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Short history of appearance of coins

Archeologists and numismatists have come to conclusion that coins have been invented independently in three different places on the Euroasian continent between 700-600 years BC Eto Lydia, India and China, as is shown in a map more low. There are the direct proofs confirming appearance of the first coins in Lydia, and indirect demonstrations testify to appearance of coins in India and China during this period of time only.

Lydia, India, China


About 600 BC, India consisted of prospering small kingdoms trading with one another and neighbouring states. This period is called in the Indian literature as time of "Early kingdoms". Quality and weight of bars of silver have been standardised for reduction of inconvenience of their weighing at each commercial transaction. As it was mentioned earlier, there are only indirect demonstrations of the independent invention of coins in India. They occur from writers of the Indian literature in 5th both 4 century B.C. and standartizing of measurement of weight of coins based on other system.

Paninis, the Sanskrit grammarian (apprx. 500 BC) in the treatise Astdhyayi writes that the concept of coins existed in the Indian kingdoms to 500 years BC Basic terms for manufacturing of coins in Ancient India there was a Satamana and the Karshapana. The Satamana symbolises 100 rattis of silver in weight ("Sata" means 100, and "mana" - unit, the union). Each unit was called "rattis" in weight of 0,11 grammes. Rattis are a center weight of certain seeds (bright red seeds with a black tip). The Satamana is equal 100 rattis or 11 gramme of a fine silver. Monetary business of ancient India "Karshapana" which consisted from 32 rattis (3,3 of silver) was based on unit. Also some dignities of this "Karshapana", such as half Karshapana (16 rattis), a quarter the Karshapana (8 rattis) and 1/8 part the Karshapana (4 rattis) were minted.

Coins of Ancient India differ from what were used in Lydia, Greece and Persia, and is possible, were own Old Indian invention. The Indian coins were cut out from sheet silver and cut off before their reduction to proper weight. These coins were always from a fine silver or gold, instead of from an electrum, as in Lydia. The earliest coins of India have been stamped by a hammer. It is interesting that the Indian coins had no certain form, on them there were no inscriptions written in the modern languages. Unlike stamped a hammer of the Indian coins, the Greek coins had inscriptions and were the round form.

Uniqueness of the early Indian coins, some archaeological data and a mention of the concept of coins in the early vedic literature yields an occasion to assume independence of the invention of coins in Ancient India.

the Obverse 1/8 Karshapana the Reverse 1/8 Karshapana

1/8 Karshapana (apprx. 500 years BC)

the Obverse 1/2 Karshapana the Reverse 1/2 Karshapana

1/2 Karshapana (apprx. 300 years BC)

the Obverse 1 Karshapana the Reverse 1 Karshapana

1 Karshapana (apprx. 500 years BC)

1 Satamana

1 Satamana (apprx. 500 years BC)

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