Coins represent the most important, and also the only continuous source for almost every aspect of the history of Sasanian Iran. Despite several earlier studies, among which those of Robert Göbl deserve special mention, the quantity of Sasanian coins published so far is still relatively small, and the interpretation of this material is still in a quite embryonic stage. Therefore, the Numismatic Commission (now research group Numismatics, division Documenta Antiqua), together with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris (C. N. R. S., Monde Iranien: R. Gyselen) and the Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente in Rome (Is. I. A. O.: C. Cereti), in cooperation with P. O. Skjaervø (Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University: paleography of coin legends) and the Institut für Wissenschaften und Technologien in der Kunst, Academy of Applied Arts (M. Schreiner, R. Linke: material analysis) has inaugurated the research project “Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum (SNS)”.
Its main aim is to publish all Sasanian coins in the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the coin cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Apart from the mere sylloge, the publication also includes a detailed discussion of all aspects of Sasanian coinage, based on a variety of different sources.
The total number of Sasanian coins in the three collections mentioned above amounts to c.12,000 specimens. The material has been divided into several volumes as follows:
Ardashir I, Shapur I (224-272): M. Alram, R. Gyselen
Ohrmazd I – Ohrmazd II (272-309): M. Alram, R. Gyselen
Shapur II – Kawad I/ 2nd Reign (309-531): N. Schindel
Khusro I, Ohrmazd IV (531-590): N. Schindel
Vol. V/1, V/2
Khusro II, Bahram VI, Wistam (590-628): N. Schindel, C. Cereti
Kawad II – Yazdgerd III (628-651); Arab-Sasanian Coinage: R. Gyselen
Up to now, volumes I, II, and III have appeared, as well as three additional volumes (SNS Israel, SNS Usbekistan, SNS Schaaf). Recently SNS Iran "A late Sasanian Hoard from Orumiyeh" was published. Volume IV of the main series will be finalized in 2018; work on the two remaining volumes has already begun. Proofs of the success of the series are the awards that volume I has won (Roman and Tania Ghirshman Prize of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, Paris; Gilljam Prize of the Royal Numismatic Society, London).