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Hunnic, Sri Shahi, Legend in Bactrian - Alkhan-Nezak Crossover - solved

Started by Amit Kher, May 15, 2023, 04:12:01 PM

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Amit Kher

Seller description - Ancient, Kushano Sassanian type, (5th Century AD), Copper Unit,
Obverse: Hunnic bust to right, Reverse: Stylized Sassanian fire altar, Unlisted # in Pieper,

Dimensions:
Diameter: 15.65 mm
Weight: 1.26 gm
Thickness: 1.49 mm

can someone kindly help for a more appropriate id, if possible

tia

Manzikert

This is not Kushano Sasanian at all, but a completely Hunnic piece, Srio Shaho type with a double crescent headdress, c.710-20 AD. Mint is uncertain, but probably Kabul, and by the weight one might expect it to be a half drachm.

There are 'obols' which can vary from c.1-1.5 gm but these usually have a standard in front of the bust whilst yours has the Srio Shaho legend before the bust like the drachms.

I only have drachms and obols so have nothing to compare it to, and I can't get at my Vondravec at the moment, but I should be able to get back to you tomorrow with a better reference.

Alan

Amit Kher

Thanks Alan , will be looking forward for whatever further details you can help with

Amit Kher

#3
Numista has an entry but the dimensions aren't matching -
https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces188214.html

going by weight, it could be a 2 obol coin??
tried searching but couldn't find anything


Figleaf

You are doing the right thing, Amit. Dig as deep as you can and ask for help when you are blocked. I am gratified that you are using the sites of our partners as tools.

Keep in mind I have no expertise on these coins! First, for coins of this period, size is not a good indicator. It becomes important only for coins struck in a collar, a ring shaped die that forms and constrains the "third dimension" of a coin. Weight is always a good indicator, in particular when a type was produced for a very long time. Weight and die linking will connect the coin to time and economy.

Second, I don't know where Zeno got the type numbers in the Keyword field (Vondravec?) The links you mention upthread refer to Type 238, 239 and 239A (it is certainly not 236 or 237). Using the pictures as a guide, I would say that your coin is type 239. If anyone has the book these numbers come from, I hope the differences are explained.

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

Amit Kher

Quote from: Figleaf on May 23, 2023, 01:17:57 PMYou are doing the right thing, Amit. Dig as deep as you can and ask for help when you are blocked. I am gratified that you are using the sites of our partners as tools.

Keep in mind I have no expertise on these coins! First, for coins of this period, size is not a good indicator. It becomes important only for coins struck in a collar, a ring shaped die that forms and constrains the "third dimension" of a coin. Weight is always a good indicator, in particular when a type was produced for a very long time. Weight and die linking will connect the coin to time and economy.

Second, I don't know where Zeno got the type numbers in the Keyword field (Vondravec?) The links you mention upthread refer to Type 238, 239 and 239A (it is certainly not 236 or 237). Using the pictures as a guide, I would say that your coin is type 239. If anyone has the book these numbers come from, I hope the differences are explained.

Peter

thanks Peter, trying my best 😊
will continue to dig; I'm very intrigued by this coin.
Btw what would it mean if I can't find a close match?

Figleaf

Quote from: Amit Kher on May 23, 2023, 09:02:21 PMBtw what would it mean if I can't find a close match?

Nothing. Ancient and medieval coins were struck by hand and dies were not hardened, so lots of dies were needed. Dies were hand engraved by different engravers and in different mints at different times. If two ancient or medieval coins are die identical, even on only one side, it is considered remarkable. An extra dot or a missing dash is nothing special and spelling errors are normal, let alone differences in the portrait.

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

Manzikert

Amit, here is a rather belated reply now that I have had a chance to look at Vondravec.

The nearest I can find is actually the last item in volume I of Vondravec's book, where very confusingly the different types are not in numerical order! It is difficult to be 100% certain, due to the lack of fine detail, but your coin seems to be type 235, which is of an issue from what is known as the 'Alkhan-Nezak Crossover', a period when the power was being transferred from the Nezak Huns to the Alkhan (Alchon) as the latter were migrating into the Kabul/Kapisa and Ghazni area, c.600 AD, and Gobl suggested that these were struck in Ghazni. One of the identifying characteristics is that the king is holding a flower in his hand before the bust, and there certainly seems to be a suitable blob in front of the bust (the alternative would be a sceptre like object).

The 6 specimens he quotes (from a total of a dozen known specimens) range from 0.55 to 1.72 gm, and 14.1 to 16.1 mm. He doesn't state a denomination, just stating 'Ae', as opposed to the billon drachms and obols with these designs (the half drachms have a tamgha on the reverse), so I assume he thinks they are some sort of a fractional coinage.

I attach a scan of the page from Vondravec

Alan

Figleaf

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

Amit Kher

thanks a lot Alan for the details

even if there's not a 100% certainity it's still exciting to at least know which area/ period the coin belongs to

thanks again for your efforts

Amit 

Figleaf

Life very seldom gives you 100% certainty, Amit and numismatics is no exception. Having seen the page Alan posted, knowing that dies had a short life and were hand made in those times and knowing Alan's amazing ability to identify coins, rest assured he got it right. 8)

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

Amit Kher

Quote from: Figleaf on June 07, 2023, 10:05:01 AMLife very seldom gives you 100% certainty, Amit and numismatics is no exception. Having seen the page Alan posted, knowing that dies had a short life and were hand made in those times and knowing Alan's amazing ability to identify coins, rest assured he got it right. 8)

Peter

i was just trying to be modest about my excitement Peter, I've already updated the label on my coin  ;D

Amit

Manzikert

Despite Peter's recommendation I certainly can't claim infallibilty, but I am sure I am fairly close :)

Alan

Figleaf

I know, Alan. You make a small mistake on purpose from to time because being infallible would be blasphemous. ;D

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