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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Two Gandharan Rarities

CNG 103, Lot: 485. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $5000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

INDIA, Post-Kushan (Gandhara). Kidara Shahis. Sri Tujina. Circa 7th century AD. Base AV Dinar (22mm, 7.48 g, 12h). Kushan style king standing left, sacrificing over [altar] and holding [filleted standard]; filleted trident to left, śri tujina in Brahmi to right of altar, abtract monograms in inner and outer right fields / Goddess enthroned facing, holding [lotus or filleted investiture garland in left hand] and lotus in right; [Kidara monogram to left], jaya in Brahmi to right. Cf. Cunningham, Coins of Medieval India 3-4 (there attributed to Toramana); otherwise unpublished in the standard references. Near EF.

This and the following lot provide a rare opportunity to further numismatic knowledge regarding the post-Gupta issues of the region of Gandhara. Although these two coins have different obverses, they do share a similar reverse type, quite probably cut by the same hand, suggesting that they belong to the same source. Unlike the following lot, however, this coin's obverse with the highly stylized Brahmi monograms is of Kidarite origin and would continue to be used subsequently by their regional successors, the Kidara Shahis. Noting another example of this coin in the British Museum, Sir Alexander Cunningham (Coins of Medieval India [1894]), errroneously attributed the coin to Toramana. The obverse legend of this coin, however, clearly reads sri tujina in Brahmi, and to date this title has not been associated with that ruler. It is not impossible that such gold issues of a Toranama-type were adopted by local rulers, but, unlike the ubiquitous bronze drachms struck by the several successor kings, these gold coins have proven to be quite rare, even with the discovery of a small group in Kashmir.