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A Baktrian Weirdo Coin


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Recently, I almost picked up a dream coin. I actually won and received the coin, but by that time it had already fallen considerably on my list.

Some time ago, I noticed a diobol with a boar and a lion and jumped to the conclusion that it must be an issue from Bessos, who killed Darius III and mounted some resistance against Alexander the Great until he was betrayed. His ears and nose were cut off, then he was shipped off to Ekbatana and "handled".

The example wasn't as nice as some previous ones, so I bid the highest amount ever paid for the issue, since this was now a "priority 1" - and I lost it.

Another example came up, in worse condition than the previous one. This time I was determined to not lose and put in a bid 50% higher than the previous coin (remember this one was in considerably worse condition) and again I lost.

Then, the same auction house listed a far worse example. However, by this time I'd learned a bit more about Baktrian local issues, and I was highly certain this was not an issue of Bessos. Since Bessos was Persian, he would have been extremely unlikely to issue what was essentially the type of Kyzikos without the tunny fish. More likely this was issued by some city in Baktria populated by immigrants from Kyzikos itself.

So, the coin fell way down on my list. They even pissed me off a bit by mentioning the previous coin I'd lost. I was tempted to not bid at all, but since I'm married to a Baktrian and have a soft spot for their local issues, so I put in a lowball bid just one higher than the minimum (and 10% of my previous bid) and won the coin.


Baktria, uncertain mint
 Circa 4th century BCE
AR Diobol 1.03g, 11mm, 12h
Forepart of boar to right; grape bunch on stem below /
Head of roaring lion to right; grape bunch on stem below


Most likely, other bidders were put off on the condition that requires some imagination. My suspicion is it comes from a city not far from this one that I've already written about.


Baktria, Local issues
Circa 285/3-280/78 BCE
AR Obol 8.5mm, 0.55 g, 6h
Attic standard. Uncertain mint in the Oxus region. Head of Kybele or Tyche right, wearing mural crown /
Eagle standing left, head right, with wings spread; grape bunch to lower right.
Cf. SMAK p. 70 and pl. 30 (for rev.); Bopearachchi, Sophytes –; SNG ANS –; HGC 12, –


Feel free to show off your Baktrian coins or coins that have fallen considerably after more research!

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I've been meaning to pick up a pre-diodotid coin from baktria, but other priorities keep getting in the way. maybe someday i'll pick up a bactrian owl

I've posted a lot of my bactrians, but I don't think I've shown this one yet. I was quite happy to win this earlier this year, as this type is quite rare. This tetradrachm of Antimachos is likely an contemporary imitation. The portrait is a lot more goofy than the typical Antimachos portrait, with a much uglier rendering of his facial features. Although it uses a completely different mint mark than other antimachos tetradrachms, its stylistic similarities with contemporary imitations of Euthydemos and Eukratides suggest it is a contemporary imitation, and not the work of an official mint with inferior die engravers.


Greco-Baktrian Kingdom. Antimachos I, circa 180-165 BC. Tetradrachm
(Silver, 32 mm, 16.64 g, 12 h)

Obv: Diademed and draped bust of Antimachos I to right, wearing flat topped kausia.
Rev: Poseidon, nude to the waist, standing facing, holding long trident in his right
hand and filleted palm branch in his left; in inner right field, monogram.
Reference: Bopearachchi 1C; HGC 12, 106; MIG Type 124d

Comparision with typical antimachos tetradrachms


Edited by Cordoba
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Man, that Bessos really made the finale of  Alexander's conquest of Persia as anticlimactic as possible. 

Good research. I'd be surprised if that coin had much to do with the wanna be usurper. 

Here's my latest coin from Baktria.

4318394_1689348304.l-removebg-preview.png.c534ff5d692ddf2710a6c4eef26f1bed.pngBactria. Indo-Greek Kingdom. Menander I soter 155-130 BC.

Bronze Æ

27 mm, 7,44 g


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