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Nezak Huns of Kabul; Drachm of Napki Malka, ca 630-700AD, and other Huns

Started by THCoins, May 05, 2013, 05:52:19 PM

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Agree fully on the attractiveness of this coin !!
As for the possible text legend: sorry, on this photo i can not make anything of it.
Regarding its place and time of origin i would say a Brahmi legend would be somewhat more likely i think.


After a lot of hesitation I decided to buy this coin, for me a new type, a Nezak Hun variant, ascribed to the king of Khorasan, known as Sahi Tigin.
Obv.: bust 3/4 to the right, with a large mustache and remarkable crown. Rev.: bust of fire god Adur in a nimbus of flames.
29 mm, 2,76 gr. Year 77 = probably Post Yazdgard Era, that would mean 727.

This type is known as Tarkhan Nezak, one of the Sahi Tigin types, probably from the early 8th century. I always wonder about the prototype of this portrait, strange and uncouth as it is. It is described in the Hun series of Göbl as Nr. 208, and accordingly with the same type number by Vondrovec (vol. 2, p. 656). See also Zeno 39298.
According to Vondrovec, the Pahlavi text on the reverse says left (year) 77 and  right tkyn' hwl's s'n mlka, 'Tegin King of Khorasan'. But the last text part on the Vondrovec picture is slightly different from the text on my coin. Does anybody read Pahlavi good enough to read this?

The text on the obverse is Brahmi (circular) and Bactrian (in the field, at the right of the bust). The Brahmi text is also a bit different from the plate coins in Vondrovec. I wonder if you can tell me more about the texts on this coin.
-- Paul


Hi Paul,

I have mixed feelings about this one. I very much like this type, but i have doubts about this coin. The general execution of the scripts seems to be a bit sloppy. I think i can read "77" though.
I costs me a bit to much time now to analyse the entire Brahmi script. A thing that worries me is that i can locate the spot which probably should read "Sri ShaHi TiGiNa DeVa", but it is not spelled correctly ?
Would love to hear the opinion of Klaus Vondrovec on this specimen.



Thanks very much. I followed your suggestion and sent Klaus Vondrovec a message through, which is, by the way, a source of many excellent scientific articles about numismatics.
-- Paul


Good idea !
Just compared with this one on Zeno, here the spelling is as what i would expect  :-\


I did not aquire many interesting coins in this category lately, so here just a small "work in progress" post.
These two coins were in a larger lot with copper coins from northern Afghanistan/Pakistan. Actually they appeared no more than slugs without any recognizable detail. I stored them in oil for about two months, with several sessions of brushing in between. And behold, they have started to show some detail. Though they each have just one relatively good side they complement eachother nicely.
It is clear this is a fractional Nezak Hun drachm. On the obverse a portrait of the king. On the reverse the fire altar, where the right coin very clearly shows one of the flanking attendants. 16x14 mm, slightly over 1 gram each.
They will go into the oil again for some months.


Here another one i had not come to photograph yet.
It is a Drachm in the style of Sassanid ruler Hormazd IV struck ca 600-800AD under the rule of the Yabghu of Tokharistan. This is the region around the city of Balkh North-East of Kabul in Afghanistan.
A hoard of these surfaced earlier this year. There was some concern whether these were genuine, because a fairly large amount of die identical specimen. When the prices went down after the first rush i got myself a nice specimen anyhow.
The portrait of the ruler is nicely defined. Also the countermark of the flying camel at the bottom is clearly visible.
32 mm 2.85 grams

Bob L.



As for the Nezak fractionals, I have these two. The left is a smaller AE drachm of 22 mm, weighing 3.51 gr, the right a type that's more like that of yours, but far heavier. It's 17 mm and 4.12 gr.
By the way, Vondrovec never answered my message (maybe he never received it, Academia's ways are long and intricate).
-- Paul


Intersting contrast between these different fractional types !
Your little one probably is not just a different denomination than mine. The hair of the king is different, as is the text in front of the face, so i think this may be different rulers. Your big one is a magnificent specimen ! Again probably of a different type. Do you know what the object in front of the face is supposed to be ? Looks like some sort of jar ? The Tamgha on the reverse makes this an extra attractive specimen to me.


Can any member help with a direct mail address for Mr. Vondrovec?

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


To revive interest in this fascinating thread, here's a very interesting article by Elizabeth Errington, 'Differences in the Patterns of Kidarite and Alkhon Coin Distribution at Begram and Kashmir Smast' (2010), that gives an overview of Kidarite, Alchon and related coins of soutern Central Asia-Northern India, the coins of the 3rd-7th century that were mentioned here. It's on (requires inscribing), where you might find other numismatic articles of interest, too.

It's an essay from Alram's Coins, Art and Chronology II. The First Millennium C.E. in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands. Here's the link.
Several of the abovementioned coins are documented. Elizabeth Errington is on the staff of the British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals.
-- Paul


Thank you for the link, downloaded for future study.

Whilst here I thought I'd post a couple of relatively recent acquisitions.

The first is a tiny 1/6th unit (?), 1.03 gm, 14x11.5 mm. This was one of two items in an Ebay lot claiming to be two Gupta coppers! The other was a brockage of a Byzantine tetarteron of Manuel I Commnenus. My Gobl GIH is packed away at the moment so I haven't been able to look it up, but the reverse seems to be a leopard(?) or lion(?) right.

The second is a standard Napki Malka drachm, but it is struck in the best quality silver I've seen: it is definitely not plated, and the only downside is that the reverse is the usual mishmash of double striking. 2.99 gm, 26 mm.