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Research Coins: Printed Auction

 
Sale: Triton IX, Lot: 1201. Estimate $30000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 January 2006. 
Sold For $24000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

[Ancient] INDIA, Guptas. Kumaragupta I. Circa 414-455 AD. AV Dinar (8.15 g, 1h). Elephant-rider type. "Kumaragupta, who has destroyed his enemies and protected his client kings, is victorious over his foes", Kumaragupta as mahout on an elephant jogging at a brisk pace to left, an attendant holds a parasol over him / "The elephant of king Mahendra", the goddess Lakshmi, nimbate, standing facing on open lotus, holding lotus plant and cornucopiae; conch shell to right. BMC Guptas p. 88; Altekar pl. XII, 14; Bayana 1808 (same dies). Good VF. One of the great rarities in the Gupta series. ($30,000)

A further type of the king as elephant-rider places the scene in fuller context. The king is on a royal hunt, the elephant being the mount of choice for pursuing lions. On the subsequent type (Altekar pl. XIII, 1-2), the elephant is depicted trampling the lion under the guidance of the king. The relatively tranquil reign of Kumaragupta left plenty of time for the king to indulge in such sports, although the legend makes it clear that the ferocity in the hunt could easily be turned against any potential human enemies. Kumaragupta in fact is clearly relating his reign to that of his Kushan predecessor Huvishka, who employed a similar elephant motif on his gold (cf. Triton VI, lot 544).