Yasir's diligent research has allowed him to identify his coin as tetradrachm of the Indo-Parthian ruler Gondophares. His empire stretched across much of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. These coins with the king mounted on a horse on one side, and a standing Shiva with a trident on the other side, are attributed slightly differently depending on who you ask. While most agree that they were issued under Gondophares I (there were several rulers with this name) they are dated to different periods of time between the late 1st century BC and the late 1st century AD. We have chosen the 20 BC to 10 BC dating based on Robert Senior's modern chronology.
These tetradrachms can be be found with either a coppery or silvery look. They are struck in billon, an alloy of copper with a low silver content. Some batches of these coins were produced with higher silver content than others, and they are often found with a very silvery look.
The front ('obverse') of the coin shows the king riding left on horseback. Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory, flies behind him, holding a wreath above him. Gondophares is wearing a traditional Parthian dress and holds a whip. The symbol in front of the horse is the tamgha of Gondophares, a sort of royal symbol unique to each ruler. The Greek legend around reads something like 'BASILEWS BASILEWN GONDOPHAROU', translating into 'Gondophares, King of Kings'
The reverse shows Shiva, the Supreme God of Hinduism, standing facing the viewer holding a trident and a palm branch. The symbols to the left and right of Shiva seem to be a form of Kharoshti monograms. The inscription around is also in Kharoshti, and reads the same as the obverse.
worn: $35 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $225
well preserved: $400
The values above are for coins with the design described on this page and a weight of about 7 to 9 grams. For coins with different designs or sizes, separate appraisal requests are welcome. The coin in our picture weighs 8.9 grams and comes from world-renowned Spink & Son in London. CoinQuest thanks Spink for use of their coin photo.
Remember to check out our Important Terminology page found at the top left in order to properly interpret the catalog values used on this page.