Finn's Top 10 2019 - Indo Sassanians

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    It's been a busy year for my collection of Indian imitations of Peroz drachms!

    Lots of hoards being quietly disbursed over ebay which I have silently been soaking up - keeping my big mouth shut has been torture but it has all paid off as I spent less than $2,000 on probably 200-300 coins.

    Unsurprisingly I could easily do a top 50, but here are the cream of the crop.

    10. Pratiharas, Mihira Bhoja I
    836-885 AD
    Obv: Adivaraha (boar avatar of Vishnu) curb-stomping lion (off flan except for forehead and nose), wheel before
    Rev: Sri Mad Adi / Va Ra Ha over vestigial fire altar and attendants
    Pratiharas bhoja I early dramma.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    This is one of the most iconic medieval Indian coins, and I have long been searching for a nice example that clearly shows both the attendant and the remnants of the fire altar.

    9. Anonymous proto-Gadhaiya
    Finn, Closing Series I, Hunnic face, skirt attendants
    ZomboDroid 13122019133856.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    This enigmatic series bridges the gap between 1.1 (earliest Gadhaiya) and 1.2 (very early, more standardized Gadhaiya). Specifically, this is only the third coin for my series, which is not cataloged in any other literature on the series - to my knowledge this coin and my coin #2 represent the only two extant specimens of this sub type.

    8. Unattributable Pratihara-Pala supremacy
    Sri Va, Late type, large portrait

    Why it made the top 10:
    I spotted a small hoard of these on eBay from last December until early February, and bought nearly all of them, acquiring about 10 of this type, and 8 of an earlier type (plus more Sri Ha coins than I know what to do with). This one in particular displays the letter Sa above the headdress - This helps to establish this series as an official extension of the Sri Ha series and not merely a barbarous one-off, although it frankly does raise more questions than it answers.

    7. Unknown Sri Ha derivative


    Why it made the top 10:
    In the same hoard were two examples of this totally unpublished type with a distinctive portrait unlike any other is the series. An ornate Sri is visible before the portrait, but sadly the second character is not visible in either specimen.

    6. "Proto Sri Vigra" dramma, c. 8th century
    Unpublished reverse type
    Sri Vigra Pra Ja missing link.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    A number of "Proto Sri Vigra" coins have come up as of late (Maheshwari claims they are anepigraphic; Mitchiner reads them as "Da" - I personally believe it is a highly stylized intermediate form of Ja). This one (and a couple more still tied up in customs) represent a new type, bridging the gap between the earlier types and the square portrait "Praa Ja" type. It is not formally published, but Mitchiner 383 may be another example. Maheshwari lists two reverse types for Proto Sri Vigra; this would be a third type.

    5. Unattributable Pratihar-Pala Supremacy
    Sri Ri
    ZomboDroid 21112019151231.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    This type is Mitchiner 362, and curiously absent from Maheshwari (Although Maheshwari 1214, attributed as Sri Na may be an example). This is the finest of the two examples in my possession, although I have another three currently tied up in customs. I have never seen the type until about a month ago and likely never will again.

    4. Unattributable Pratihara-Pala Supremacy
    Sri Bho
    Sri Bho drachm.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    Here we have the converse: This type is Maheshwari 1211-1212 and is not otherwise attested. Importantly, this coin has a different bust types than the two examples in Maheshwari and thus probably constitutes an unpublished type.

    3. Earliest Pratiharas?
    Early anepigraphic Peroz imitation Indo Sassanian early Pratihara type.jpg

    Why it made the top 10
    While not objectively rare (Maheshwari has over 100 published in his book) this is the first example of the type that I have seen offered for sale since I started collecting these in 2016. It is an incredibly important piece to the puzzle of how three evolutionary tracks of these coins got started.

    2. Gadhaiya derivatives, Earliest "Distinctive nose"
    ZomboDroid 17102019215519.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    A small group of these coins were sold by a random eBay seller in March 2018; I managed to buy all of them except this one which I forgot to add to my watch list and it was snapped up by none other than @Spaniard. It took a while of negotiations, but I was finally able to convince him to trade me for it! This type is of the highest rarity; it is not published in Mitchiner, Deyell, or Maheshwari, and by my reckoning, fewer than 10 are known, of which I now own three.

    1. Pratiharas?
    Extremely schematized "Sri Ma" with Kalasha (flower pot)
    Late pre imperial pratihara kalasha.jpg

    Why it made the top 10:
    Although I still lack the more fine style example of this type (Almost won one, but was sniped after placing a $150 bid on a coin that was only at $20), this type is far more rare. It is not published in Mitchiner or Deyell, and is Maheshwari 1433-1434. It is probably the third known example of the type.
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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Wow, Finn!! When does your book come out?!?
    Finn235 likes this.
  4. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Cool 10
    Finn235 likes this.
  5. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    An awesome group. This list is in my top ten of the top ten lists.
  6. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Interesting collection. I like 5 & & best. They are like minimalist portrait art by Pablo Picasso.
    Finn235 likes this.
  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Very cool, @Finn235 ... thanks for posting these nice coins. I really like the "WHY" answers. Hones in the story as well as your passion!

    I chuckle about the Gadhaiya. It took me FOREVER to see the face and nose on the face!!!
    I thought it was some weird martian figure or some magic mushroom until @Ancientnoob had to show me!

    India Gujarat Chalukyas Gadhaiya Paisa BI Drachm 4.6g 14mm 9th C CE Sun Moon Fire Alter Crescent

    India Gujarat Chalukyas Gadhaiya Paisa BI Drachm 11th C CE  Sun Moon Fire Alter Crescent.jpg
    India Gujarat Chalukyas Gadhaiya Paisa BI Drachm 11th C CE Sun Moon Fire Alter Crescent
  8. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Capture.JPG Great write-up - I'd buy the book. I especially like #10 for the "vestigial fire altar and attendants". Best wishes for more unpublished types in 2020!
    Finn235 likes this.
  9. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    That is a delightfully weird group of coins....that boar avatar of vishnu is sweet!
    Finn235 likes this.
  10. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Wonderful group of 'rare' coins! ....
    You have amazing stamina and focus coupled with the ability to breakdown, decipher and describe the minute details related to these abstract coins. I already have my collection chronologically tagged using your reference numbers and look forward to viewing your reference on paper in the future...
    My favourite is number 2 ;)....It's now with its rightful custodian....Congrats and great work!
    Here's a recent pick up from your 1.1.8 series..
    GAD TOG.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  11. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Nice top "10"! I also love Medieval Indian AV coinage. I personally know John Deyell, he is member of our coin club.
    Last meeting, we talked about the need for books on that subject. Hopefully, soon one will come out with colour plates, detailed descriptions on all Hunnic/ Hindu Kingdoms coinage, up to Muslim invasions.
    Finn235 and Ed Snible like this.
  12. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Thanks all!

    The book is in the works; just haven't had the time or mental energy to make any significant progress on it this year; hopefully 2020 will be less hectic!

    For any who are interested, here are some runners-up to my top 10!

    A very early Sri Ma
    Pratihara early sri ma.jpg

    This is the Sri Va small bust type, probably the predecessor to my #8

    A delightfully weird "proto Sri Vigra" with Maheshwari type B reverse
    Proto sri vigra type B.jpg

    From the more recent hoard, an unattributable member of the two character series, related to Sri Ha
    ZomboDroid 21112019164736.jpg

    A rare extension of the same series, Sri Te?

    A nice early 1.1.3 - Fancy hat, square jaw type ZomboDroid 14122019131944.jpg

    I thought I had the late series 1.4 (Gadhaiya) figured out, but this one blew my conceptions about when the eye line disappeared right out of the water.
    indo sassanian late line eye.jpg

    A rare late "Distinctive nose" with the ear replaced with a Nagari legend. Maheshwari reads it as "Srila" but I'm not 100% convinced on this one (I have a couple more in the mail)
    Distinctive nose inscribed srila.jpg

    An important addition to series 1.1 - I believe this is the missing link between the earlier styles and 1.1.7 (Line Style II, Tall Head)
    ZomboDroid 17102019220212.jpg

    And another trade with @Spaniard, a type that bridges the earliest Peroz imitations with the larger Pratihara types that ultimately became Sri Ha - this one is in very fine early style and has a flower instead of any legend
    ZomboDroid 08092019164815.jpg
  13. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Interesting coins.
    Finn235 likes this.
  14. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Finn235, You've got a fascinating group of coins :D! Thanks for the detailed descriptions otherwise I'd have no idea what I'm looking at :confused:. If someone gave me one of these coins I'd have no idea where to research it :banghead:. With over 50 years of experience collecting & dealing in coins I've only encountered a couple of dealers that carry the coins you collect :shame:.
    Finn235 likes this.
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