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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 73, Lot: 542. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006. 
Sold For $5500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

INDIA, Kushan Empire. Vima Kadphises. Circa AD 100-127/8. AV Dinar (7.99 g, 1h). Mint I (A). Crowned and diademed bust left on clouds, holding club and sword hilt; tamgha to right / Ithyphallic Siva, nimbate, standing facing, head left, holding trident and holding a he-goat skin; tamghas to left and right. MK 15/15A = Donum Burns 79 (same dies). Superb EF. Rare this nice.

Göbl notes that the only example of this die combination is the Donum Burns specimen.

Because of the lucrative international trade between the Kushan and Roman Empires along the Silk Road and the resulting influx of gold bullion, Vima Kadphises, unlike his predecessors whose currency contained solely bronze and silver types, was the first of the Kushans to strike issues in gold. Three denominations were struck at a single mint. The majority were dinars, produced in several emissions, but other denominations, like the rare half dinar, and the extremely rare double dinar, are also known. As these coins were based on a weight standard which roughly corresponded to that of the contemporary Roman aureus, such coins were minted, in part, to facilitate large international transactions between the two empires. These issues also would have been used as gifts to local dignitaries, which emphasized Kushan power and prestige within its own region. The synthesis of Greek and Indian elements present in the use of Greek and Kharosthi legends, as well as the use of syncretic reverse types (in this case Oesho-Siva), reflects the increasingly cosmopolitan outlook of the Kushans as they moved forward to become a major regional economic and political power.