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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 73, Lot: 1187. Estimate $2500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006. 
Sold For $3200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

INDIA, Independent States. Maratha Confederacy. Shivaji. 1674-1680. AR Hun (2.31 g, 12h). “Sri Raja Siva” in Devanagari in three lines across fields / “Chhatrapati” in Devanagari in two lines across fields. Cf. Marathas p. 20, T1 (AV Hun); KM -. Good VF, toned. Extremely rare.

The Marathas, a loose confederacy of Hindu tribes in the Deccan, were the primary stumbling block to Mughal expansion into southern India in the seventeenth century. There is a great discrepancy in the dates provided for the foundation of Maratha independence, starting as early as 1646, but the true founder of the state was Shivaji, who succeded his father as jagir or feudal lord of Pune in 1664. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who ascended the throne in 1658, proved intolerant of Hindu customs, and his draconian acts of suppression spurred widespread discontent, focused on the increasingly powerful Maratha states and the brilliant warrior leader Shivaji. Shivaji proclaimed himself king in 1674, and the extremely rare first Maratha coinage, his gold and silver honas, were probably struck for his coronation. Shivaji held back the Mughal armies, but after his death in 1680 a renewed onslaught fractured the Maratha states, and the Hindu tribes resorted to a prolonged campaign of guerilla warfare until the 1720s, when waning Mughal authority allowed the re-establishment of fully independent kingdoms. Shivaji became a hero to the Hindus of India, and in many ways is regarded as one of the founders of modern India.