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Out of My Comfort Zone

Money comes in all shapes and sizes, and these coins are not the usual Roman or Greek, denarius, AE, drachm, or tetradrachm that I have more often posted. Here are several "coins" that are all unusual in size, shape, or outside of my normal area of interest. As pandemic days feel like the repetitive arrows of the opening stock photo, it was time for something different.

The Lohara dynasty were Hindu rulers of Kashmir from the Khasa tribe, in the northern part of India. They ruled AD 1003-1320. Samgrama was the founder of the dynasty. His son Hari Raja reigned for only 22 days, possibly killed by his mother the queen. His younger brother Ananta was next to ascend to the throne.

Ananta was reckless with his money and even pawned his royal diadem to a foreigner. His wealthy wife, Queen Surajmati, stepped in a bailed him out, stabilizing the government. [see Hasan 1959] In 1063, she forced Ananta to abdicate so that their son, Kalasa, could take the throne. Kalasa turned out to be an incompetent ruler and friction between father and son led the Ananta committing suicide in 1073.

India, Hindu Rajas of Kashmir, Sangrama Deva, AD 1003-1028, Æ stater (18 mm, 5.63g)

Obv: Goddess Lakshmi seated facing, flanked by Nagari legend Sa/ngrama

Rev: King standing sacrificing at altar, with Nagari legend Raja at right

Ref: MNI 179-180

Note: An interesting thread on these coins on CoinTalk

India, Hindu Rajas of Kashmir, Ananta Deva, AD 1028-1063, Æ stater

Obv: Goddess Lakshmi seated facing, flanked by Nagari legends A/nanta Ra

Rev: King standing sacrificing at altar, with Nagari legend ja at right

Ref: MNI 181-2, scarce

Ayuthia dynasty, Thailand circa 1350-1564, AR 1/4 Baht (Salung) Bullet Money

Obv (if this coin has such a thing): elephant

Rev (or side of obverse): conch shell

Size: 3.8g

Ref: MN-2711

China, Eastern Turkistan (Uyghuristan/Xinjiang), Qiuzi (Kucha), Wu Zhu cash (0.34g, 10mm)

I am unsure what time period to assign this coin. These coins were from Xinjiang in the Kucha area. Qiuzi was one of the numerous states in the west, and was located in the Kucha region. The Qiuzi had their own language and alphabet (Kharoshthi). Hartill describes 10.31 "Small coins with no characters" as "traditionally ascribed to Dong-Zhuo who in 190 usurped the throne and melted down nine huge Qin Dynasty statues to make coins. Could well have been cast by others unofficially." Others have assigned this coin to 5th - 8th century in this same region - I am not sure that any more precise attribution is possible for this coin.

CEYLON (SRI LANKA). Period of the Chola Invasion. Circa 990-1070. AV Kahavanu (20.5mm, 4.36g, 6h).

Obv: “Lord of Sri Lanka,” ("Sri / lamka / vibhu" in Nagari ) king reclining to right, holding aloft an annulet

Rev: King standing facing, head right, holding globule; altar, flame, conch, pellets, and lotus in fields

Ref: Friedberg 1; Mitchiner, Non-Islamic 825

The Ceylonese gold Kahavanu in the name of the “Lord of Sri Lanka” are believed to have been struck starting around 960, and continued through the period of the Chola occupation, with Raja Raja Chola completing the conquest around 1001, and continuing until the expulsion of the Cholas by Vijaya Bahu around 1070.

The standard anonymous Kahavanu have stereotyped figures of the king holding a sankh shell and lotus respectively on obverse and reverse. These variant types may have been struck at subsidiary mints around the island, or possibly even on the Indian mainland in Tamilnadu.

The Chola's were largely followers of Hinduism, and the Buddhism prevailed under the Sinhalese rulers. Around 993 Chola King Rajaraja invaded Anuradhapura and conquered the northern part of the Sr Lanka, naming it after himself. He may have introduced the gold coin to the region. In 1017, His son, Rajendra Chola I, launched an invasion that destroyed the capital Anuradhapura, and conquered the rest of the island. In 1070 the Cholas had other priorities than defending their position in sri Lanka against resistance, and the Sinhalese leader, Vijayabahu, liberated the island from the Cholas and became king of Polonnaruwa in 1076–77.

After the Cholas left Sri Lanka - the coinage of the Sinhalese rulers continued to use similar imagery:

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Native coinage, Sahassa Malla, AD 1200-1202

Obv: Sahassa Malla (or the god Rama) standing front, head to right, smelling on a lotus flower held in his left hand; in field to right, five pellets above lotus flower; in field to left, altar.

Rev: SRIMA SAHASA MALLA (in Brahmi) Hanuman leaping across the straits to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita or Sahassa Malla seated front, head to right, holding uncertain object in his left hand.

Note: more on these coins here

Here are three unusually large "coins" with a US Quarter for scale:

The Chinese "Spade Money" (center) was issued during the Interregnum of Wang Mang (王莽), between Great Western and Eastern Han Empire in China. This Huobu (貨布) coin was issued in 14-23 AD. The word "貨, Huo" means "Money" and "布, bu" means "Spade". Size: 58 x 23 x 2 mm, 15.0g. Wang Mang was a usurper and founder of the Xin dynasty. Wang Mang's monetary reforms were at least contributing factors to rebellion and his death at the hands of rebels in AD 23.

Below is an even larger "coin" - a 98g Silver "Tiger Tongue" Lat, 2 Tamlung (8 Baht), from the Kingdom of Loas in AD 1591-1707. Obv: Two rows of raised ovoids down each side. The silver content varies, mixed with copper, this one particularly good silver.

The third coin is from the Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221-205 BC, AE 43 (Drachm), 72.0g, Alexandria, Egypt

Obv: Head of Zeus Ammon facing right, wearing a diadem with floral ornament above the forehead, dotted border

Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, eagle with closed wings standing to left on thunderbolt. Between legs, ΔΙ. In left field, cornucopia adorned by fillets

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