India - 1200-1400 - Western Gangas

Gold Gajapati Fanam

The Western Gangas Elephant ( Gajapati ) Fanam may have circulated in Lanka alongside the similar pagoda coin.

DenominationOne Fanam
Diameter5.8 mm
Weight0.39 gms
Thickness1.6 mm
gajapati_fanam_obverse gajapati_fanam_reverse
Mitchiner #703

Obverse : Caparisoned elephant facing the right.
Reverse : An ornamental floral scroll. Peacock ?

The Gajapati pagodas and fanams were probably introduced about 1080 when Gangavadi emerged from Chola domination.
Mitchiner states Anonymous: circa 1080 - 1138 & perhaps later.

Govind Prabhu of India who has researched these coins, comments that these coins are scarce and that this is a nice genuine specimen which looking at this particular elephant style could be dated back to 12th century AD. Pankaj Tandon felt the reverse looked more like a Rooster.

The Elephant was the crest of the dynasty called Gangas. Western Gangas with capital Talkad in 450 AD is modern Karnataka (Mysore).

Is this the world smallest gold coin ?. It is of the same weight as the Hoysalas gold Fanam coin which is however thinner and larger (8mm) and was marketed in US with this title.

The coin was scanned at 600dpi and the images are displayed at 600dpi.
The BU condition coins were purchased in October 2002 on ebay, from USA-CA dealer Alan Van Arsdale who gives a lifetime guarantee the coin is genuine.