I was just a teenager, while taking a walk on dusty streets of a southern Indian city, I noticed an old lady was trying to sell few pieces of metal, mostly copper coins of sultanate and few base metal coins of princely states. It is not an uncommon sight in India, but one piece attracted my attention. Out of curiosity and a bit of guilt (she was making living hard way and I had to do nothing to spend my fathers money), I bought the coin. After some research, I found that it is a common half anna of EIC and have little or no numismatic importance. But, soon I discovered that India have tremendous numismatic legacy, and there are dozens of series, which are not even fully studied. Later when I chose researcher/scientist as profession, I realized how important it is to study any field which had been a virgin territory. The more I read on Indian numismatic history, more I was convinced, it is very possible that I might be able to contribute significantly if I take this hobby seriously (very likely it would not be a hobby by then), and I started collecting coins of Indian subcontinent. It was a begining of making of a humble student of Indian history and numismatics.

For doing study and research in the field of history, following avenues are explored.
1) Literary works
2) Inscriptions (rock, metal or wooden)
3) Coins of that period
Apart from these, for study of medieval period, contemporary architecture and paintings can also be a good supplement.

Literary works available for students of Indian history includes `Puranas' (almost 20 of them were written) and other written materials of contemporary authers, poets and dramatists. The written works of foreign visitors (many Chinese, Arabic and few African and European travellers/scholars have visited India) are very crucial for authenticating the information. Very little written materials have survived today to give the complete and exact information of various ancient dynasties. The rock and other insriptions did survive but the limited numbers made them incomplete material.

Coins are perhaps one of the most important evidences for students of history. Numismatic evidence is truly most correct as other forms are subject to exaggeration and might not provide information regarding extends of Kingdoms and dates. In fact existance of many of the kings and even dynasties is solely based on the discoveries of their coinage as these `illustrious' kings and dynasties have left no trace of their presence. The best example is the Indo-Greeks and other nomadic kingdoms which existed in Afghanistan and North-West India (modern Pakistan) from 3rd Cntury BC to 6th Century AD. The names and portraits of rulers of these dynasties who otherwise were totally unknown to history are entirely deciphered from their coins. Changes in designs, inscription and scripts have further confirmed their nationality and migration.

India has well studied history of 4500-5000 years. The Indus valley civilization, the cities of it have been excavated in Sindh, Punjab, Gujrath and Rajasthan states, takes its rank among the ancient river valley civilizations of Egypt (Nile river) and Assyria & Babylonia (Euphrates and Tigris rivers). The study done at Mohenjadaro and Harappa ruins clearly shows a sophisticated and complex society which was prosperous because of its trade with other parts of India and also with other countries of Asia. More than 500 seals have been unearthed in these ruins which are essentially made up of terra cotta with fine representation of animal figures and pictorial writing which is not yet deciphered. Two such seals of Harappa have been discovered in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) leaving no doubt that these seals were used in connection with trade.


Jahangir
1000 mohur
Unique

The five thousand years of Indian history is very obviously reflected in diverse coinage ranging from very complex silver punch-marked coins of 6th century BC to the heaviest gold coins ever minted in the world, 1000 Mohur of Mughal emperor Jahangir which has a diameter of 20 cm and contains 383.75 troy ounces or almost 12 Kilograms of pure gold! Considering this tremendous diversity of Indian monetary system, it is almost impossible to write a concise essay on Indian coinage. Unfortunately, very few people collect coins of India in spite of her rich monetary history. This webpage is just an introduction to all those enthusiasts who would take few minutes off to look and appreciate some coins representing major dynasties of India.

I have been collecting coins for almost a decade. Last year onwards when I became more seasoned surfer of Netscape, I started looking for a site dedicated for Indian coins. And to my great surprise I found none! It was that time, I gave a serious thought for making a site for my collection. There are many more who have better collection of Indian coins than me as I am relatively young enthusiast who has studied history with passion. Perhaps they would consider it worthwhile to allow access to `pieces of history' of which they are temporary custodians. I received many comments on this webpage. If you wish to look at them, click on the coin below.


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