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Ballen Collection

The Todd A. Ballen Collection of Parthian and Related Coinage

Todd A. Ballen of Saint Paul, MN assembled a wonderful collection of 415 coins including 394 from Parthia, 5 from Elymais and 16 from Persis. The collection is being auctioned by the Classical Numismatic Group in their Triton XIII auction, 5 Jan 2009.

Like many collectors, Todd started collecting modern coins of the world as a child. After developing an interest in ancient history and acquiring a few ancient Greek and Roman coins, he discovered the Parthian kings. Todd was fascinated by the notion of a kingdom strong enough to thwart the attempts of the mighty Roman Empire to expand eastward and began to specialize in these coins. He developed an appreciation of the gradual stylistic transformation of Parthian coinage from the early Hellenistic portraits to the later stylized designs (all superimposed on the relative uniformity of the underlying coin types across nearly 500 years). The latter characteristic of Parthian coinage provided an interesting study in the transition of artistic styles as a result of the blending of cultures. Finally, the pursuit of rare or interesting varieties tempered with requirements on preservation condition added to the collecting challenge.

Todd has a B.A. (physics) from Kalamazoo College and M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota. He currently works as a research engineer and enjoys the study of ancient history and coins as an avocation.

Todd's collection contains a broad range of silver and bronze coinage representing most of the Parthian kings from Arsaces I to Artabanus IV. It includes a diverse selection of denominations, as well as varieties, within each type. Particular attention was paid to obtaining examples from multiple mints, and many rarities of this nature are present in this collection. In addition to the Parthian kingdom, his collection also includes examples of the Indo-Parthian rulers, as well as a small selection of coinage from the various kingdoms that were located at the periphery of the kingdom, such as Elymais and Persis.

The images on these pages are used with the kind permission of Mr. Ballen and Classical Numismatic Group. Photos of all the Ballen collection coins also appear in the Triton XIII auction catalog.

The attributions and cataloging of Parthian coins used throughout this web site follow David Sellwood's An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia (1980, 2nd edition) for consistency. The few exceptions to this policy are explained here.

Table of Exceptional Coins


Table 1

Arsaces I
Arsaces II
Mithradates I
Phraates II
Artabanus I

S1 t0 S4
S5, S6
S7 to S13
S15 to S17
S19 to S21

Page 1

Mithradates II

S21, S23, S24, S26 to S29

Page 2

Gotarzes I
Orodes I
Unknown King II
Darius (?)

S35, S36

Page 3

Phraates III
Mithradates III

S38, S39
S40, S41

Page 4

Orodes II

S43 to S48

Page 5

Phraates IV

S50 to S54

Page 6

Tiridates I
Phraataces & Musa

S56, S57

Page 7

Orodes III
Vonones I
Artabanus II

S61 to S63

Page 8

Vardanes I
Gotarzes II

S65, S66

Page 9

Vonones II
Vologases I
Vardanes II

S68, S70, S71

Page 10

Vologases II
Pacorus II
Artabanus III

S73, S75 to S77

Page 11

Vologases III
Osroes I
Mithradates IV
Unknown King III

S78, S79

Page 12

Vologases IV
Osroes II


Page 13

Vologases V
Vologases VI
Artabanus IV
Countermarked Issue
Autonomous City Issues

S86, S87
S89, S90

Page 14



Page 15


This page last updated 17 Dec 2009

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