Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich
Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Auction 117

Greek, Roman and Gupta Empire gold coins

Tu, 01.10.2019, from 04:45 PM CEST
The auction is closed.


Usurper King in Parthia, Andragoras circa 245-239/8. Stater circa 245-239/8, AV 8.54 g. Diademed and draped bust of Zeus r.; behind, monogram. Rev. Fast quadriga driven r. by Nike holding kentron and reins; at her l., a warrior. In exergue, ΑΝΔΡΑΓΟΡΟΥ. Gardner, NC 1979, 1 and pl. 1, 1 (this obverse die). Dressel, ZfN 21, 1898, 231 (these dies). BMC 2 (these dies). Mitchiner type 19a, left pictures (these dies).
Exceedingly rare, one of only seven specimens known of which only four are in
private hands. A superb portrait of excellent style and a lovely light
reddish tone. Good extremely fine

From a Swiss Private collection and notarised as being in Switzerland prior to 2005.
The dearth of evidence concerning events in the eastern lands once ruled by Alexander III and his successors has led to much confusion about what followed the Macedonian conquest of the Persian Empire. The gold staters and silver tetradrachms bearing the name Andragoras, inscribed in Greek, are thus imperfectly understood. Since they are objects of such fascination they have been studied intensively ever since the first gold staters of this ruler, purportedly from the Oxus River treasure (IGCH 1822), unearthed in the territory of ancient Sogdiana in 1877, came to light. The staters bear on their obverse a highly individualistic, bearded, draped and diademed portrait of a ruler, behind which is a monogram composed of Greek letters, perhaps HPAI. The reverse shows Nike piloting a chariot drawn by four horses; she is accompanied by an armored figure – perhaps Andragoras(?) – who holds an uncertain object in his raised right hand. The tetradrachms show on their obverse the turreted head of Tyche, behind which is the same monogram as appears on the staters. The reverse shows the standing figure of Athena holding an owl in her extended right hand as she places her left hand upon a Gorgoneion-shield; a transverse spear is engraved in the background. The Roman author Justin, who in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th Century A.D. compiled an epitome of the now-lost 'Philippic Histories' of Pompeius Trogus, offers two possibilities of whom this Andragoras may be, both of whom were satraps of Parthia. He states that the first was appointed by Alexander III, perhaps in 331 B.C., while he was on campaign in the East (xii.4.12). Except for this reference in Justin, there is no reason otherwise to question the testimony of Arrian and Diodorus Siculus, who indicate that Alexander had maintained the Persian satrap Phrataphernes in that position. Indeed, the answer may be that Andragoras is a Greek version of Phrataphernes. Justin's second reference is to an Andragoras who was appointed to his satrapy in the early- to mid-3rd century B.C. by a Seleucid king, seemingly Antiochus II or Seleucus II, only to be overthrown by the Parthian King Arsaces I, perhaps in about 238/7 B.C. (xli.4.7). We must also consider a Greek inscription found at Gurgan, about seventy miles inland from the south-eastern tip of the Caspian Sea, near the western border of Iran and Turkmenistan, which names a certain Andragoras as a high-ranking official under Antiochus I (see J. Wolski, "Andragoras était-il Iranien ou Grec?" Studia Iranica 4 [1975], pp. 166-69). Though there are these three fragments of information to consider, none of them eliminates the possibility that the Andragoras in question was another person entirely, for whom no historical record (other than his coins) survives. The discovery of a new inscription one day may provide conclusive information, but at present it is most frequently suggested that these coins were issued by the Seleucid satrap described by Justin, perhaps while he was confronted with revolts in Bactria, Hyrcania and Parthia.

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Price realized 130'000 CHF
Starting price 80'000 CHF
Estimate 100'000 CHF
The auction is closed.
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