Dynasty: Ancient

HISTORY OF ANCIENT COINS - OLD INDIAN COINS

They say that a travel machine is a fictional concept. It is only in movies or some captivating novels where you will be able to imagine and experience the thrill of teleporting back in time. But if you really want to, you can also do it by losing yourself into the world of historical coins of India.

The study of ancient Indian coins will tell you stories about our rich and fascinating traditions. Dated as long as a whopping 6th Century BC to 550 AD, Old Indian coins reflect the rise and fall of some magnificent dynasties that history lovers from all over the world like to explore.

Magadha Janapada, an area which belongs to the modern day Bihar, constituted India’s first empire- The Mauryan Empire. The earliest Magadha Janapada coins featured a trademark "6-arm symbol" punch. Punch marked coins were used even in prehistoric times with simple representation of maybe a cow or any other commodity on a metal. To transform into a newer unit of wealth royal authorities from different time periods inscribed or punched pictures of sun, six armed wheel etc. Over the years, under various dynasties these coins evolved in terms of design, make and size, to serve various purposes and denote different values. After which, Mauryans took over under eminent emperors like Chandragupta and Ashoka who flexed their power to expand their empires. The Mauryan coinage continued the Magadha karshapana series which were known for its exclusive silver coins.

Mentioned as one of the sixteen mahajanapadas in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, governance at Gandhara Janapada also contributed to a blossoming time-period inscribed the pages of Indian History. Old Indian coins from this era were notably different from Greek-inspired designs and shapes which prove the fact that they were in commercial use much before Alexander’s regime. Contrary to punch marked coins from other time periods, Gandhara produced a striking new design comprising of a bent silver bar with heptha radiated symbols on both its ends.

The most recent of ancient Indian history or the "Golden Age" of classical India, the Gupta period flourished under the leadership of Chandragupta I and his son Samudragupta. It was when a lot of universities were constituted; prominent writers like Kalidasa and world-renowned scientists such Aryabhatta were born in this era which saw an upsurge in creative and radical thinking. The beautiful ancient Indian coins this time period definitely ushers the fact that Gupta art is regarded as the high point of classical Indian art.

This was just a tiny glimpse of what you can expect; study of ancient Indian coins will make you wonder in amusement and explore the depths of Indian history even more!