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A slightly scarcer Kushan bronze of Wima Kadphises


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Kushan Kingdom. Taxila mint. AE drachm. Wima Kadphises (c. 113-127). Obverse: King standing, right hand sacrificing over small altar, to left club and tamgha, Greek legend around. Reverse: God Shiva with two arms, holding trident and standing in front of bull Nandi, Kharoshthi legend around. MACW 3050-3054. This coin: Purchased from Tamco Numismatics at the Baltimore Whitman Coin Expo, November 9, 2023.

(part of historical section is reused)
The Kushans were originally one of five semi-nomadic tribes that constituted the Yuezhi confederation, which lived along the northwestern border of China. During the second century BCE the Yuezhi were forced to migrate west, into Bactria and nearby territories. Eventually, the Kushans conquered the other four tribes to assume leadership. The first true Kushan King is considered Kujula Kadphises (c. 50-90); we know the names of a few earlier Kushan rulers as part of the Yuezhi, but very little of this early history is known except in broad outline. The Kushans would quickly become a wealthy and important kingdom, controlling major trade routes between China, India, and Persia/Rome. They issued an abundant coinage in both gold and in bronze, though after a few scarce issues of the Yuezhi and (according to Joe Cribb) Kujula Kadphises they seem to have not issued silver coins. These coins depict an extensive and very mixed pantheon, including Indian, Iranian, Greek, and Central Asian deities, and even some scarce types depicting both the Shakyamuni Buddha (the historical Buddha) and the Maitreya Buddha (the future Buddha). The Kushan Kingdom broke apart in the 3rd century CE, with multiple independent local Kushan rulers and some territories acquired by the new Sasanian Empire of Persia. The remaining Kushan territories were lost to the Kidarite and Hephthalite Huns in the 5th century CE.

Wima (also spelled Vima) Kadphises was the son of Wima Takhto and father of the great Kanishka I, and ruled c. 113-127. He was the first Kushan king to issue gold coinage, and he expanded Kushan territory in Afghanistan and northern India. His bronze coinage is rather monotonous, as almost all bear the same design as this coin (a rare type has the goddess Nanaia on reverse instead of Shiva). However, the denomination of this piece is less common. Most of his bronzes are of the size modern numismatists usually call a tetradrachm (~16 g weight), but this is the scarcer drachm (~4 g). I picked this coin out of a $20 per coin "you pick" group because I recognized its scarcity, and I also liked the smooth, dark patina and appreciated the reasonably high state of preservation for Kushan bronze. Overall, it's a rather nice little Kushan coin. Please post your related coins.

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A great pick @Parthicus, here's an example of a more-common "tetradrachm".


India, Kushan Empire, Vima Kadphises, circa CE 113-127, copper tetradrachm  (29.5mm, 16.85g, 12h), main mint in Begram

Rev: Shiva standing facing, holding trident; behind, the bull  Nandi standing right; Buddhist triratana (Three Jewels) to left

Obv: Vima Kadphises standing  facing, head left, sacrificing over altar; trident to left, tamgha and  club to right

Ref: MK 762;  ANS Kushan 300-2; Donum Burns 87-105

Notes: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/an-emerging-story

Edited by Sulla80
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