World Coins

Copper coinage metrology of Sophene and Armenia in new book

From news release by the Armenian Numismatic Society:

Metrology of Copper Coinage of Sophene and Armenia , by  Y. T. Nercessian, is a useful reference to those who are engaged in studying the coinage of Sophene and ancient Armenia, as well as the history of the Near East. It is a comprehensive monograph designed to aid the scholar, collector, and dealer. The student of numismatics, history and metallic art will find this book an indispensable reference source.

Armenian Numismatic Societyhas published the work from Los Angeles as Special PublicationNo. 16, 2015The work has 130 pages plus end pages and is in an 8.5 x 11 inch format with card covers (short run). The book retails for $33.00 plus shipping (in U.S. $7.00 or at cost for foreign air mail).

Ancient copper coins of the Armenian kingdom of Sophene (260 to 70 B.C.) and the Artaxiad dynasty of Armenia (189 B.C. to A.D. 34) are very important sources for the study of Armenian history. These are contemporary documents which are attributed to Armenian kings who lived more than two thousand years ago. And copper coins have been used primarily by the local people for daily trade. They are national treasures, miniature metallic monuments, and primary sources of Armenian history. They reveal the metallic art of Armenia as well as the weight and size of the coin which has been in circulation as legal tender money of Armenian kings.

The book is the result of many years of research by Y. T. Nercessian who has devoted a lifetime to the study of the coinage of Armenia, authored more than ten books, and had been the editor of Armenian Numismatic Journal for forty years (1975-2014).

More than three thousand copper coins of all Armenian kings are tabulated in the corpus. Metrological information on most known copper coins that have been submitted to the author is listed in the corpus.

Columns of data offered in the publication include the weights of all coins, most of the diameters, and when available the die axis orientation. The weights of 3,214 coins are given, subdivided as follows: Sophene, Sames (ca. 260 B.C.), Arsames I (ca. 240 B.C.), Arsames II (ca. 230 B.C.), Xerxes (ca. 220 B.C.), Abdissares (ca. 210 B.C.), Zariadres (ca. 190 B.C.), Arkathius I (early second century B.C.), Morphilig (ca. 150 B.C.); ancient Armenia, Artaxias I (190 to 160 B.C.), Tigranes I (123 to 96 B.C.), Tigranes II the Great (95 to 56 B.C.), Artavasdes II (56 to 34 B.C.), Tigranes III (20 to 8 B.C.), Tigranes IV (8 to 5 B.C.), Artavasdes III (5 to 2 B.C.), Tigranes IV with Queen Erato (2 B.C. to A.D. 1), Artavasdes IV and Augustus (A.D. 4 to 6), Tigranes V (A.D. 6) and Queen Erato, Tigranes V and Augustus, and lastly Artaxias III (A.D. 18 to 34).

The lion’s share of coin data belongs to Tigranes II the Great, whose empire spread from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and toward south: Mesopotamia, Syria, Phoenicia, and Ake-Ptolemais. Tigranes earned the title of “King of Kings."

The Armenian Numismatic Society is an educational non-profit tax-exempt organization and may be contacted at 8511 Beverly Park Place, Pico Rivera, CA 90660, USA, or by email at

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