A Numismatic Walk through Indian History

Indian coinage is perhaps the most fascinating coinage of any region in the world. Thanks to the country's long history and the constant stream of foreign influences that impinged upon it, India's coinage is extremely diverse. Apart from its own indigenous style which evolved over time, it shows influences from ancient Greece and Rome, from Persia in all periods, from China, and from Europe in the colonial period. On this webpage, I have attempted to illustrate this history and diversity by selecting and discussing 50 Indian coins.

In principle, the idea was to select two coins from each of the last twenty five centuries. I have tried to adhere to this ideal as closely as possible, but have had to deviate from it a little bit, bowing to the reality that some centuries were more interesting than others, and that there were some centuries in India which were relatively "dark" numismatically. Most major dynasties or political entities have been represented. The coins chosen are not the most common coins of their era, but rather have been chosen for their beauty, their historical importance, or other quality that makes them special in some way.

These 50 coins and the attending discussion are taken from my article Fifty Coins in 2,500 years: A Numismatic Walk through Indian History, published in The Celator. Part I of the article was published in the July 2010 issue of this journal and Part II in the August 2010 issue.

The approximate geographical locations of where the coins were issued can be seen on this map. Coins of large empires are located in the area of the presumed capital cities.

To see the coins, click on the period of interest:

500-1 BCE

1-500 CE

500-1000 CE

1000-1500 CE

1500-2000 CE

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