Jump to content

An early Indo-Sasanian drachm


Recommended Posts


Indo-Sasanian. Early period (c. 6th century CE). AR drachm (3.85 g). Obverse: Somewhat degraded Sassanian-style bust, similar to Peroz. Reverse: Degraded fire altar with two attendants. Mitchiner -. This coin: Marc R. Breitsprecher, 2024.  

Coins of the Sasanian Persian empire circulated widely beyond their borders, and were extensively imitated and copied, even centuries after the last Sasanian emperor was dead. In the last few years I've started collecting avidly in the Arab-Sasanian series of coins which were issued by the expanding Islamic state during the Rashidun and early Umayyad Caliphates. Sasanian coins were also copied by the various Hunnic and Turkic tribes in Central Asia, and by a number of groups in India. When I first saw this coin listed for sale, I thought it was most likely a Hunnic/Hephthalite issue based on style. However, the seller (Marc R. Breitsprecher) had it listed as Indo-Sasanian, and an old sales ticket from Stephen Album that accompanied the coin also attributes it to an uncertain Indo-Sasanian group. Although I have not found an exact match either in reference books or online searches, there are some very similar early Indo-Sasanians, so I think the attribution is likely. The Indo-Sasanian series continued for several centuries, eventually leading to coins where you'd struggle to discern any trace of a portrait. Although not much can be said historically without a more precise attribution, I still like the look of this coin, and it was reasonably priced, so I am happy to add it to my collection. Please post your Indo-Sasanian coins.

  • Like 8
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure how I missed this one before!

I have spent the last 6 years knee-deep in trying to provide these coins with a consistent, logical attribution scheme. This belongs to Track 1 (Gadhaiya Paisa family), Series 1 (Earliest types) - I'm taking the types back to the drawing board, but it's the "Hunnic Portrait" type, which generally shows:

- Refined artistic style

- Abysmal technical execution (faces rarely have any detail)

- Nose is usually large and aquiline, jaw is small and weak, and often depicted as more or less clean shaven

- Head is usually elongated with a thin, tall skull

- Attendants are not very standardized and come in a large variety of styles, but rarely/never have any traces of the legend

- No flower behind the ear

Here's a reverse die match to yours 


Close reverse by likely the same hand


Close obverse but I'm not sure its a match - probably the same hand


And some others


Edited by Finn235
  • Like 5
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...