Sunday, January 27, 2008


When did Coinage begun?

It started on both sides of the Ancient World - in China and in Lydia, in Asia Minor, at more or less the same time, about 700 years before Christ or 700 B.C.
Coinage in INDIA begun about 6th century B.C. Many historians argue that Indian coinage existed prior to 6th century B.C in the Indus valley civilisation of "Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa" between 2500 BC and 1750 BC. There, however, is no consensus on whether the seals excavated from the sites were in fact coins.

Seals found in Mohenjo-Daro

To the ancient Indians , a coin was not a piece of inanimate metal with an official stamp, but a form(rupa) pulsating with symbols, names of kings, gods and goddesses potraying wealth and prosperity. Each dynasty and even each king contributed his own inovation to the coinage resulting in a bewildering variety of Indian coins. The Kings chose such symbols, forms of gods and goddesses and legends which were a part of , social consciousness that the users of the coins could easily understand and appreciate.

The various symbols used on ancient punchmark coins are shown below:-
The establishment of Numismatic Society of India in 1910 is an important landmark in the study of Indian Coins.


As the name suggests, these coins bear the symbols of various types, punched on pieces of silver of specific weight. Punch-marked coins are marked with 1-5 (and sometimes more) marks representing various symbols.They are broadly classified into two periods : the first period (attributed to the Janapadas or small local states) and the second period (attributed to the Imperial Mauryan period). The motifs found on these coins were mostly drawn from nature like the sun, various animal motifs, trees, hills etc. and some were geometrical symbols.
Ancient Indian coinage was based on `Karshapana' unit that consists of 32 rattis (3.3 grams of silver) and a 'Ratti' is equivalent to 0.11 gms.

Cup Shaped PMC

Silver Bentbar

Multiple Punchmarks