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Coins of ancient Armenia

A mountainous country to the northeast of Asia Minor, once part of the Achaemenid, Alexandrine and Seleucid Empires. After the defeat of Antiochus III by the Romans in 190 BC, an independent kingdom was set up under her guidance. A 600 year long tug-of-war followed between Rome, the Parthians and later, the Sasanians, ending in the late 4th century division of the country between the east Romans and the Persians. Armenia was the first land to adopt the Christian religion officially and the oldest Christian nation to survive into modern times.

 

Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE 1/2 Chalkous
Bedoukian CAA 107, Bedoukian CCT 114-117 and 27 (107), SGCv2 7210
12 mm.
1.63 gm.
Die position=1h
Obverse: Bust of Tigranes right wearing Armenian tiara.
Reverse: Head of wheat. Legend.


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE Dichalkous
Nercessian ACV 52
19 x 18 mm.
4.54 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Bust right.
Reverse: Tyche seated right holding palm; river god Orontes at her feet. Legend and field marks.
Note: Courtesy Jamison T. Graff collection.


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE Dichalkous
Nercessian ACV 53
18 mm.
5.19 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Bust right (crude, stern style).
Reverse: Tyche seated right holding palm; river god Orontes at her feet. Blundered legend and field marks.


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE Tetrachalkous
Nercessian ACV 73, Bedoukian CAA 100, SGCv2 7209
19 mm.
5.99 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Bust of Tigranes right wearing Armenian tiara; traces of understrike [9h]
Reverse: Bearded, nude Heracles (Vahagn) standing; his left arm holding lion's skin, his right, a club. Greek legend BASILEWS, right; BASILEWN TIGRANOU, left; traces of understrike.
Note: This coin has been struck over an earlier issue, possibly a Seleucid coin.


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE Chalkous
Nercessian ACV 94, Bedoukian CAA 104v., SGCv2 -
17 x 18 mm.
3.29 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Bust of Tigranes right wearing Armenian tiara; palm branch behind bust (?).
Reverse: Cornucopia, right. Greek legend; field letters.


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE Chalkous
Nercessian ACV 87, Bedoukian CAA 120, SGCv2 7211
14 mm.
3.49 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Bust of Tigranes right wearing Armenian tiara ornamented with star/comet; 'A' behind bust.
Reverse: Nike advancing left holding wreath. Greek legend BASILEOS, right; TIGRANOU, left.


Tigranes II, the Great (95 - 56 BC)
AE 1/2 Chalkous
Nercessian ACV 120
10 x 11 mm.
1.83 gm.
Die position=1h
Obverse: Youthful-looking bust right.
Reverse: Horse grazing right; legend.

Artavasdes II (56 - 34 BC)


Artavasdes II (56 - 34 BC)
AE Tetrachalkous
Bedoukian CAA 132, SGCv2 7315
17 mm.
5.80 gm.
Die position=1h
Obverse: Bust of Artavasdes right wearing Armenian tiara.
Reverse: Nike advancing left. Greek legend BASILEWS, right; BASILEWN ARTAUAZDOU, left.

Roman Occupation (34 - 31 BC)

Artaxias II (30 - 20 BC)

Tigranes III (20 - 8 BC)

Tigranes IV (8 - 5 BC)

Artavasdes III (5 - 2 BC)

Tigranes IV and Erato, Jugate (2 BC - 1 AD)

Artavasdes IV (4 - 6 AD)

Tigranes V (6 AD)

Artaxias III (18 - 34 AD)

Armenian Kingdom of Commagene

Ptolomaeus (c.163 BC)

Mithridates I Callinicus (96 - 70 BC)

Antiochus I Theos (69 - 34 BC)

Antiochus IV Epiphanes (38 - 72 AD)


Antiochos IV
AE 28
38 - 72 AD
SGIC 5507, Nercessian ACV 199, RPC 3856
28 mm.
13.03 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Beardless, diademed head, right. Greek legend.
Reverse: Scorpion in wreath, diadem above. Greek legend.

Antiochus IV and Iotape (38 - 72 AD)

Iotape (38 - 72 AD)

Epiphanes and Callinicus (72 AD)

Philopappos (72 AD)

Arsacids of Armenia (53 - 428 AD)

Period of Governors and Foreign Domination (428 - 885 AD)

 

Bagratid Dynasty of Armenia (885 - 1045 AD)

 

Cilician Armenian Kingdom

Baronial Period (1080 - 1198 AD)

Roupen I (1080 - 1095 AD)


Roupen I (1080 - 1095 AD)
AE Unit
Nercessian ACV 245
21 mm.
1.54 gm.
Die position=n/a
Obverse: Cross; Armenian legend.
Reverse: Cross with pellets (?) in fields; Armenian legend.

Gosdantin I (1095 - 1100 AD)

No coins known.

Toros I (1100 - 1123 AD)

Levon I (1123 - 1138 AD)

No coins known.

Byzantine Rule (1138 - 1144 AD)

Toros II (1144 - 1168 AD)

Mleh (1168 - 1175 AD)

No coins known.

Roupen II (1175 - 1187 AD)


Roupen II (1175 - 1187 AD)
AE Unit
Nercessian ACV 249
21 mm.
1.97 gm.
Die position=9h
Obverse: Castle with two platforms; Armenian legend.
Reverse: Cross with pellets in fields; Armenian legend.

Levon II (1187 - 1198 AD)

Royal Period (1198 - 1375 AD)

Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AR Tram
Nercessian ACV 289v.
24 mm.
3.01 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: Levon seated on lion throne, holding cross and fleur-de-lys. Armenian legend with variation.
Reverse: Rampant lions with patriarchal cross. Pellet above head of left lion. Armenian legend with variation.


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AR Tram
Nercessian ACV 291
22 mm.
3.05 gm.
Die position=4h
Obverse: Levon seated on lion throne, holding cross and fleur-de-lys. Three pellets in right field. Armenian legend with variation.
Reverse: Rampant lions with patriarchal cross. Armenian legend with variation.


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AR Tram
Nercessian ACV 295v.
24 x 22 mm.
2.81 gm.
Die position=4h
Obverse: Levon seated on lion throne, holding cross and lis. 3 pellets in right field, 2 pellets in left. Armenian legend with variation.
Reverse: Rampant lions with patriarchal cross. Armenian legend with variation.


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AE Tank
Nercessian ACV 303v.
28 mm.
7.21 gm.
Die position=6h
Obverse: Bearded leonine head of king wearing crown with six pellets. No curl in hair. Armenian legend with variation.
Reverse: Patriarchal cross with star to each side. Armenian legend with variation.


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AE Tank
Nercessian ACV 308v.
30 mm.
6.58 gm.
Die position=5h
Obverse: Bearded leonine head of king wearing crown with six pellets. Single curl in hair. Armenian legend with variation.
Reverse: Patriarchal cross with star to each side. Armenian legend with variation.


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AE Tank
Nercessian ACV 308v.
29 mm.
8.00 gm.
Die position=12h (?)
Obverse: Bearded leonine head of king wearing crown with six pellets. Single curl in hair. Armenian legend with variation. Double struck.
Reverse: Patriarchal cross with star to each side. Armenian legend with variation. Double struck.


Levon I (1198 - 1219 AD)
AE Tank
Nercessian ACV 300-313 type
30 x 29 mm.
7.78 gm.
Die position=n/a
Obverse: Bearded leonine head of king wearing crown.
Reverse: Patriarchal cross with star to each side.

Zabel (1219 - 1222 AD)

No known coins.

Zabel and Philip (1222 - 1225 AD)

No known coins.

Hetoum I (1226 - 1270 AD)


Hetoum I (1226 - 1270 AD)
AR Tram
Nercessian ACV 341
20 mm.
3.01 gm.
Die position=10h
Obverse: Queen Zabel and king Hetoum standing, facing; both holding cross with no 'dot'. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right with left paw lifted, cross behind. Armenian legend.


Hetoum I (1226 - 1270 AD)
AE Tank
Nercessian ACV 356v.
30 mm.
6.54 gm.
Die position=11h
Obverse: King seated on throne adorned with lions; left hand holding globus cruciger, right hand holding fleur-de-lys or cross over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Potent cross with four lines in four quadrants; pellet in third quadrant. Armenian legend, struck in Sis.


Hetoum I (1226 - 1270 AD)
AE Tank
Nercessian ACV 356v.
29 mm.
8.13 gm.
Die position=2h
Obverse: King seated on throne adorned with lions; left hand holding globus cruciger, right hand holding fleur-de-lys or cross over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Potent cross with four lines in four quadrants. Armenian legend, struck in Sis.


Hetoum I (1226 - 1270 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 363
24 mm.
4.37 gm.
Die position=4h
Obverse: King seated legs crossed on wide bench; left hand holding globus cruciger, right hand holding fleur-de-lys or cross over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Potent cross with lines in three quadrants, crescent in first quadrant. Armenian legend, struck in Sis.


Hetoum I (1226 - 1270 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 364
24 x 22 mm.
4.39 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: King seated legs crossed on wide bench.
Reverse: Potent cross with lines in four quadrants.

Levon II (1270 - 1289 AD)


Levon II (1270 - 1289 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 388
22 x 21 mm.
2.78 gm.
Die position=6h
Obverse: Lion to right; Armenian legend.
Reverse: Ornate cross; Armenian legend.

Hetoum II (1289 - 1293, 1295 - 1296, 1299 - 1305 AD)


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 398
23 x 21 mm.
3.58 gm.
Die position=6h
Obverse: King's head facing; Armenian legend.
Reverse: Long cross with two bars; floral ornament below. Armenian legend.
Note: The floral element on the reverse is almost identical with similar elements on the silver bilingual coins of Hetoum I (1226-1270), Nercessian ACV 330, as well as Zengid coins from the mid to late 12th century [see: Zengid S/S 74 types et al.]


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 398
21 mm.
3.08 gm.
Die position=1h
Obverse: King's head facing; Armenian legend.
Reverse: Long cross with two bars; floral ornament below. Armenian legend.
Note: The floral element on the reverse is almost identical with similar elements on the silver bilingual coins of Hetoum I (1226-1270), Nercessian ACV 330, as well as Zengid coins from the mid to late 12th century [see: Zengid S/S 74 types et al.]


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 399v. (?)
21 x 18 mm.
2.56 gm.
Die position=n/a
Obverse: King seated. Right hand raised.
Reverse: Cross with dots in four quadrants.


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 400-402 type
23 x 22 mm.
4.08 gm.
Die position=n/a
Obverse: King seated. Left hand raised.
Reverse: Potent cross (with pellets (?)). Armenian legend.


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 400-402 type
20 mm.
2.67 gm.
Die position=n/a
Obverse: King seated. Left hand raised.
Reverse: Potent cross with pellets. Armenian legend.


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 400
22 x 23 mm.
4.55 gm.
Die position=5h
Obverse: King seated in Oriental fashion; left hand raised holding cross, right hand holding mace over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Potent cross with pellets in fields. Armenian legend.


Hetoum II (1289 - 1305 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 402v.
18 mm.
1.97 gm.
Die position=9h (?)
Obverse: King seated in Oriental fashion; left hand raised holding cross, right hand holding mace over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Potent cross (with pellets (?)). Armenian legend.

Toros (1293 - 1295 AD)

Smpad (1296 - 1298 AD)


Smpad (1296 - 1298 AD)
AE Pogh
Nercessian ACV 412
18 x 19 mm.
1.85 gm.
Die position=12h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right.
Reverse: Cross with four doves, one in each quadrant. Armenian legend.


Smpad (1296 - 1298 AD)
AE Pogh
Nercessian ACV 412
19 mm.
2.06 gm.
Die position=10h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right; left hand holding reins, right hand holding mace over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Cross with four doves, one in each quadrant. Armenian legend.


Smpad (1296 - 1298 AD)
AE Pogh
Nercessian ACV 412v.
20 mm.
1.92 gm.
Die position=2h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right; left hand holding reins, right hand holding mace over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Cross with four doves, one in each quadrant. Armenian legend.

Gosdantin I (1298 - 1299 AD)

Levon III (1301 - 1308 AD)


Levon III (1301 - 1308 AD)
AR Takvorin
Nercessian ACV 419v.
22 x 18 mm.
2.48 gm.
Die position=10h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right; left hand holding reins, right hand holding mace or cross over his shoulder. Armenian letter in right field, mark or letter in left. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right; cross behind. No field marks. Armenian legend with pellet at 8h.


Levon III (1301 - 1308 AD)
AR Takvorin
Nercessian ACV 427v.
20 x 21 mm.
2.39 gm.
Die position=9h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right; left hand holding reins, right hand holding mace or cross over his shoulder. Three pellets in left field. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right (no claws); cross behind. Tail ends in three branches. No field marks. Armenian legend.


Levon III (1301 - 1308 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 431
20 x 18 mm.
2.77 gm.
Die position=9h
Obverse: King seated on bench-like throne, holding cross in right hand and staff in left, extending over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Cross with lines in four quadrants. Armenian legend.


Levon III (1301 - 1308 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 432v.
20 mm.
3.22 gm.
Die position=2h
Obverse: King seated in Oriental fashion; holding cross in right hand and staff in left, extending over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Plain cross. Armenian legend.


Levon III (1301 - 1308 AD)
AE Kardez
Nercessian ACV 433; Bedoukian CCA 1836
23 x 21 mm.
2.94 gm.
Die position=8h
Obverse: King seated in Oriental fashion; holding cross in right hand and staff in left, extending over his shoulder. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Cross with lines in four quadrants. Armenian legend.

Oshin (1308 - 1320 AD)

Levon IV (1320 - 1342 AD)


Levon IV (1320 - 1342 AD)
AR Takvorin
Nercessian ACV 452
16 x 17 mm.
2.27 gm.
Die position=10h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right holding mace over his shoulder; Armenian letters in field. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right; cross behind. Pellets in field. Armenian legend.


Levon IV (1320 - 1342 AD)
AR Takvorin
Nercessian ACV 452
19 mm.
2.24 gm.
Die position=1h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right holding mace over his shoulder; Armenian letters in field. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right; cross behind. Armenian legend.


Levon IV (1320 - 1342 AD)
AE Pogh
Nercessian ACV 466
20 x 21 mm.
1.30 gm.
Die position=6h
Obverse: Very stylized king seated on bench-like throne, holding cross in right hand and fleur-de-lys in left. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Plain cross. Armenian legend.

Guy (1342 - 1344 AD)

Gosdantin III (1344 - 1363 AD)


Gosdantin III (1344 - 1363 AD)
AR Takvorin
Nercessian ACV 473
18 mm.
1.92 gm.
Die position=2h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right holding mace over his shoulder; Armenian letters in field. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right; cross behind. Armenian letter in field. Armenian legend.

Levon the Usurper (1363 - 1365 AD)

Gosdantin IV (1365 - 1373 AD)


Gosdantin IV (1365 - 1373 AD)
AR Takvorin
Nercessian ACV 492v.
18 mm.
1.50 gm.
Die position=6h
Obverse: King on horseback riding right holding cross over his shoulder; Armenian letter 'S' below horse. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Lion walking right; cross behind. Letter (?) and pellet below lion. Armenian legend.

Levon V (1374 - 1375 AD)


Levon V (1374 - 1375 AD)
AE Pogh
Nercessian ACV 506
18 x 16 mm.
0.79 gm.
Die position=8h
Obverse: Lion of Cyprus walking right. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Simple cross. Armenian legend.


Levon V (1374 - 1375 AD)
AE Pogh
Nercessian ACV 506 type
16 mm.
0.58 gm.
Die position=n/a
Obverse: Very stylized lion of Cyprus walking right. Armenian legend.
Reverse: Simple cross. Armenian legend.
Note: This could be a later imitation.