In Auction 35 from Stephen Album Rare Coins group, we noticed a great run of early coins of the Burmese Kingdoms. These really don’t come up for sale very often and this collection represented 60 lots of nicely struck examples from several of the Kingdoms, including; Beikthano, Hamsavati, Srikshetra and a large selection of the cast tin coins from Tenasserim-Pegu.
Many of the Tenasserim-Pegu types were discovery pieces advancing our knowledge from the classic reference, The Coins and Banknotes of Burma by Michael Robinson and L.A. Shaw. These large cast tin coins generally range between 40 and 80 grams, though a few fall outside each end of that range. The typical designs offer mythical beasts such as the hintha bird, dragon on the sea or Tò, a mythical antelope. However, a new discovery type, unpublished in Robinson, displays an elephant. This elephant piece realized $2,800 on an estimate range of $500-$700.
Many other lots from this selection also drove well above their estimates, particularly the heavier coins and the unusual die styles and combinations. A unique type with the mythical hintha bird facing left, surrounded by 27 pellets realized $2,200 on its estimate of $500-$650. A second left facing hintha bird with just 18 pellets realized $1,000 on a $350-$500 estimate.
One type in the group combined the hintha bird and dragon on the sea as obverse and reverse. This example had the legend surrounding the hintha bird, a very unusual die first recognized by Elizabeth Moore and published in her article “Dawei Buddhist culture: a hybrid borderland” in Myanmar Historical Research Journal, vol. 21 from June 2011. This piece sold for $1,600 on an estimate of $600-$800 and a second similar example of lighter weight sold for $1,300 on estimate of $300-$400.
The catalog should remain a valuable reference source and record for collectors of the Burmese Kingdoms, due to the detail in cataloging and the high quality of all Stephen Album Rare Coins images.