Valkash (Valaxs or Balash), Sasanian King AD 484-488

Saeedi AV 84, Very Fine

Mint: AI.


Given the devastation of the treasury and taxation during the reign of Peroz, the Sasanian nobility became involved more than ever in efforts save the empire from collapse. The aristocracy and priesthood began acting as a powerful joint council that installed and removed kings. Valkash, the brother of Peroz, was placed in power after Peroz’s sudden death. The records consider Valkash to be a benevolent King who cared for the peasants and lower classes of society. One story has it that he constantly visited the countryside where he observed villages becoming desolate and was disturbed by the plight of farmers abandoning their farms. He made a commitment to help peasants and farmers so that no farm would become desolate, so the land might continue to produce the crops so desperately needed. Other stories refer to him as having an excellent culinary taste, attributing some form of Lemon Chicken (originally a Parthian dish) to him. This coin is of the highest rarity. Indeed most of his coins are rare given the short duration of his reign. One of the extraordinary elements of this coin is the facing portrait of the king. As discussed under Ardashir I, facing portraits are typically allocated for special occasions and are extremely rare. The mint AI represents the city of Airan which is present-day Shush (Susa) in southwestern Iran. Shush is the burial place of the Prophet Daniel.