KINGS OF PERSIS. Baydād (Bagadat), early 2nd century BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 29 mm, 16.96 g, 11 h), Istakhr (Persepolis). Head of Baydād to right, with short beard, mustache, and earring, wearing diademed kyrbasia with flaps tied behind. Rev. [...] / 𐡁𐡓𐡁 / 𐡀𐡍𐡄𐡏𐡀 (or similar) Baydād, wearing kyrbasia and long cloak, seated to left on throne, holding long standard with his right hand and cup in his left, placing his feet on a lion recumbent left; to left, standard. Alram 514 var. (differing legends and without the lion). K&M -. Sunrise 559 var. (differing legends and without the lion). Apparently unpublished and unique. A very interesting and highly important issue, well struck and with a bold portrait. Traces of overstriking, otherwise, about extremely fine.
We know virtually nothing about Baydād other than he appears to have been the first in a line of Persian Kings that gained some sort of independence from their Seleukid overlords. His reign has traditionally been placed in the early 3rd century BC, but the iconographical similarity of his coinage to that of the later Persian Kings, whose line starts in the early to mid 2nd century BC, argues for a much later date. It therefore seems more plausible to place Baydād in the early 2nd century, a time which saw the steady decline of Seleukid control over the 'upper satrapies' and the emergence of various local dynasties. The coinage of the Kings of Persis closely follows Greek traditions in adapting the Attic weight standard and placing the portrait of the King on the obverse and his names and titles on the reverse. The types and iconography, however, are decidedly non-Greek, which reflects the local background of the new dynasty whose legitimacy must at least in part have been based on the successful struggle for independence. Unfortunately, the legends on the coinage of Baydād are notoriously difficult to read: they often appear to be blundered, and the fact that many of his coins were overstruck on Greek tetradrachms, the traces of which tend to obscure the details, is of no help either. Baydād struck two reverse types, one of which, showing him praying before a fire-temple of Ahura-Mazda, would later become the prototype for the coinage of all his successors, while the other, such as here, shows the King seated to left on a throne with a scepter and a jug. What makes our example stand out from all others, however, is the highly interesting addition of a recumbent lion on which the King places his feet. This is a new and hitherto unpublished type, incorporating to the Royal iconography the animal which would later become the coat of arms of Persia.