|Volume 66 No. 6
We seem to be adjusting to our online meetings. Attendance would have been higher if not for problems encountered by some members. A recent entry level PC should provide acceptable real-time video and audio – just remember, the newer the better. Also, acceptable performance will require a good network connection. Instead of guessing at a minimal data rate, I suggest you verify your device can play some online videos in real time. Our page of instructions, to participate in our online meetings, has links to YouTube videos on using the Webex service we will be using. If you have no problems with those videos, there is a good chance you will have no problems with our meeting.
An email will be sent to all members a day or two before our regular June meeting, containing an invitation (as a link) to participate in our June online meeting. If you received an invitation to a prior online meeting, you should receive an invitation to our June online meeting. If you did not receive an invitation to a prior online meeting, email the Club Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org and request an invitation. Try it, you’ll like it!
If you could not connect to a prior online meeting, please email the Club Secretary with as many details as you can remember. A club member will help you resolve the issue.
Paul Hybert, editor
The 1216th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Richard Lipman at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Due to the pandemic shutdown, the meeting was online with 34 members and guests: Stephen Joseph Conte, Des Moines, Iowa; Sanjeev Kumar, Munster, Indiana; and Gene Mitchell, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As the meeting progressed, additional members joined and reached 36 at 7:19 PM.
The April minutes were approved as posted in the online Chatter. Elliott Krieter gave the April treasurer’s report showing $80.00 in revenue, $44.76 in expenses. The report was approved.
President Lipman announced the passing of member Dr. Jay Galst of COVID-19, and called for a moment of silence. A resident of New York, Jay joined the Club in 1991. An obituary written by Robert Leonard was in the online Chatter, and Rich summarized some of Jay’s professional and numismatic accomplishments.
Membership applications of Stephen Joseph Conte and Sanjeev Kumar received first readings.
First VP Lyle Daly introduced Bob Weinstein who gave the featured program Coinage and History of the Apracas and the Indo Parthians.
Lyle announced the following upcoming programs:
Second VP John Riley announced the evening’s 8 exhibitors.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:33 PM CDT.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
by Robert Weinstein,
presented to our May 13, 2020 meeting.
In 124 BC Mithradates II ascended the Parthian throne. After stabilizing the shattered kingdom, he headed east to battle the Saka invasion. The Sakas had killed both of his predecessors and occupied the eastern provinces of the Parthian empire. Mithradates inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Sakas and settled them as vassals in the recently conquered Drangiana in eastern Iran. The province was renamed Sakastan and was given as a fiefdom to the powerful Parthian clan of the Surens.
The Surens often served as military leaders. Mithradates’ campaigns against the Sakas were led by the Suren clan chief. In 53 BC the Parthian army, led by the Suren chief, destroyed a superior Roman army and killed the triumvir Crassus. Arsakes, the founder of the Parthian kingdom, was crowned by the Suren leader. This privilege continued throughout the existence of the kingdom.
The date of the founding of the Indo Parthian Kingdom, as well as the circumstances which led to it, are a matter of dispute. The detail of this dispute is a topic unto itself and will not be discussed. In simple terms the Indo Parthian Kingdom was founded by a probable Suren prince in the Parthian province of Sakastan during the last decades BC or early decades AD in a period of strife and succession conflict within the main Parthian Kingdom. The founder is generally agreed to be a man named Gondophares.
The first coinage of the Indo Parthians consists of local imitations and official Parthian drachms of Orodes II and official drachms of Phraates IV which have been counter marked. The counter mark is a symbol usually called &ldquoThe Gondopharid Symbol.” It is believed to be the clan symbol of the family of Gondophares, the founder of the Indo Parthian Kingdom. The countermark may have been introduced by a predecessor of Gondophares. There is one known example of the countermark which includes the name Orthagnes. This could be a predecessor to Gondophares, or it could be a known successor by this name. The counter mark is also known on copper tetradrachms struck by Gondophares in South Arachosia. It was probably applied to make the coins legal tender in neighboring Sakastan.
In his home territory of Sakastan, Gondophares followed the counter marked drachms with a coinage of Parthian style silver drachms in his own name and bearing his portrait. The coins show a good deal of stylistic variation and competence at rendering the Greek legends. They were probably stuck for a fairly long period.
Gondophares probably moved quickly to expand his new kingdom. He conquered Arachosia to the east. Arachosia was a prosperous area with several large Greek cities. This region is today southern Afghanistan. The modern city of Khandahar is built on the site of Alexandria in Arachosia.
In Arachosia, Gondophares struck copper tetradrachms of fine style in the south and of cruder style in the north. The northern types were struck in large numbers and are common today. The fine style southern type is much rarer. It is possible that Gondophares had appointed Sarpedones, possibly a brother, to oversee the province and granted him the right to strike coinage in his own name.
Arachosia’s long river valleys provided easy access to territories north and east. Gondophares most likely went north into the Kabul valley. This region was probably still inhabited by the Scythian population which had settled there more than a half century earlier. They struck a coinage of tetradrachms imitating the Greek king Hermaios. Hermaios had ruled the area circa 80 BC. The prize of this conquest was the city of Kapisa. The ruins of Kapisa are near the modern Afghan city of Begram, north of Kabul.
Gondophares probably struck a coinage here much like his north Arachosian type. These coins are frequently found overstruck on the earlier Hermaios imitations. Later in his reign Gondophares would lose this region to Kujula Khadphises, King of the Kushans. Kujula, in his turn, overstruck the tetradrachms of Gondophares.
During his Kabul valley campaign Gondophares likely entered conflict with Kharahostes or his son Mujatria. This Scythian dynasty ruled a small kingdom east of the Kabul valley. The dynasty appears to have remained in power, perhaps as a vassal state, until the Kushan conquest.
Now Gondophares was poised to invade Gandhara with its great cities Pushkalavati and Taxila. The region around Pushkalavati was taken from the Apraca kingdom. Gondophares issued a rare coinage of debased silver tetradrachms in the region. North of Pushkalavati he struck an issue with king on horseback on the obverse and Athena on the reverse. This was the type of coinage struck by the Apracas in this area. South of Pushkalavati the tetradrachms had a reverse featuring the Hindu god Shiva. These coinages are rare. Gondophares returned these territories to the Apracas. It seems that there may have been a dynastic marriage which eventually produced the second greatest Indo Parthian king.
Gondophares next moved east into Swat and Hazara, where he struck a series of debased silver tetradrachms with horseman obverse and Athena reverse. These coins are common and undergo a steady decline in style and Greek legend indicating a considerable period of issue. These coins bear the control mark for the city of Taxila but did not circulate there. They may have been struck at Taxila for circulation in Swat and Hazara. Gondophares struck no coinage for circulation at Taxila in his name. Robert Senior believes he continued to strike posthumous imitations of the coinage of Azes. These were in circulation when he conquered the area.
West of Taxila, Gondophares struck tetradrachms with Shiva on the reverse contemporary with his Athena issue in Swat and Hazara. Later in his reign he replaced these two issues with a new issue having Zeus facing right on the reverse. This new issue was also on a new weight standard. His earlier issues were struck on the old Indo-Greek standard of 9.68 grams. The new issue was on a 10-gram standard. Robert Senior believes this new standard was introduced by Gondophares and adopted by the Apracas. It seems more likely that it was the other way. It is believed that Gondophares took Taxila from a king named Rajavula. Rajavula retreated east to Jammu and Pathankot, and Gondophares followed. In this region he struck small copper drachms like the ones struck there by Rajavula.
One additional area became part of the Indo-Parthian kingdom – the region around the Indus delta called Sind. Gondophares never struck coinage there. It is possible the conquest was carried out by Sarpedones whose coinage is the first struck in that region by the Indo-Parthians.
The Apraca dynasty ruled a kingdom in the region of Bajaur in what is today northern Pakistan. They were probably a Scythian dynasty which was heavily Indianized. They were great patrons of Buddhism and this has been of great benefit to modern scholars. There are numerous inscriptions on Buddhist reliquaries which give genealogical information about the dynasty and dates expressed in the era of Azes which began 48/46 BC. This allows us to pinpoint the founding date of the Apraca kingdom to 2BC/1 AD. Such certainty is rare in Indo-Scythian studies.
The first king of Apraca was named Vijayamitra. He was probably a local governor under the Kingdom of Azes. Upon Azes’ demise his empire broke up with local officials like Vijayamitra becoming independent rulers.
Vijayamitra issued debased silver tetradrachms in the name of the deceased king Azes. The coins continue the horseman/Athena types which had been struck in the region by Azes. The coins are very common having been issued over a period of thirty years or more. Some of these coins may have been struck by the son of Vijayamitra, Itravasu, as coruler. A rosette symbol is added to some coins and this appears on later coins in Itravasu’s name. The last issues in the rosette series have a kharosti script “I” behind the horseman. It is believed this stands for Itravasu. One rare issue may have been struck by Aspavarma, the grandnephew of Vijayamitra, and successor of Itravasu. The coins bear the monogram used on Aspavarma’s earliest coinage in his name.
Sometime after 30AD Itravasu succeeded his father, striking coinage in his own name. Like his previous issues in the name of Azes, these feature the horseman/Athena types. He struck both tetradrachms and drachms. His reign was short, and his coinage is rare. In Indo-Scythian Coins and History there are pictured two drachms with horseman/Nike types. The name of the king is off flan on the first; the second has the legend retrograde and is difficult to read. In 2011 I acquired an example of each of these drachms and was able to identify them as issues of Itravasu. In the same year I also acquired a third horseman/Nike drachm in a different style from the other two.
In 2017 a copper drachm of Itravasu with Tyche on the reverse was auctioned on eBay. This goddess appears on the reverse of drachms and tetradrachms struck by Mujatria. Mujatria ruled a kingdom to the west of Apraca. On one issue of Mujatria’s tetradrachms there is a rosette added on the reverse. Perhaps some marriage union was being celebrated by the coins?
The date of Gondophares’ death is unknown. The Kushan king Kujula had probably already taken the Kabul valley during his lifetime. It is possible he met his end fighting Kujula.
Upon his death Gondophares’ kingdom was split between three successors. In Gandhara and north Arachosia he was succeeded by his nephew Abdagases who may have been made coruler in that territory during Gondophares’ lifetime. Sarpedones, probably a brother, succeeded in Jammu, south Arachosia, and Sind. In Sakastan he was succeeded by Orthagnes, also probably a brother. All the coinages which had been current under Gondophares were continued by his successors.
Sarpedones probably was given control of south Arachosia during Gondophares’ lifetime. He is the first Indo-Parthian to strike coinage in Sind and was probably responsible for that conquest. Jammu was probably given to him upon Gondophares’ death. His coinage is all rare. He may have been the victim of civil war, but a campaign by the Kushan king Kujula is just as likely.
After taking the Kabul valley from Gondophares, Kujula seems to have moved east. He either conquered or made Mujatria a vassal and then probably invaded Apraca. This may have been what brought about Itravasu’s end. Aspavarma succeeded Itravasu. His earliest coins struck in his own name were probably struck as coruler. On Itravasu’s death he added the rosette to his coins. This issue is very rare, and he was probably driven out by Kujula.
At some point Kujula took Sind and struck silver drachms of the same type as the Indo-Parthians. Some believe he ended Indo-Parthian rule in the area. I believe it was an early incursion which was beaten back. Sarpedones was probably killed fighting Kujula. Upon his death Orthagnes added south Arachosia to his domain. His first copper tetradrachms from this region are very rare. He seems to have been deposed by Sases and then restored after Sases’ death. Abdagases assumed control of Jammu. Abdagases’ reign must have ended within a few years as his Jammu coinage is quite scarce.
Aspavarma, his family, and retainers appear to have taken refuge at the court of their kinsman Abdagases. Among those were his brother and his nephew, the future heir to all the Indo-Parthian domains, Sases.
In 2018 a silver drachm from Sind was auctioned by CNG. Robert Senior had identified it as a coin of the brother of Aspa. The coins of Sases from Sind identify him as the son of Aspa’s brother. Aspa is generally accepted to be Aspavarma of Apraca. I believe the brother of Aspa was sent by Abdagases to retake Sind. He was successful and struck coinage there as Great King, a title given to a coruler of secondary status in the Indo-Parthian kingdom. He probably sent for his son Sases when the province was secure. Some of Sases coinage in Sind may have been as coruler with his father. Six kings struck silver drachms in Sind. About half of all the known silver drachms of Sind are of Sases.
Aspavarma struck a rare issue of tetradrachms with an obverse identical to the last issues of Abdagases, including the presence of the Gondopharid symbol before the horseman. These may have been issued during the exile of the Apraca court. The control marks do not duplicate any known for Abdagases. An identical issue using the same control marks was also issued for Aspavarma’s nephew Sases. Shortly before or after the death of Abdagases, Aspavarma was restored to the Apraca kingdom. He struck a new series of tetradrachms during a second reign of nearly forty years.
It may have been Sases who reconquered the lost Apraca territories from Kujula. In early 2020 I obtained a tetradrachm of Sases of his standard Zeus right type with a new unpublished control mark. The control mark is a variant of the one used on Gondophares’ early Athena issue struck north of Pushkalavati. The rarity of this coin speaks to a small issue. After driving out the Kushan, Sases repatriated the territory to his uncle.
After dispatching Kujula, Sases moved to make himself sole ruler of the Indo-Parthian kingdom. On the death of Abdagases, Orthagnes installed his son Ubouzanes as ruler in Jammu. His coins are very rare so Sases probably deposed him quickly. Sases then went west into south Arachosia, driving out Orthagnes and striking fine style tetradrachms. These coins look nearly identical to the first tetradrachms struck here by Gondophares. In a final push, Sases took Sakastan. Here he issued fine style silver drachms in a style used on Parthian coins a century before. He is shown wearing a tall tiara decorated with stags. This had been previously used by Parthian kings as an appeal to their Scythian cousins for support. It is likely that Sases had support from the Scythian population in deposing Orthagnes.
Now Sases had all the lands conquered by Gondophares, except for north Arachosia and the Kabul Valley which would remain under Kushan control. Before his death Sases probably lost Sakastan, Arachosia, and possibly Sind to Orthagnes. Orthagnes may have struck silver drachms in Sakastan once again. A new series of tetradrachms in Arachosia with elevated titles was struck by him. The coins were struck at two mints for a long period and are far more common than the issues of his first reign. In Sind a ruler named Satavastres, and another named Agata, ruled after Sases. These kings may have been appointed by Sases or Orthagnes. Since Orthagnes had a son who succeeded him in Sakastan but was not appointed to rule Sind, they may be from Sases’ family.
By the end of Sases’ reign the Kushan kingdom had a new ruler, Wima Takhto, the son of Kujula. Wima ended Indo-Parthian rule in Gandhara and Jammu. The last indo-Parthian issue in Gandhara seems to be struck by Aspavarma, who was probably once again driven from his kingdom by the Kushana. At Taxila he issued a very rare series of drachms copying the last issue of tetradrachms of his nephew Sases.
Orthagnes may have been succeeded by his son Ubouzanes. Ubouzanes struck silver drachms in Sakastan but no coins in Arachosia. Senior has suggested that because his coins are later imitated, he was the last to issue drachms in Sakastan. His coins lack the king’s name in Pahlavi script on the obverse. This feature is present on the coins of the other three late Indo-Parthian kings. It is likely he was deposed before he could issue coins in Arachosia. The king who deposed him may or may not have been part of the Indo-Parthian family.
Sanabares seems to have come from Ariana or Margiana. These areas were north of Sakastan. Sanabares struck silver drachms in Sakastan and copper tetradrachms in Arachosia. His Arachosian coins differ from those of his predecessors in having Greek legends on both sides of the coins. Those before him issued bilingual coins.
Sanabares was expelled from Sakastan and Arachosia by Pakores who issued silver drachms and bilingual tetradrachms. His tetradrachms were struck at two mints like Orthagnes before him. Many of these are overstruck on tetradrachms of the Kushan king Wima Takhto. Pakores may have been briefly succeeded by Abdagases II. Abdagases II is known from a few silver drachms and two copper tetradrachms from Arachosia. After the reign of Pakores, and perhaps Abdagases II, a coinage of crude copies of Pakores’ and Sanabares’ tetradrachms ensued. Some of these probably have the names of the issuer in Pahlavi, but few are legible.
In Ariana and Margiana, Sanabares and his descendants struck a coinage of crude copper drachms. The earliest ones have Sanabares’ name clearly legible. Later examples have no readable legends.
In the years just before the overthrow of the Parthian kingdom by Ardashir in 224AD, a series of good style tetradrachms were struck by a king named Farn Sasan. His coins have a multigenerational pedigree going back to Sanabares. With Ardashir’s conquests in the east, this last vestige of the Indo-Parthian kingdom, founded more than two centuries earlier, passed from history.
|Chicago Coin Company
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.
|Kedzie Koins Inc.
Items shown at our May 13, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.
Reminder: You can email to John a description of what you will show at a meeting, to give him a start on this write-up. Send it to email@example.com.
May 20, 2020
The Chicago Coin Club Board met May 20, 2020 via web hosted video conference. President Rich Lipman called the meeting to order at 6:15 PM with every Board member present.
Steve Zitowsky led a discussion on a Club staffed table at the upcoming Pittsburgh ANA Convention. The table will be complimentary since the Club will Host the 2021 convention. The Board instructed Steve to contact Sam Joseph, ANA Exposition Manager, with the Club’s permission to reserve a table in the Club area.
Carl Wolf reported there was no response to emails to the Chicago Bar Association inquiring on meeting room availability when the pandemic stay-at-home is lifted. The Board instructed Carl to remove the Club’s document viewer stored at the CBA. Steve Zitowsky volunteered to offer transportation.
Conversations Regarding Online Meetings:
The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
|June 10, 2020
|6:45 PM CDT (UTC-05:00)
Visit our Online Meeting webpage, at www.chicagocoinclub.org/meetings/online_meeting.html, for all the details on participating in an online club meeting. Participation in an online meeting requires some advance work by both our meeting coordinator and attendees, especially first-time participants. Please plan ahead; read the latest instructions on the day before the meeting!
|Jeffrey Amelse —
The Visigoth Gold Tremisses Series as Illustrated Via Ruth Pleigo “Falsifications”
The Goths were barbaric German tribes that moved west. The Visigothic Kingdom occupied what is now southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to the 8th centuries. Their coinage was mainly of small gold tremisses, typically about 15 mm and 1.4 grams. Several thousand die varieties of bonafide tremesses were minted. Since little information about them was available until recently, they were easy to forge. Thus, several thousand different forgery varieties also are known to exist. Both real and forgery varieties are listed in a recent two-volume set by Ruth Pliego Vasquez of the University of Seville. It would now be impossible to put together a set of real coins from all rulers because of both cost and scarcity. Jeffrey has assembled a collection of over 50 “falsifications” which represent most of the rulers. Most are catalogued in Ruth’s books and most are pretty scarce themselves – he has a few that are not even listed. It is a neat series because many of the portraits are abstract, comical, almost cartoon-like. The Visigoths were pagans who converted to Christianity. Only a handful of Visigoth churches survive; Jeffrey will show pictures of a few which he was able to visit in Portugal and just across the northern border, in Spain.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is online during the Covid-19 isolation era, on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM CT.
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Jeffrey Amelse on The Visigoth Gold Tremisses Series as Illustrated Via Ruth Pleigo “Falsifications”
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
|ANA in downtown Pittsburgh. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - James McMenamin on to be announced
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
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