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Giving in to temptation


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As many of you know, there's been a huge influx of Tigranes II tets to the market, likely the result of some massive hoard. Pretty much every auction includes one or more now, and I eventually decided it was time to pick one up before the price goes down. This one ticked all my boxes.


Kings of Armenia. Tigranocerta. Tigranes II "the Great"
80-68 BCE
AR Tetradrachm 28mm, 15,44g
Obv: Diademed and draped bust right, wearing Armenian tiara with five peaks and emblazoned with star between two eagles; within filleted border
Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ TIΓPANOY, Tyche of Artaxata seated to right on rock pile, holding palm branch, river god Araxes swimming to right below; Θ to inner right, ΔH monogram to lower left, all within wreath.
Foss Group H; Kovacs 74.2; SCADA Group 1; CAA 19; ACV 31


While I would have loved an example with what is believed to be the tail of Haley's Comet in 87 BCE, those go for a lot more than I was willing to pay, so this one worked just as well. I wanted something that was:

  • Well centered
  • At least VF condition
  • Clear and centered inscription of BAΣIΛEΩΣ TIΓPANOY on the reverse
  • Faces of Tyche and Orontes visible

As a bonus, this one has a nice gleam to it. I'm not sure if someone just sprayed something on or if this was kept in the right conditions, but it looks nice and the auction house isn't known for doing that, so I'm sure they received it in this condition.

In a paper by Foss, he guesses this issue was minted in Antioch, but proclaims that for all but a handful of Tigranes' tets it's extraordinarily difficult to give any precision in terms of the mint or the year. Nevertheless, it was obviously minted after Tigranes took control of Antioch, since it displays the Tyche of Antioch on the reverse. Tigranes continued using this image on his coins even after he lost control over Antioch.

Foss points out that, unique to types G and H (my coin), the tiara of Tigranes is crowned with beads rather than triangular points, though he's uncertain what this means other than a conjecture that they may indicate another mint in Syria. These issues are among the most common of Tigranes' tets.

Interestingly, mine seems to have some marks/graffiti to the right of Tyche's head. They look more like scratched lines than graffiti, and I'm not sure what their purpose is. My best guess is the coin was harshly cleaned, but that doesn't seem correct. Here's a closeup of it. There almost appears to be lettering within. For example, I see what looks like an 'A' towards the upper right. Any ideas where this is from?



Feel free to show your coins of Tigranes II or coins where you just bowed to temptation.


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The Mithridatic Wars are a top period of interest so I recently gave into a long standing temptation to pick up a tetradracm of Tigranes II - this one with the die break and doubled reverse helped me to stay in the stratosphere on pricing.  My notes on this coin are here: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/tigranes-ii-the-great


Kings of Armenia, Tigranes II ‘the Great’, 95-56 BC, Tetradrachm, AR, 28.5mm, 15.66g, 1 h), Tigranocerta (literally meaning built by Tigranes), circa 80-68

Obv: Draped bust of Tigranes II to right, wearing five-pointed tiara decorated with comet star between two eagles

Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ - TIΓPANOY The Tyche of Tigranocerta seated right on rock, holding long palm frond in her right hand; below, river-god Araxes swimming right; on rock, monogram; in field to right, θ; all within wreath

Ref: Kovacs 74.2; Nercessian die study Group 2, A22

Edited by Sulla80
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