Earliest Copper Coins of India

22 Sep 2016  Thu

The earliest coins of central India are the Punch marked coins. Though the quantity of silver punch marked coins are quite less as compared to the copper punched marked coins, the excavation at Ujjain, Vidisha, Eran and Tripuri has brought in light large number of Copper punch marked coins.

Eran, ancient Erikaccha is a famous site of great antiquity, situated in modern eastern Malwa in central India. The excavations at Eran yielded a hoard of 3268 punch marked coins assigned to 2nd – 1st century B.C. Most of them were copper coins and a few coins bearing silver-coating.

The workmanship of copper coins is indeed remarkable indicating that exceptional attention was paid to the details and minting of well-shaped coins. The mints at Ujjain and Vidisha produced a large number of copper coins as copper was available in large quantity in Balaghat area from the mints at Eran, Vidisha and Tripuri.

In all cases the shape of the coins is square, quite often the weight is somewhere in the 5-7 gms range, the metal is copper and the coins have been produced by the punch-marking technique.

As far as the design is concerned the coiners mostly used animals and symbols which are well known from other ancient Indian coins as well. The commonest devices on Eran coins are elephant, horse, Ujjain symbol, river symbol, railed standard, railed tree and flower with eight petals. In addition to the mentioned symbols we also find the six-armed symbol and a special variant of the taurine symbol, framed by an open semi-circle.

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