Leu Numismatik AG > Web Auction 23Auction date: 22 August 2022
Lot number: 3392

Price realized: 850 CHF   (Approx. 886 USD / 883 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


KINGS OF MEDIA-ATROPATENE. Asinnalos, circa 36 or 30 BC (?). Dichalkon (Bronze, 17 mm, 4.90 g, 11 h), Artaxata. Draped bust of Asinnalos to right, wearing three-pointed tiara decorated with an annulet (or a wreath?) within raised rectangular design; behind, A. Rev. BAΣIΛE[ΩΣ] - [M]EΓA[ΛOY] - AΣINNA[ΛOY] Nike driving quadriga to right, holding wreath in her right hand and palm frond over her left shoulder; below, N. Alram 238 (as 'Unbekannter König I') = G. Le Rider: Monnaies Grecques acquises par le Cabinet des Médailles en 1959, in: RN 6, Tome 2 (1959), p. 27, 34. Hunterian III, p. 3 and pl. LXIII, 5 ('Uncertain King'). Kovacs -. Of the highest rarity, one of a very few known examples. An unusually complete example and of great historical interest. Some flan faults, otherwise, very fine.


Ex Leu 7, 24 October 2020, 1358, from an important collection of Armenian coins, Leu 5, 27 October 2019, 191 (but reinterpreted) and ex Gorny & Mosch 236, 7 March 2016, 290.

Asinnalos is only known from his very few surviving coins, most of which do not provide a full reading of his name (which is why Alram still called him 'Unbekannter König I' in 1986). His tiara is that of a King of Media-Atropatene, which has led to the suggestion that he was appointed to his position by Phraates IV after the capture of Artavasdes in 30 BC. What makes his coinage particularly interesting is the fact that not only does it copy a reverse of the Armenian king Artavasdes II (56-34 BC), it also bears the mintmark A for Artaxata on the obverse! But why would a Median king issue coins in the Armenian capital?

Two scenarios come to mind: either Asinnalos, as a Parthian client king and successor of Artavasdes, gained temporary control over Artaxata in 30 BC, where he then issued his only coins. Or, as an even more intriguing alternative, Asinnalos was in fact appointed by Artavasdes II of Armenia as an unsuccessful anti-king to his enemy Artavasdes of Media-Atropatene in 36 BC. Such a scenario, speculative as it may seem, would readily explain why Asinnalos' few surviving coins were struck in Artaxata and carried an Armenian reverse type rather than Parthian-style iconography (see above, lot 1357), as it was adopted by Artavasdes of Media. In addition, it would also account for the lack of coins of Asinnalos without a mintmark, similar to those of his opponent Artavasdes, which were most likely struck in Ganzak, the Median capital, or Phraaspa, the Royal Median residence.

Starting price: 100 CHF