to 69 B.C. In 66 B.C., Pompey advanced into Armenia with Tigranes' own son as an ally. Tigranes, now almost 75 years old, surrendered. Pompey treated him generously and returned part of his kingdom in return for 6,000 talents of silver. His unfaithful son was sent back to Rome as a prisoner. Tigranes continued to rule Armenia as an ally of Rome until his death in 55 B.C.
GB32182. Bronze chalkous, Nercessian 94; Lindgren III 964; SGCV II -, aVF, heavy green patina, weight 3.147 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch or Damascus mint, 83 - 69 B.C.; obverse draped bust right wearing Armenian tiara with ear-flaps and ornamented with a star and two eagles; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN TIΓPANOY, cornucopia, overflowing with fruits and bunches of grapes, tied with fillet which hangs below, monogram (P?) and A below; scarce; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Babelon, E. Les Rois de Syrie, d'Arménie, et de Commagène, Catlogue de monnaies grecques de la Bibliothèque Nacionale. (Paris, 1890).
Langlois, V. Numismatique de l'Arménie. (Paris, 1859).
Bedoukian, P. "Coinage of the Armenian Kingdoms of Sophene and Commagene" in ANSMN 28 (New York, 1983).
Bedoukian, P. Coinage of the Artaxiads of Armenia. RNS Special Publication Number 10. (London, 1978).
Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Seleucid Kings of Syria. (Forni reprint, 1963).
Kovacs, F. "Additions and corrections to Armenian coins and their values" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 30/3 (2004).
Kovacs, F. Armenian Coinage in the Classical Period. CNS 10. (Lancaster, PA, 2016).
Kovacs, F. "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions" in AJN 20 (2008).
Mousheghian, A. & G. Depeyrot. Hellenistic and Roman Armenian Coinage (1st c. BC - 1st c. AD). Moneta 15. (Wettern, 1999).
Mousheghian, K., et al. History and Coin Finds in Armenia: Coins from Duin, Capital of Armenia. Moneta 18. (Wetteren, 2000).
Nercessian, Y. Armenian Coins and Their Values. Armenian Numismatic Society, Special Publication No. 8. (Los Angeles, 1995).
Nercessian, Y. "Coinage of the Armenian Kingdom of Sophene (ca. 260-70 B.C.)" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 37.3 (Sep 2011).
Nercessian, Y. Silver Coinage of the Artaxiad Dynasty of Armenia. (Los Angeles, 2006).
Nercessian, Y. "Silver Coins of Artavasdes II of Armenia" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 29-1 (March 2003).
Nercessian, Y. "Silver Coins of Tigranes II of Armenia" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 26-3 & 4. (December 2000).
Nercessian, Y. "Tigranes the Great of Armenia and the Mint of Damascus" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 22-1 (March 1996).
Vardanyan, R. "A Dated Copper Coin of Artaxias II: Evidence on the Use of the Pompeyan Era in Artaxata" in Armenian Numismatic Journal XXVII (2001).

Catalog current as of Friday, December 6, 2019.
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Armenian Kingdom