Ardashir I, Sasanian King AD 223/4 – 240

Ex Sunrise Collection: 692, Superb Extremely Fine

Mint A – Stakhr (Also known in historical literature as City of Istakhr or Istaxr), currently located in the province of Fars in southern Iran. Minting date range is considered to be circa AD 205/6-223/4.


This coin is considered to be the first minted under the Sasanian dynasty founded by Ardashir I. It is also considered to be the last coin of the feudal kings of Persis, which included Ardashir’s father and ancestors. After becoming king of his ancestral region, Ardashir consolidated his power by defeating his rivals, including his overlord the Last Parthian King Artabanos VI. The forward-facing portrait in Sasanian coinage is typically of the highest rarity and reserved for very special occasions. The obverse shows Ardashir I facing forward. The reverse depicts Ardashir’s father “Papag”, also known as “Babak” in later literary sources. Both are crowned with a Parthian pellet-in-crescent tiara. This coin was minted during the period in which Ardashir became the master of Persis and embarked on campaigns against his rivals and, eventually, his Parthian overlord.