Coins of India
India's First Coinage?
Historians believe that coins were introduced in India sometime around the 5th and 6th centuries BC to facilitate trade. The earliest coins were silver and punch-marked with various symbols of animals, plants, and humans.
- A detailed description of historical coins of India
- Brief overview of early coins of India
- Pictures of early coins and description of their uses
- Photographs of early punch-marked coins
Originating in the Hindu Kush, the coins of the Indo-Greek kings had bilingual writing. A Greek legend was generally on the front, and an Indian language (Prakhrit or Brami) was written on the back.
- A description of coins of the Indo-Greek Dynasty
- Pictures and a description of coins of this era
- Images of Indo-Greek coins
Coins of Kushana Dynasty
Gold coins were introduced during the Kushana Dynasty during the rule of Vima Kadphises. Used widely on the Silk Road trading routes, these coins suggest that early Kushans maintained Iranian religious beliefs, until later Kushan officials minted coins suggesting a Buddhist following.
- Description of Kushana coins and their use
- An abstract on the history of Kushana coins
- History of the Kusana and their introduction of gold coins
Coins of Gupta Dynasty/Golden Age of India
The Gupta Dynasty produced a number of detailed gold coins. A portrait was on one side and the image of a deity was on the other. Some coins commemorated special events and had Brahmi script.
- Picture of a gold coin from the Gupta Dynasty
- A major collection of coins from the Gupta Dynasty
- History of one of the coins' images
- The Gupta system of coinage
Coins of Western and Central Indian Dynasties
The Western and Central Indian Dynasties each had unique coins. The coins of the Kshatrapa are believed to be some of the earliest coins that bear dates. The legends are generally in Greek and Brahmi. The coins of the Satavahanas were minted from lead.
- Images and descriptions of Satavahanas coins
- Images of coins from Western Kshatrapa
- The coinage of the Rajput Dynasty
Coins of Southern Indian Dynasties
The imagery on Cholas coins is often intricate. Many of the coins bear the image of the symbolic tiger, while others are decorated with deities and royalty. The legends on these coins are in Sandskrit.
Coins of Mughals and other Islamic dynasties
The Mughal rule in India brought Muslim design to the coins of India. Since Islam forbade the use of people and animals in artwork, most of the coins of the Mughal Dynasty are decorated with beautiful script.
- Click the coin cabinet for images and a detailed discussion on Mughal coins
- Images of Mughal period coins
- Picture of Mughal coin
- History of Akbar's rule and his use of coins
- Descriptions and translations of writing on Mughal coins
- The use of Mughal coins in Calcutta
- The gold coins of Muslim rulers
- Coin in the British Museum collection
Coins of Maratha Rulers
Coins of the Maratha period display Persion writing. Often they modeled their coins on those of the Mughals.
- History of the Maratha Empire and a description of the coins
- Images of Maratha coins
- The rise of the Murathas and the fate of some of their coins
Coins of East India Company and Modern India
The coins of the East India Company bear the early script from the Mughal mint and undergo constant changes that reflect the history of British India. They became the currency of the Indian trade.
- Image of coin used by the East India Company
- Coins of the British East India Company
- History and coinage of the East India Company
- Large image of an East India Company coin
- Photographs of coins of British India
- Pictures of coins from the Republic (1947) to present day
Coins of Princely States of India
The Princely States each issued their own coins under the Mughal rulers. The coins of Hyderabad were among the first to be machine struck.
- Image of coin from the Princely States
- Description of coins from the Princely States
- History of the Princely States' coins
- List of rulers depicted on the coins
Coins of Independent Kingdoms?
The coins of the Independent Kingdoms tend to be unique. For example, the Kingdom of Ahom minted an coin with its weight borrowed from the coins of the Sultans of Bengal, but it was very original in its octagonal shape.
- Characteristics of the coins of Tripura
- A history and description of coins from the Independent Kingdoms
The coins of India reflect the nation’s rich history. Its diverse coins document the country’s invasions, triumphs, religious and political upheaval, and cultural turning points.
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