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Obol, Samarqand, anon ±100-200 AD

Started by Figleaf, January 21, 2024, 01:42:30 PM

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Obol, Samarqand, anon ±100-200 AD.jpg

One of a series of silver obols, always getting smaller and cruder. The obverse is a portrait left inspired by a drachm of Antiochus with a legend in Sogdian that remains unread. The reverse is a standing archer, knees wide, with bow, inspired by the same Antiochus coin. The head is still visible on this coin. On later types it would disappear; 13mm, 0.42 grams. Samarqand mint. Zeymal 53; MACW 350; Smirnova 535-52; Numista #199190.

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


Nice specimen ! It seems one of those types which begs to form a series of the evolution over time. Luckily these are far less scarce than some decades ago.


This is one of the "larger" types, hence the earlier dates. The smaller ones are usually dated 200-400 AD. It must be quite difficult to separate the two, but that goes for day and night also, even if they are clearly different.

I am getting itchy about the Antiochus inspiration. It's largely the fault of the dot below the upper lip. ;) The seller described the face as "bearded", making that dot the ,lower lip and the line below the beard. I looked at a number of Antiochos (there are many of them) portraits on drachmae, finding all of them had a naked chin, with the possible exception of Antiochos II Theos, though he was shaven on other portraits.

Antiochos II.webp

In addition, all them Antiochi were looking left.

In that process, I checked on archers also, finding they were usually seated.

I am now wondering where the general conviction that the tiny coins were taken from Antiochus came from. Is there actually a Seleucid coin that looks like the Sogdian coin? If so, which one?

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