Jump to content

Indo Sassanian Track 2 - The very first one!


Recommended Posts

Beyond ecstatic to finally have this ebay win in hand!


At first glance, I had assumed this to be one of the first iterations of Track 1, which would eventually evolve into the Gadhaiya coinsZomboDroid22022022111423.jpg.160994f2db1e9d1e85fbbf0b8c0536a0.jpg

But on closer inspection, I noticed that the korymbos (orb or hair bun wrapped in gold foil) was not an orb at all as on all Series 1.1, but was in fact the late Brahmi / early Nagari letter SA, which automatically places it in Track 2, which all have SA above the headgear instead of a korymbos. This is particularly intriguing because the earliest known coins of Track 2 look like this


Note key differences with the new coin (inserted again to save some scrolling)


- The Sa sits directly in the field above the knob atop the crown, not in a circle or atop a Crescent 

- The diadem and crown are much more realistic, and this clearly demonstrates how the prototypical "bent crown" found on (almost) all coins in Track 2 came about 

- The Crescent from Peroz's third crown is present, but unlike all other Track 2 coins, it was not yet conflated with the Pahlavi legend to create a lotus/hook shape

- The reverse legends are not yet totally degraded to three horizontal strokes.

- The obverse ribbons are much closer to their original shape than on any other Track 2 coin.

I tend to jinx myself when assigning superlatives to coins like these, but after checking Maheshwari (and I owe you folks a snap of the relevant page) this particular coin seems to be the most primitive Track 2 coin ever found!

Anyway, thanks for entertaining my rant! I do owe you all a proper overview of Indo Sassanian coinage, but life has been hectic and I haven't had the good 3-4 hours I'd need to properly assemble the pictures and write-ups, plus there's always a coin or two like this one that has me all like 


  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my classification scheme, I use Track.Series.Type.Variety

Track - An overall evolutionary path coming from the official coins of Peroz and ending whenever people stopped making subsequent copies. Tracks span multiple centuries and contain numerous series that all share a common ancestor and often a single theme throughout. All tracks are believed to start close to the inception of Indo Sassanian coinage, e.g. probably less than a century after the end of Peroz's reign in 484.

Official coin


I'm toying with the idea of a Track 0 for one-off, very early imitations of Peroz that happen to have been made in India (Persian and central Asian imitations exist and are outside of the scope of my study)


Track 1 starts about here around the year 500-550


And ends here, around the year 1350


Track 2 starts here probably not long after 500


And ends here; around the year 900?


Track 3 branches off of early Track 2 when Sa is replaced by Sri and Ma is placed before the bust, maybe around 550-625?


It actually ends a but later than this coin, but it dead-ends into the "Adivaraha" coinage of Pratihara king Bhoja I (836-885) which retains only elements of the fire altar and attendants on the reverse



Series - A large grouping of types that would look similar to an outside observer. They usually span at least a century and can contain just a few types, or up to about a dozen.

Series 1.3 has been one of my favorite both stylistically and for the challenges in arranging them, and all are relatively small early Gadhaiya coins that bear a bust with a distinctive tall head



Types are all generally very similar, probably made within the span of a few years up to a few decades, and certainly from the same issuing authority. They may contain some minor or moderate stylistic variances based on the engraver

Type 1.3.1 all share a stylish, boomerang-shaped head with a long, pointed nose and a very large eye orbit, although the style varies quite a bit


I don't use varieties within every type, but they can be helpful to split a type up by important features, e.g. has the archaic type flame that terminates in an extra dot, a holdover from the end of series 1.2

ZomboDroid04052022175616.jpg.94edfa5bd12b8ebea29ed959a610dc53.jpg transforms the dot into a vertical line - important because as the only type that has both styles, we can confidently place this at the beginning of series 1.3


Unfortunately, there aren't nearly enough anchors to tie these types to historical events or people, so the actual dates and places are more guesswork, so I focus on the evolution of the designs themselves, hoping that if I can arrange them in the "correct" order, at some point a discovery can be made that lets everything else fall into place!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...