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Hoards & Finds

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Photo credit: Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.
This page lists the major coin hoards and important find sites of Parthian coins. Where properly documented, these finds provide authenticity through archaeological context for the study of Parthian coins not possible with those of unknown provenance. Even hoards without archaeological provenance can provide important clues though study of the coins as a related group. This list is incomplete; please leave comments on the feedback page with any information you might be able to add or correct. IGCH is the Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards.

  "90-50 BC hoard" 2004 ICGH 1744 Mingechaur (IGCH 1742)
  Ahar 1923 (IGCH 1816) IGCH 1745 Mørkholm
Akkar 1951 IGCH 1746 Mohmand Border (IGCH 1859)
Ali-Bairam IGCH 1788 Mtskhata, Georgia
  "Armenia 1933" (fake hoard) IGCH 1798 Nehavand 1935 (IGCH 1810)
  Armenia 1945 IGCH 1804 Nehavand 1935 (IGCH 1811)
  Armenia (IGCH 1746) IGCH 1806 Newell (IGCH 1813)
Assur IGCH 1807 Nineveh (1929-1930)
Atrek 1965 (IGCH 1798) IGCH 1809 Nisibis 1955 (IGCH 1788)
Bairam-Ali (IGCH 1829) IGCH 1810 Noe 679
  Bard-é Néchandeh IGCH 1811 Sarnakunk (IGCH 1746)
Borsippa 1880 IGCH 1813 Sellwood's Gold Hoard
  Borsippa 1881 IGCH 1814 Susa
  Characene 1976 IGCH 1815? Susa 1927-8 (IGCH 1817)
  Diyarbakir (ICGH 1744) IGCH 1816 Susa 1933-34 (IGCH 1804)
  Diyarbakir 1955 IGCH 1817 Susa 1933-34 (IGCH 1807)
Garri-Kyariz IGCH 1818 Susa 1951-2 (IGCH 1818)
  Getty Museum IGCH 1829 Susa 1966
  Giaour-kala IGCH 1859 Susa (IGCH 1809)
  Gombad 1955 (IGCH 1814) Iran 1968 Susiana 1965? (IGCH 1806)
  Gori (IGCH 1739) Iran 1969 Tell Umayr
  Hatra Kabala (IGCH 1737) Tillya-Tepe
  IGCH 1568 Kessab (IGCH 1568) Western Parthia 1999
IGCH 1731 Khinisly (IGCH 1745) Zaranj
  IGCH 1737 Kuh Dasht (IGCH 1815?)  
  IGCH 1739 Mardin 1952  
  IGCH 1742 Mardin II (ICGH 1744)  

"90-50 BC hoard" 2004 - reports began surfacing in August-September 2004 of this hoard which reportedly contained well over 4000 drachms issued from Mithradates II (Sellwood 28) to Orodes II (Sellwood 43) in different grades and a good number of unrecorded varieties

Ahar 1923 (IGCH 1816) - S30, Phraates III, Orodes II

Akkar 1951 - See Henri Seyrig, Trésors du Levant anciens et nouveaux (1973), hoard 37, "Trésor d'Akkar," with one tetradrachm of Phraates IV with the legends ΠΣ and ΥΠΕΡ, the date September 280 (33/32 B.C.) of the Seleucid era (not illustrated, but presumably Sellwood 54.6). Also includes 15 Seleucid coins

- Hoard found near Merv (ancient Alexandria Margiana). This find suggested that some of the drachm issues of Artabanus II (Sellwood 1971, types 61-63) and Gotarzes II (Sellwood 1971, types 65-66) were minted posthumously for use in Transcaucasia. See Golenko & Radzhabli, "The Ali-Bairam hoard and the circulation of Parthian Coins in Transcaucasia" (in Russian), 1972.

"Armenia 1933, 55 BC" (fake hoard) - Dr. Ruben Vardanyan, Director of Numismatics, History Museum of Armenia, Yerevan, has reported that the "hoard" mentioned in Moneta 17, p. 98 as "Armenia 1933 Hoard" is not a hoard in fact, and principally composed of modern forgeries: at least 11 of the 12 coins (personal communication to Arthur Houghton). The forgeries include Philip III Aridaeus, 1 tdr., Alexander II, 1 tdr., Antiochus VII, 2 tdr., Philip I, 3 tdr., as well as a Tigranes II tetradrachm and two drachms of Orodes II. The authenticity of a drachm of Tigranes II also gives rise to doubts, although a drachm of Artabanus II (Sellwood 1971, 63/6) is authentic.

Armenia 1945
(IGCH 1746) - A hoard from the village of Sarnakunk discovered in Armenia in 1945, containing silver coins of the Roman Republic, Seleucia, Parthia, cities of Phoenicia, Armenia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Alexander the Great and some cistophori, is described. Hitherto unknown coins from this hoard, which now totals 372 issues, are discussed. The latest coin dates from 31 B.C. See X. A. Mushegyan, Coin Hoards of Armenia I, and recently republished by G. Depeyrot (= Moneta 17). Crawford hoards 246 and 455 contain Parthian coins in IGCH 1745, 1746. See Michael H. Crawford, Roman Republican coin hoards (1969).

- In A. M. Akopian's "Klad mednykh parfianskikh monet iz Aparana" (1982), author discusses a hoard of Parthian coins from Armenia. An English summary is included.

Assur, Qal'at Scherquat (Coin Hoards VIII, 548) - Discovered 1912; contains 154 AR tetradrachm of Phraates IV and 5 tetradrachm of Tiridates to year 289. Burial c. 23 B.C. Coins are now in Staatliche Museen, Berlin, no. 154. See Schultz, Sabine (1982): "Ein Fund parthischer Tetradrachmen aus der Zeit des Phraates IV", Forschungen und Berichte, 22, pp. 117-126.

Atrek 1965 (IGCH 1798) - containing drachms of Arsaces I and Arsaces II

Bairam-Ali (IGCH 1829) - See Masson, [Title?] (1928), the principal catalog of the Bairam-Ali hoard of Sinatruces and Phraates III(?) issues. Also see Al'khamova, Materialy Iuzhno-Turkmenskoi arkheologicheskoi kompleksnoi ekspeditsii I (1949) which catalogs a portion of the hoard.

Bard-é Néchandeh - Hoard of 5,000 Elymais coins found at Bard-é Néchandeh, dating from the second century A.D. Five of the most recent are dated to the end of the second or beginning of the third century. See Christian Augé, Raoul Curiel & Georges Le Rider, Terrasses sacrées de Bard-é Néchandeh et Masjid-i Solaiman (1979).

Borsippa 1880 - (Coin Hoards VIII, 556) documented in Reade, J. E. (1994): "Three Hoards from Babylonia in the British Museum", p. 88-89. Burial 185 A.D. Contained 35 AR tetradrachm of Vologases III (BMC attribution); latest date SE 494. Seventeen are in the British Museum as G1052-G1067. The tetradrachm of Vologases II (BMC attr.) is G1049. Possibly half the hoard went to the Imperial Ottoman Museum in Constantinople

Borsippa 1881 - (Coin Hoards VIII, 552) documented in Reade, J. E. (1994): "Three Hoards from Babylonia in the British Museum", p. 88-89. Burial c. A.D. 45. Contained 1200 silver Parthian coins of three types only. Ten went to the Imperial Ottoman Museum, 18 to the British Museum as inv. 1887-5-2, 1-18. They are in Wroth, BMC Parthia, under Artabanus III nos. 1-6, 10, 15, 20-22, 27, 29-30, and 32; under Vardanes I, no. 28. There were two similar coins of Artabanus III (BMC attribution) dated year 322 and 334. Other than these 28, remainder were taken by Turkish authorities for recycling

Characene 1976 - (Coin Hoards IV, 77) is a small hoard of some 73 coins of Characene which appeared on the market in 1976. All were struck under Attambelus I (47/46-25/24 B.C.) and Thionesius I (25/24-20/19 B.C.), for both of whom new dated issues are recorded.

Diyarbakir 1955 - See Henri Seyrig, Trésors du Levant anciens et nouveaux (1973), hoard 39, "Trésor de Diyarbakir." with 80 Parthian drachms (none illustrated) including those of Mithradates II (32), Sinatruces (28), and Phraates III (20). Also includes 158 Seleucid and Roman coins, and a drachm of Ariobarzanes I.

- Located southern Turkmenistan. Described briefly by Nikitin, "Early Parthian Coins from Margiana" (1998). Hoard contained 50 silver Parthian coins which included three drachms of Mithradates I, 27 drachms of Phraates II, 19 Drachms of Artabanus I and a tetradrachm of the Graeco-Bactrian king Eucratides. This hoard contains the only known example of a Phraates II drachm with the Margiane mintmark; the hoard also contained other early Parthian drachms of Mithradates I, Phraates II and Artabanus I. See V. N. Pilipko, "Klad parfyanskih monet iz Garri-Kyariza (Parfiena)" (1976).

Getty Museum
- The hoard at the Getty Museum includes 266 copper coins, mostly "drachm" weights, ca A.D. 1-200, found in present-day Iran and clearly most of them must come from the northeastern part of the Parthian kingdom. All are of the Parthian type with the exception of 19 coins from Elymais. See Heidemarie Koch, A Hoard of Coins from Eastern Parthia (1990).

- Finds of 1950-1991 cited in notes to the plates by Nikitin, "Early Parthian Coins from Margiana" (1998), and by Loginov and Nikitin in "Parthian Coins from Margiana" (1996)

Gombad 1955 (IGCH 1814) - 13000+ coins, Mithradates I, Phraates II, Artabanus I, Mithradates II, S30, S31, S32, S33, S34, S35, S36, S37, S38, S39.

(IGCH 1739) - 30+ Parthian coins. See Bartholomaei: Lettres numismatiques et archeologiques, relatives a la Transcaucasie (1859), page 23; Vasmer: [Title?] (1926); and Zograph: Rasprostranenie nakhodok antichnykh monet na Kavkaze (1945)

- A hoard of late Parthian tetradrachms from the excavations at Hatra are described by Wathiq I. al-Salihi in "Hatra: Coins discovered in the Excavations of 1971-1972" (1974, in Arabic).

Iran 1968
- A hoard of 200 Parthian coins and 600 issues of Alexander and Lysimachus drachms found in northeast Iran between Gombad and Bujnurd in 1968 proved the Parthians had the means to mint coins before the second quarter of the second century B.C.  The hoard burial was dated to c. 235 B.C. See Joel L. Malter, "Parthian Hoard" (1968) and M. Abgarians & David Sellwood, "A Hoard of early Parthian drachms" (1971).

Iran 1969 - See Sellwood, "A small hoard of Parthian drachms of the first Century B.C." (1969), which discusses 57 Parthian coins from what is probably part of a hoard from eastern Iran in 1968. Seven types and their variants are discussed with 7 coins illustrated.

Kabala (IGCH 1737) - The remainder of the hoard discovered in 1966 near the settlement of Kabala, capital of Caucasian Albania, includes 131 Seleucid tetradrachms, 5 Bactrian tetradrachms, 5 Arsacid drachms (Mithradates I and Phraates II), and others. The coin descriptions do not include mints or bibliographical references. See I. A. Babaev & C. M. Kaziev, Kabalinskii klad monet ellinisticheskoi epokhi [The Kabala hoard of Hellenistic coins] (1971)

(IGCH 1568)  - includes a tetradrachm of Phraates II, Susa mint. See Henri Seyrig, Trésors du Levant anciens et nouveaux (1973) which includes a description of the hoard and illustrates the coin, 30.325. Also see Margaret Thompson, The New Style Silver Coinage of Athens (1961), pp. 475-477.

Khinisly (IGCH 1745) - Summary in Azerbaidzhan. Ancient coin finds, the earliest 3rd century B.C. Seleucid, are reviewed. Hoards found in the village of Khinisly are listed, including Parthian coins of Mithradates I, Mithradates II, "Gotarzes I", Sinatruces, and Phraates III. See: E. A. Pakhomov, Antichnye monety v Albanii (v predelakh Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR) [Ancient coins in Albania, in the Azerbaidzhan SSR] (1962). Crawford hoards 246 and 455 contain Parthian coins in IGCH 1745, 1746; see Michael H. Crawford, Roman Republican coin hoards (1969)

Kuh Dasht
- (IGCH 1815?) See Michael Weiskopf, "The Kuh Dasht Hoard and the Parthian 'Dark Age'" (1981). A hoard of 700 first century B.C. Parthian drachms published by Weiskopf provides evidence permitting a more precise understanding of the political situation in Parthia than has been available from other sources. The new material included no coins which can be assigned to any pretender at this time, and Weiskopf has concluded that less emphasis should be given to the Babylonian documents attesting to their importance. Some dated coins in the hoard provide additional evidence for the co-regencies of father and son during the reigns of Sinatruces and Phraates III.

Mardin, Turkey 1952 - See Henri Seyrig, Trésors du Levant anciens et nouveaux (1973) hoard 34, "Trésor dit de Mardine," with Parthian drachms of Mithradates II (19), Artabanus II (14), Sinatruces (8), and Phraates III (16).  The hoard also included 32 coins of Seleucus VI (1), Antiochus X (1), and Philippe Philadelpe (29).

Mardin II, Turkey (IGCH 1744) - Simonetta (1966, p. 29) and Dobbins (1975, p. 34) called this hoard "Mardin II" while it was called "Diyarbakir" by Henri Seyrig, Trésors du Levant anciens et nouveaux (1973) hoard 38. Mørkholm (1980, p. 39) reports that the hoard contained twenty-eight S31, twenty (or twenty-one) S33, but had no S30. This he concludes, determines that S30 drachms were issued after S31 and S33.

Mingechaur (IGCH 1742) - Contains information on the Mingechaur hoard which composed five silver drachms of Phraates III, Mithradates III and Orodes II. See E. A. Pakhomov,  Material'naia kul'tura Azerbaidzhana 2 (1951)

Mohmand Border (IGCH 1859) - contained 20 Orodes II drachms, including types Sellwood 45.12 and 46.12. Published by General Haughton (NC 1943), this hoard was found north of Shabkadar (c.20 km northwest of Charsadda). There hoard contained some 280 coins of Azes and Azilises, c.100 of the posthumous Hermaios and a few Indo-Greek coins. Illustrations of some of the coins can be found in the Haughton sale catalogue, Sotheby's auction 30 Apr - 1 May 1958; unfortunately, the Parthian coins are not included in the sale catalog. Also see G. Kenneth Jenkins, JNSI (1955), Part 2; R. C.  Senior's evaluation of the hoard, Indo-Scythian Coins and History (2001), pp. 182-183.

- See Otto Mørkholm, "A Greek coin hoard from Susiana" (1965). The hoard, found in 1958 or 1959, consists of about 200 silver tetradrachms, 124 of which are listed. The burial date, ca. 140 B.C., has implications for eastern Seleucid issues down to this date. Some of these coins are ascribed to a new mint at Antiochia, later known as Charax Spasinou.

, Georgia - 34 Roman and Parthian coins among other items from a wealthy grave deposit of the second or third century A.D.  See A. Apakidze & V. Nikolaishvili, "An Aristocratic Tomb of the Roman Period from Mtskhata, Georgia" (1994).

Nehavand 1935 (IGCH 1810) - Mithradates I and Mithradates II. See also Visonà, Paolo (1985): "The two Nehavend hoards reconsidered"

Nehavand 1935 (IGCH 1811) - Mithradates II. See also Visonà, Paolo (1985): "The two Nehavend hoards reconsidered"

Newell (IGCH 1813) - See Edward T. Newell, "A Parthian hoard" (1924). - Main documentation of this hoard, which includes almost 900 coins of Mithradates I, Phraates II, Artabanus I and Mithradates II, is in M. Dayet,   "Une tétradrachme arsacide inédit" (1925), and "Une trouvaille de monnaies seleucides at arsacides" (1925). London received 9 coins from the IGCH 1813 hoard; see G. F. Hill, "Greek Coins Acquired by the British Museum in 1926" (1927). Also see the Sotheby's sale catalog of the H. L. Haughton collection,  30 Apr - 1 May 1958 (1958), lots 196, 216 and 226.

Niniveh (1929-1930) - See Georges Le Rider, "Un trésor de petites monnaies de bronze trouvé à Ninive", Iranica Antiqua 7 (1967), pp. 4-20 and plates 3-4. The discovery of 597 small bronze coins in the excavations at Nineveh in 1929-1930 is recorded. Most of the pieces bear a type on only one side. The other side is smooth or shows formless design. The hoard was probably deposited during the reign of Mithradates II of Parthia. [H. Nicolet]

Nisibis 1955 (IGCH 1788) - Includes one Mithradates II bronze. See Henri Seyrig, "Trésor monétaire de Nisibe," Revue Numismatique, pp. 85-128 (1955), but not illustrated. Also in Seyrig, Scripta Numismatica, p. 394 (Paris, 1986).

Noe 679
- A early 19th century find of Characene coins. See G. K. Jenkins, "Coins form the collection of C. J. Rich" (1964).

Sellwood's Gold Hoard
- (Coin Hoards VIII, 604) For want of a better name. This group of 316 gold coins of Vonones I is discussed by David Sellwood, "Parthian Gold Coins" (1991). Wartenberg et al. describes it as "... all coins have the date 321 (A.D. 9-10); 110 are from the month Xandikos, all other coins are from the next month, Artemisios."

- See Georges Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides et les Parthes : les trouvailles monétaires et l'histoire de la ville (1965), an analysis of the coinage of the Seleucids and Parthians uncovered at Susa by French archaeologists during more than a half-century's work.

Susa 1927-1928 (IGCH 1817) - Orodes II and Phraates IV

Susa 1933-1934 (IGCH 1804) - drachms of Mithradates I

Susa 1933-1934 (IGCH 1807) - bronzes of Mithradates I, Phraates II, Artabanus I

Susa 1951-1952 (IGCH 1818) - Orodes II, Phraates IV

Susa 1966
- Houghton and Le Rider discuss a find in "Un trésor de monnaies hellénistiques trouvé près de Suse" (1966); a second article appears with the same title by Pierre Strauss in 1971

Susa (IGCH 1809) - See Thomas Fischer, "Methodische Bemerkung zur historischen Auswertung antiker Münzhortfunde an Hand der Silberfunde von Susa: Depotfund und Münzversteck" (1968) for a source of information on this Susa hoard.

Susiana 1965? (IGCH 1806) - tetradrachms of Mithradates I + 1 bronze from Ecbatana

Tell Umayr - Twenty-one beautiful silver coins of Vologases II were discovered at Tell Umayr (Seleucia-on-the-Tigris). See Antonio Invernizzi, "The Excavations at Tell Umayr" (1966).

- Afghanistan find included a gold Parthian type coin and several silver drachms. See Sarianidi, Bactrian gold: from the excavations of the Tillya-tepe Necropolis in northern Afghanistan (1985).

Western Parthia 1999 - A large number of Parthian tetradrachms of Phraates II (S17), Interregnal (S18), Artabanus I (S21), Mithradates II (S23), Mithradates II (S24), and also number tetradrachms from Characene, Bactria and the Seleucid kings. Prior to this hoard, only 2 tetradrachms of type S23 were known, one in the British Museum and one in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

- O. Bopearachchi was able to examine and photograph a small hoard of Parthian and Indo-Parthian silver drachms found in Seistan, in a field close to Zaranj. See Grenet & Bopearachchi, "Une Nouvelle Monnaie en or d'Abdagases II --Appendix" (1999)

This page last updated 17 Apr 2008

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