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Chola silver upgrade!


JayAg47
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Finally upgraded my Chola silver drachm after waiting nearly two years! I bought my first Chola 'silver' issue from an Indian dealer back in 2020 for 100 usd (which was my most expensive ancient coin at that time), I used quotations because it's really a debased coin with lead mixture, still glad I bought it, since these coins are really hard to come by, only ever saw two offered, one on Vcoins last year, and my new coin which I won at an eBay auction, if not I would've bought it in an instant (even this coin was gunky so I had to clean it, still one of my favourite coin of this year). 

Now on to the coin, these coins are usually attributed to Uttama Chola (alias Madurantaka Chola), the great uncle of Rajendra Chola, this coin commemorates the Chola conquest of the neighbouring kingdoms of Chera, and Pandya, depicted as the royal emblems- Cholan tiger in the center, flanked by the Pandyan twin fish to its right, and the Cheran bow behind the tiger, all under the single rule symbolized by the prasaol. On the reverse, the legends in Nagari states, Uttama Chola, now this is where the confusion arises, even though it explicitly states the name, it is highly unlikely that Madurantaka (who was more of an administrative rather than a military guy) managed to bring down his neighbours, since his niece Raja Raja Chola who came after Madurantaka was the king who for the first time held the title Raja Raja, meaning king of kings, after the subjugation of other kingdoms. His son Rajendra also holds the title of Uttama Chola, now he was the Trajan of Chola empire, bringing it to the maximum extent, and to me it makes more sense that these coins were minted under his rule for paying the military as well as the naval complex. The debasement further supports my theory, because attributing these silver coins to Madurantaka means these will be the earliest coinage of the Imperial Cholas, even before the mass produced Raja Raja Chola 'Octopus man coin', now why wold Madurantaka make low quality coins, when he was the first to mint silver coinage in the empire. Where as it makes sense for Rajendra Chola to mint silver coins from the new found wealth, as well as minting them in large quantities leading to lowered quality and debasement for paying the soldiers and funding infrastructure of an empire that's multiple times bigger than during Madurantaka's period. 

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Uttama Chola (or) Rajendra Chola

Silver Drachm
4.15g, 20mm
970-985 AD (or) 1014-1044 AD

Ex Boardwalk Numismatics

In the below image, on the centre left is the debased coin, despite being the same size (20mm), it only weighs 2.97g, and between them is a gold coin of Rajendra Chola with the same imagery. As well as I made a clay seal of the insignia from wax that I carved myself!

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Edited by JayAg47
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10 hours ago, Deinomenid said:

That's a very interesting coin, thanks for posting. I wish  I had your ability to make clay seals! Very impressive (pun somewhat intended).

I still struggle with making portraits, makes me really appreciate those Greek and Roman die engravers who made realistic life-like busts on tiny coins!

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