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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 73, Lot: 1167. Estimate $300. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006. 
Sold For $550. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

INDIA, Islamic Sultanates. Bengal. Sikandar bin Ilyas. 1357-1389. AV Tanka(?) (8.84 g, 5h). Uncertain mint and date. Name and titles of Sikander bin Ilyas across fields / Titles of Sikander bin Ilyas across fields; [mint and date in outer margin]. Cf. CIS B178; Rajgor -. VF, shroff mark on reverse.

This curious coin is on a short flan, losing all the marginal legends, and is about 20% underweight. Nonetheless, there are no overt signs of clipping or shaving. It appears to be deliberately underweight for a tanka. Could another weight standard have been intended? There may be a tenuous connection with a scarce series of silver coins that Mitchiner, in his study of the currency of Bengal Land of Water p. 82 attributes to the city of Chittagong, a center for trade between Bengal and the Burmese kingdom of Pagan. These coins were struck on a Burmese standard of a half Klyap, about 8.5 g. Is this coin an attempt at a trade currency with Burma?