Featured Sri Jaitavama Deva billon Gadhaiya - White Whale!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Since India has been on near total lock-down since about March, it's been a pretty slow year for Indo-Sassanian coins for me. By complete chance, I managed to find this listed on ebay - one of thw white whales of the series, and especially interesting as one of only a small handful of these coins that bears the name of the issuing king.

    Paramara India, circa Malwa region
    Mid-12th century (Possibly 1142-1144)
    BI Dramma
    Obv: Degenerate Gadhaiya type head without face, conch shape spirals counterclockwise away from head (Distinctive Nose), remnant of ribbons before, all within sea of pellets
    Rev: (Sri) Jai Ta Va / (Ma) De Va in early Nagari, pellets surrounding
    Finn 1.6.7 (tentatively), Maheshwari 946-955
    R3 (approx. 20-30 known)

    Distinctive Nose Sri Jaita Vama Deva.jpg

    (Image credit Pankaj Tandon, CoinIndia)

    Unfortunately, unlike the other Gadhaiya with rulers' names, this one has not been pinpointed to a particular ruler with 100% accuracy, due to the number of Paramara rulers whose names approximate Jaitavama Deva. Top candidates include Jaya Varma I (1142-44), Jaitugideva (1235-42) or Jaya Varma II (1255-75), with Pankaj Tandon arguing for the former and Maheshwari for the latter. It's a fascinating debate, but personally I am inclined toward Jaya Varma I.

    Regardless, the type is quite rare, represented by ten coins in the British Museum (cited by Maheshwari), about six sold by Pankaj Tandon on Vcoins over the past few years, and now this one.
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  3. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    For those unfamiliar with the evolution of the series, it branched off of the standard Gadhaiya Paisa (1.4.4)
    ZomboDroid 08022020212229.jpg

    The series starts with 1.6.1, preserving the overall design but adding the conch shape
    distinctive nose early.jpg

    With 1.6.2, the face is lost, but the nose hangs on for just a little longer
    Indo sassanian unusual nose moon.jpg

    1.6.3 the nose disappears
    ZomboDroid 19022020215441.jpg

    1.6.4 the flan shrinks, silver content takes a nosedive, the letter JA replaces the ear, and the design becomes more schematized
    ZomboDroid 01042020171347.jpg

    1.6.5 the ear is replaced by a short legend SriLa
    Distinctive nose inscribed srila.jpg

    1.6.6 the ear is replaced by the letter Vi
    (No coins) 20200831_114909.jpg

    The series then closes with the OP coin
    TIF, Orielensis, thejewk and 6 others like this.
  4. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Great find Steve ....VERY RARE!.....Shame about the Indian market....I've spoken with some of the sellers and it's pretty grim out there at the moment....
    The OP coin really is a neat find Congrats?
    Finn235 likes this.
  5. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Thanks @Finn235 for posting this obscure (to me, anyway) series. To me, that design progression you showed in the second post looks like the man is transforming into an elephant- he starts out normal, then a trunk appears, then his human nose disappears, and finally he's not recognizable at all.
    Finn235 likes this.
  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member


    @Parthicus, the most logical explanation for the shape is that it is a conch shell, special in the Hindu religion because it is said to make the OM sound when the tip is removed and blown into like a trumpet.

    There is the regular conch shell which opens to the left when held with the spout pointing upward, but a very rare mutation can sometimes make the shell spiral in the opposite direction - these are considered more holy, and were among the most expensive treasures a king could aspire to own in medieval times.

    A stylized Lakshmi conch also appeared on the coins of Travancore in the early 1900s:
    (Flipped upside down)
    ZomboDroid 01092020165616.jpg

    This interestingly contrasts with the much more common "Malwa" type that shows the spiral in the opposite direction; perhaps an ordinary conch?
    ZomboDroid 22022020222427.jpg
    THCoins, Johndakerftw and Parthicus like this.
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