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    Finest Known Persis Tetradrachm, Ex Sunrise

    PERSIC KINGDOM. Ardaxsir (Artaxerxes I) (mid-late 3rd century BC). AR tetradrachm (25mm, 16.97 gm, 3h). Diademed head of Ardaxsir right, with beard and long moustache, wearing kyrbasia / Persic legend Ardaxsir, governor of god, fire temple of Ahura-Mazda; to left, Ardaxsir standing right, hands raised; to right, flag standard (Latin vexillum) decorated with X, dots in angles. Sunrise 562 (this coin). Alram 520. Rare! Certainly the finest known specimen of this beautiful type, perfectly struck from dies of incredible style, with untouched surfaces and a beautifully detailed reverse. NGC Choice MS ★ 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style. 

    The fertile land of Fars or Persis gave birth to two great multi-national empires of the ancient world -- the Achaemenid Kingdom (circa 600-330 BC), and the Sasanian Kingdom (AD 240-640). Between the rise of these two empires, Persis existed as a relatively isolated vassal state ruled by native satraps or governors, offering nominal allegiance to the Seleucid and Parthian Kingdoms. The rule of Ardaxsir (or Artaxerxes I), the satrap depicted here, seems to have spanned the transition from Seleucid to Parthian overlordship. Persis struck its own distinctive coinage, which employed Persic or Aramaic legends and depicted its rulers wearing the traditional native headdress, the kyrbasia, and worshipping before the temples and fire altars of Ahura Mazda, the supreme deity of Persia's Zoroastrian faith. This extraordinary example has a particularly detailed reverse, showing the temple with its ornate doors closed, topped by three fire braziers. The Kingdom of Persis would nurture native customs and religion for many centuries to form the basis of Sasanian culture when it reasserted its dominance in the third century AD. 

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
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