Parthian Kingdom, Mithradates I - First Issue of Parthian Tetradrachms

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This type represents the first issue of tetradrachms by the Parthians. They were coined shortly after the Parthians had conquered Mesopotamia from the waning Seleukid Empire. As was to be expected, the die engravers of the mint at the Seleukid capital produced coinage that stylistically differed very little from the issues of the previous century under the Seleukid kings. While this could be viewed as both expedient and pragmatic – the Parthians had not struck coins since the reign of Arsakes and probably lacked experienced die cutters – Mithradates in fact actively promoted Hellenism in his territories and indeed styled himself ‘Philhellenos’ as seen on this coin. He also assumed the traditional Greek symbol of kingship, the diadem. Yet by the end of his reign, the Greek qualities that were so apparent on his early coinage was in decline, and by the reign of Orodes I in around 90 BC, the coins had become thoroughly eastern in style.

Parthian Kingdom. Mithradates I AR Tetradrachm. Seleukeia on the Tigris, circa 148 BC. Diademed and draped bust right / Diademed and beardless young Herakles standing left, holding skyphos in extended right hand and cradling club in lion skin-draped left arm, BASILEWS MEGALOU to right, ARSAKOU FILELLHNOS to left; monogram in exergue. Sellwood 13.2; Shore 35: BMC 50; MACW 481. 14.86g, 26mm, 1h.
Very Rare. Near Extremely Fine.