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Coins of the Bosporan Kingdom

This coin is called a "sestertius" by modern numismatists, however it is lighter than the contemporary issues from Rome. The MH on the back is the Greek number 48 and is the mark of value (48 units of bronze).

Sauromates I, AD 93/4-123/4, Æ 48 Units, struck AD 117/8-123

Obv: diademed and draped bust right

Rev: MH (mark of value - 48) within wreath


Tiberius Julius Sauromates I Philocaesar Philoromaios Eusebes aka Sauromates I, lover of Caesar, lover of Rome, and most Pius, was descended from Mark Antony, his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. For the family tree see: Romans & Crocodiles. Sauromates I had no shortage of royal relatives. He was a descendant of Greek Macedonian Kings (all of whom served under King Alexander the Great)

  • Antigonus I Monophthalmus

  • Seleucus I Nicator

  • Antipater (regent)

and Mithridates VI of Pontus + Laodice (his wife and sister) and Bosporan King Asander.


His name comes from the name of a Sarmartian tribe, the Sauromatae. The Scythians in Crimea were a primary enemy during the reign of Sauromates.


This coin is an unusual coin from the son of Sauromates I, also his successor. The 48 unit pieces decline to about 10grams during the reign of Kotys II, and this coin is heavier than anything that can be found in the ACSearch listings of this coin. There are only 9 examples that I find of this coin in ACSearch, and the second heaviest is 12.82 (nearly 2 grams lighter than this coin).

Kingdom of Bosporus, Kotys II, 123 - 132, 27mm, 14.66g

Obv: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΚΟΤΥΟΣ, bust of Kotys II to the right, trident in front of it.

Rev: M-H, Nike with palm tree and wreath

Ref: MacDonald, Bosphorus 434/2, brown-green patina, VF

Provenance: Former inventory of the Munich coin dealer Karl Kress before 1986.


This coin issued with a portrait of Roman emperor Gallienus on the reverse:

Roman Provincial, Kingdom of Bosporus, Rhescuporis IV, circa AD 242/3-276/7c BI Stater (20mm, 7.7g), dated BE 561 (AD 264/5)

Obv: BACIΛЄωC PHCKOVΠOPIΔO, diademed and draped bust of Rhescuporis right; trident to right

Rev: Laureate and draped bust of Gallienus right; I to right, AΞΦ (date) below. Ref: MacDonald 620/3; Frolova p. 161 and plates XV-XVI ; Anokhin 712a


Thothorses is known only from coins and was either a member of the Tiberian-Julian dynasty or a Sarmatian usurper.

Kings of Bosporus, Thothorses (285/6-308/9), Æ Stater (19mm, 7.31g), dated BE 585 (AD 287/8)

Obv: Diademed and draped bust of Thothorses right; monogram before; ΓΠΦ (date) below

Rev: Diademed and draped bust of Roman emperor right


I didn't realize that this next coin was electrum coin when I purchased it on EBay years ago, I assumed it was a silver stater. While there is a slight gold color on the surface it is clearly not very pure gold. This 7.2g, 20.3mm stater is the only electrum coin I have from the Kingdom of Bosporus

KINGS of BOSPORUS, Rhescuporis IV, with Philip I circa AD 242/3-276/7, Billion Stater (20.3mm, 7.2 g).

Date: Bosporan Era 541 (244/245)

Obv: BΛCIΛEωC ΠHCKOΠoRIK Diademed and draped bust of Rheskouporis IV right

Rev: Laureate and draped bust of Philip I right; club before, AMΦ (date) below.

Ref: MacDonald 602; Anokhin 691; Stanislavskii 640

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