As Persian coins are not within our main areas of specialisation, any of our cataloguing of Persian gold coins may be in error.It also means that most of our Persian gold coins will be offered by type, and will be quite reasonably priced.We give brief specifications for some of the most recent and commonly encountered Persian gold coins, followed by a stocklist of any Persian gold coins we have for sale.Persia, as most muslim countries, used the moslem lunar calendar until March 25th 1925, when it switched to a solar one.In 1931 the Kingdom of Persia changed its name to the Kingdom of Iran, and in 1979, the monarchy was overthrown and Persia became the Islamic Republic of Iran.The gold Darics, first issued by Darius I between 521 and 485 BC, became famous in the ancient world. Like many ancient coins from around the Mediterranean, they are to be found listed as Greek coins.
His son Shahpur Mohammed Reza following him in 1926.
For this reason it is more sensible to study changes in the output (weight, fineness) of a single mint over time, rather than trying to arrive at an estimation of a nonexistent national norm. Sometimes, in fact, the standard of value used in everyday calculations was not embodied in actual coins at all. At first there seems to have been only one Achaemenid imperial mint, at Sardis (Bivar, p. 116), this element is often useful in identifying rulers depicted in other media (Göbl, pp. The ruler’s titles were inscribed in Middle Persian epigraphic script (Lukonin, p. Each type occurs with many variations in detail (Göbl, pp. About 100 Sasanian mint marks are known, though, as they are generally in abbreviated form, many have not yet been identified; some are variants or homonyms for single mints (Göbl, 1971, pp. At any one time the number of active mints must have been much lower than 100.
As the output from local mints and the “exchange rates” often differed sharply from region to region, the standard monetary unit thus functioned primarily as a unit of reckoning (Ederer, p. It is important to distinguish in the historical sources between real circulating coinage and “ghost money” of this kind. He had refined gold to the last perfection of purity in order to have coins struck of it.” The minting of the gold daric continued until the conquest of the empire by Alexander in 331 and perhaps also under his authority (Carradice, p. The daric weighed 8.4 g (= 1 shekel) and was 98 percent pure gold. The darics and sigloi were trade coins, which enjoyed great prestige everywhere and were often imitated in weight, purity, and even design. 619), though many of the imperial coins bear counterstrikes, probably by local bankers (Burns, p. Many were in operation for only short periods, to serve the army, for example (Göbl, , pp.
Nevertheless, because throughout most of Persian history coins were made of metals that were also traded as commodities subject to market forces, a monopoly of minting did not guarantee control either of the circulation or of the value of the coins, both of which fluctuated in relation to coins of other states and to the market value of the component metals (see Hennequin, 1972; idem, 1977). In the Arsacid period satraps and cities were again allowed to strike coins (Sellwood, = 1 obol), were issued (Sellwood, 1980, pp. They weighed 4.10 g or more, conforming to the standard of 4.12 g for the Attic drachma, but, owing to the thinness of the metal, were of much larger diameter (Göbl, 1971, p. The Sasanians discontinued the types of the Hellenized Arsacids and included Zoroastrian symbols and various effigies on their coins (Alram, p. On the obverse there is always a bust of the crowned and bearded king in profile facing right, combined in rare instances with images that have been interpreted as the queen, the royal heir, or both; these additional small figures on coins of Bahrām II have recently been interpreted as divinities, however (Choksy). Identifiable mint names first appeared on coins struck by Bahrām II (Gyselen, 1983, p.
Furthermore, before modern times the Persian economy consisted of a conglomeration of regional economies, each with a mint and a currency system geared to local commerce, rather than an integrated national economy. E.) an early form of the Parthian script was introduced for names and titles, at first only in abbreviated form (Ghirshman, p. As each Sasanian ruler had one or more distinctive crowns (Lukonin, p. On the reverse one of three variant types of the Zoroastrian fire altar with flames is depicted: plain, flanked by two attendants, or flanked by two attendants and with a bust in the flames. 236; idem, 1984), but they apparently became obligatory only under Bahrām IV (388-99).
The first coins of pure gold and pure silver are believed to have been produced at the same mint. 8), but Darius did introduce certain reforms (Bivar, pp. For example, a papyrus document from Egypt dating from the 5th century B. The siglos was also struck in thirds, fourths, sixths, and twelfths (Hill, p. Initially, it was probably in use primarily in Lydia itself (although gold darics were found in a 6th century deposit at Persepolis). The Arsacids did not mint gold coins, except perhaps as ceremonial medallions. It is said to have involved five craftsmen: one who “poured” the coin, one who “struck” it, one who “cut” it, one who “sealed” it, and one who “cleaned” it (Hommel, pp. These successive processes are quite similar to those known to have been involved in minting coins under the Safavids (907-1145/1501-1732; see below). 400); in addition, one Sasanian seal in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, bears an image of a mint master wearing an unusual hat and holding a balance, with an anvil, a hammer, and a die at hand (Göbl, 1971 , p. As in the Achaemenid period, most of the coins minted by the Sasanians were used for the payment and provisioning of troops, as is clear from the vastly increased production during periods of war. Ḵosrow II (590-628) even boasted of the annual inventory of his treasury and the fact that the number of s had doubled more than once during his reign (Göbl, 1971, p. Between the reigns of Šāpūr II (307-79) and Bahrām V (420-38) tributary rulers were not allowed to mint coins (Burns, pp. By the time of Ḵosrow II the practice of “hubbing,” in which duplicate dies, usually cast or punched from a single master die, were sent from the court to each operating mint, had been adopted; he was reported to have had new dies made in the thirteenth and thirtieth years of his reign (Ṭabarī, I, pp. From about 29/650 to 50/670 all these issues continued to bear the name of a Sasanian emperor, usually Ḵosrow II, the last emperor to have struck coins in quantity, and abbreviated mint names in Pahlavi.