There are many Parthian drachms on which the obverse bears a highly stylized bust facing to the left, wearing a diadem with pendant ties. The reverse design, with few exceptions, is an archer seated right surrounded by the same vestigial Greek legend, not readable without prior knowledge of the text. These later drachms were minted beginning early in the first century A.D., and Fred Shore suggests the appearance of these coins coincided with the Parthian court's break from Hellenistic traditions.1 David Sellwood also notes this major change in Parthian coinage following the dethronement of Vonones II (c. A.D. 8 - 12).2
Despite the many similarities of these coins, identification can be made by first separating them by beard style of the obverse portrait, then selecting a distinctive portrait or legend feature. This page will link you to more specific information to quickly catalog your coin. Begin identification by clicking on the sample photo below that most closely describes your coin:
1. Shore, Fred B. Parthian Coins & History (Quarryville, PA: CNG, 1993), p. 141
2. Sellwood, D. "A Die-Engraver Sequence for Later Parthian Drachms", Num. Chron. 7/7 (1967), pp. 14-15.
This page last updated 13 Apr 2008