|Lot 490. India, Gupta empire. Skandagupta. ruled Ca. A.D. 455-480. AR drachm (12.5 mm, 1.45 g). King's bust right / Bull seated right, with Brahmi legend around: Parama-bhagavata sri Skandagupta Kramaditya. MACW 4881. Rare.
This is the rare bull type of Skandagupta, a numismatic innovation started by him late in his reign, that replaced the normal Garuda symbol on reverse with a Nandi bull.
The Gupta emperors were devotees of Vishnu, so this change from a Vaishnavite symbol to a Shaivite symbol probably coincided with the decline of imperial power in Gujarat. The emperor may have found it necessary to shore up local alliances to keep the invading Huns at bay. If the local elites were devotees of Shiva, changing this symbol may have been a small price to pay to cement their loyalty.
Estimate: US$ 90