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The Coin Galleries: Surasena Janapada

The Surasena janapada was located in western Uttar Pradesh, with its capital at Mathura. The usual coins from Surasena feature what appear to be a "fish" over a "lion," with added taurines, crescents and dots. Mitchiner assigned these coins to the Avanti janapada, but Rajgor assigns them to Surasena.

Illustrated below is a parcel or "hoard" of 70 Surasena coins reportedly found in Mathura and including the first two known Surasena coins featuring animals amongst the ancillary symbols. Thanks are due to Anne van't Haaff for his help in attributing the coins. This parcel of coins was the subject of a short paper in the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society.

Silver 1/2 karshapana
c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.69 gm., Dimensions: 7 x 12 mm.
Fish over lion right /
blank
Ref:  van't Haaff type 1, Rajgor, 1192-94

Silver 1/2 karshapana
c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.80 gm., Dimensions; 9 x 10 mm.
Fish over lion left /
blank
Ref:  van't Haaff type 2, Rajgor ---
Note that the fish and lion face left in this rare coin. This configuration is not reported by Mitchiner or Rajgor, but is included in van't Haaff's catalogue of Surasena coins.
A Hoard or Parcel of Coins from Mathura

1. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.79 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.2

2. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.63 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.2

3. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.65 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.2

4. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.62 gm., Dimensions: 14 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.3

5. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.71 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.3

6. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.58 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.3

7. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.59 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.3

8. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.60 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.3

9. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.65 gm., Dimensions: 13 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.4

10. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.51 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.9

11. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.72 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.9

12. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.69 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.9

13. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.70 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.10

14. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.71 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.10

15. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.51 gm., Dimensions: 13 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.10

16. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.54 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.10

17. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.57 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.11

18. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.58 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.11

19. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.64 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.11

20. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.30 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.12

21. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.57 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.12

22. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.63 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.12

23. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.67 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.12

24. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.75 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.12

25. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.68 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.12

26. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.68 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.15

27. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.51 gm., Dimensions: 13 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.15

28. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.41 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.15

29. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.72 gm., Dimensions: 13 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.15

30. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.69 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.15

31. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.66 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.15

32. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.65 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.16

33. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.65 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.16

34. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.75 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.16

35. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.59 gm., Dimensions: 13 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.16

36. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.75 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.16

37. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.51 gm., Dimensions: 12.5 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.17

38. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.53 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.18

39. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.73 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 8.5 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.18

40. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.55 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 8.5 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.27

41. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.70 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.4

42. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.70 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.4

43. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.45 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.10

44. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.73 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.10

45. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.68 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---
This coin is a new type, not included in van't Haaff's catalogur. It is similar to his type 1.29.10 (previous two coins), but the vase symbol on that coin has been replaced here by a drum (van't Haaff's symbol GA 8.1). Eye copy of the design is at left. The coin was not included in the paper on the hoard, as its uniqueness had not been recognized at first.

46. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.78 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.12

47. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.80 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.12

48. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.58 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.15

49. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.78 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.16

50. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.78 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.18

51. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.77 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.18

52. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.78 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.29.18

53. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.67 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type A
This coin, and the next four, are all examples of a new type not seen in any of the previous catalogues. Eye copy of the design is at left.

54. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.81 gm., Dimensions: 10 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type A

55. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.78 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type A

56. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.74 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type A

57. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.73 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type A

58. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.76 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type B
This coin is another new type not seen in any of the previous catalogues. Eye copy of the design is at left. What is most interesting about this coin is that it features an elephant as an auxiliary symbol; there were no animals in the auxiliary symbols catalogued by van't Haaff. Click on the thumbnail at left to see an enlargement of the elephant.

59. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.64 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 7 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ---, Tandon new type C
Another new type not seen in any of the previous catalogues. Eye copy of the design is at left. This coin features a bull as an auxiliary symbol; click on the thumbnail at left to see an enlargement of the bull.

60. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.56 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.?

61. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.72 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.?

62. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.64 gm., Dimensions: 9 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.?

63. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.64 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.?

64. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.72 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.?

65. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.55 gm., Dimensions: 10.5 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.?

66. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.62 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 8 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff ?

67. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.58 gm., Dimensions: 11.5 x 10 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 2.2
Only three coins in the hoard this and the next two) were of van't Haaff's Type 2, with the left-facing fish and lion, pointing out the rarity of this type compared to Type 1.

68. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.54 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 2.3

69. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.44 gm., Dimensions: 11 x 9.5 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 2.7

70. Silver 1/2 karshapana
   c. 400-350 BCE

Weight: 1.61 gm., Dimensions: 12 x 9 mm.
Ref:  van't Haaff 1.18 / 2.2
The last coin is an interesting overstrike which features type 1.18 on one side and type 2.2 on the other. Although both punches look quite fresh, the reverse punch of type 2.2 seems to be somewhat flatter and therefore is likely to have been punched first. Whether this says anything about the relative chronology of types 1 and 2 is difficult to say, but it is suggestive of at least this version of type 1.18 succeeding a type 2.2.
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