Studies in Indian Coins

Studies in Indian Coins

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Studies in Indian Coins
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The present book is an authoritative and authentic source for the study of Indian Coins. It not only describes the coins but also studies them critically in all their aspects. In describing the features of a particular class of coins from the standpoint of standard, style and fabric or in discussing the significance of the numismatic terms, the author has utilized the literary data which have a bearing on them.

Dr. Dines Chandra Sircar was formerly Government Epigraphist for India in the Archaeological Survey and Carmichael Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, Calcutta University. He was General President of the All-India Oriental Conference in 1972 and had previously presided over sessions of the Numismatic Society of India and Sections of the Indian History Congress and the All-India Oriental Conference, besides being Chief Guest at the All-Orissa History Congress.

Prof. Sircar has written on most aspects of early Indian History during the past four decades. Besides editing a large number of volumes of different types, he has published numerous books and monographs and more than a thousand papers, notes and reviews appearing in various periodicals in India and abroad.

“Prof. D. C. Sircar’s…Studies in Indian Coins is indeed a valuable contribution to Indian numismatics. It incorporates his papers on numismatics which were published in a number of periodicals… are highly stimulating, interesting, and instructive. Prof. Sircar has not merely described the coins, but has also studied them critically in all their aspects.

The Plates illustrating important specimens of coins from the earliest times down to the present day form an important feature of the present work.”


Sometime ago, at the request of my friends, I published a volume incorporating many of my papers on Indian historical geography, which had earlier appeared mostly in various in spite of its defects, the publication was received favourably by the students of the subject. Some European scholars suggested that my studies in the other aspects of Indian history and culture should better be likewise made available in similar volumes, especially to the students in Europe where copies of many Indian periodicals are not obtainable. This sympathetic and appreciative suggestion encouraged me to collect my papers on Indian numismatics in the volume now placed before the public.

As in my Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, so also in the present volume, sometimes more papers than one have been clubbed together and discussions on several problems have been brought under one Chapter for the sake of the facility of presentation. Thus nearly 35 papers and notes, published at different dates during the past 25 years, have been presented in this volume in eighteen Chapters and three Appendices. The size of the Chapters varies, a few of them being lengthy and others smaller. Some of the papers have been suitably modified in the course of revision.

Many of the papers incorporated in the volume appeared originally in the Journal of the Numismatic Society in India, to which I have to express my thanks for honouring me by electing me its President for the years 1955 and 1956.

The authorities of the periodicals, in which my papers were published previously, have placed me under a debt of gratitude by their kindness in allowing me to include the articles in the present work.

The sources of the different Chapters and Appendices are indicted below.

I. Adapted from a Bengali article contributed to the Bharatakosa appearing under the auspices of the Vangiya Sahitya Parisat, Calcutta.

II. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Varanasi (Banaras, Benares), Vol. XVIII, 1956, pp. 1 ff.

III. Ibid., Vol. XV, 1953, pp 136 ff.; Vol. XVI, 1954, pp. 40 ff.

IV. Ibid., Vol. XIV, 1952, pp. 128 ff.; Vol. XIII, 1951, pp. 183 ff.; Vol. XXIII, 1961, pp. 297 ff.

V. Epigraphia Indica, Delhi, Vol. XXXV, 1963-1964, pp. 247 ff.

VI. Ibid., pp. 69 ff.

VII. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Vol. IV, 1942, pp. 149 ff.; Vol. XXII, 1960, pp. 168 ff.

VIII. Indian Historical Quarterly, Calcutta, Vol. XXXIII, December 1957, pp. 269 ff.

IX. Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy, Delhi, 1956-57, pp. 21 ff., 126 ff.

X. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Vol. XXXIV, 1962, pp. 1 ff.; Our Heritage, Calcutta, Vol. VIII, 1962, pp. 69 ff.

XI. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, XXVIII, 1966, pp. 211 ff.; Indian Numismatic Chronicle, Patna, Vol. II, 1961, pp. 206 ff.; Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XXXIII, 1959-1960, pp. 95 ff.; Journal of Indian History, Vol. XL, Trivandrum, 1962, pp. 533 ff.

XII. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Vol. XV, 1953, pp. 229 ff.

XIII. Ibid., Vol. XXI, 1959, pp 137 ff.; Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy, 1959-60, pp. 31-32, 170.

XIV. Suparna (J. Ph. Vogel Commemoration Volume in the press); Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Vol. XIV, 1952, pp. 80 ff.; Vol. XXVIII, 1966, pp. 90 ff.

XV. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Vol. XX, 1958, pp. 192 ff.; Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XXXII, 1957-1958, pp. 329 ff.

XVI. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Vol. VII, 1945, pp. 78 ff.

XVII. Ibid., pp. 82 ff.; Vol. XVI, 1954, pp. 264 ff.

XVIII. Ibid., Vol. VII, 1945, pp. 87 ff.; XXVI, 1964, pp. 127 ff.

Appendix I. Ibid., Vol XVIII, 1956, pp. 10 ff., 226 ff.
Appendix II. Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXIV, September 1948, pp. 242 ff.

Appendix III. Numismatic Chronicle, London, 1963, pp. 213 ff. I have always found it risky to form an opinion on the reading of coin-legends on the basis of the unsatisfactory illustrations in Indian periodicals, without examining the original coins or their casts. But, in India, it is not easy to get coins on loan or their satisfactory casts for study. I am therefore specially thankful to Dr. A.N. Lahiri, an old pupil of mine, who rendered me great help in this respect as one of my Assistants when I was Government Epigraphist for India at Ootacamund. It is, in most cases, the plaster-casts of coins, which Dr. Lahiri prepared in the course of his official tours and placed at my disposal on his return to headquarters, that enabled me to detect errors in the published readings of the legends of a number of coins discussed in several of my papers included in this volume. Likewise Sri G. Bhattacharya assisted me in examining the Petluri-palem hoard of Saka coins (Chapter IX). I am also grateful to my former pupil, Sri Dilip Kumar Ganguly, who kindly translated into English one of my articles, originally written in Bengali, for Chapter I. The index is the work of Sri Samares Bandyopadhyay, another pupil of mine, who has also helped me in various other ways.

In order to enhance its usefulness to the students of Indian numismatics, a large number of interesting coins have been illustrated in the Plates appended to the work. Dr. Lahiri has been of considerable help to me in this matter.

It is quite possible that many errors have crept into the pages and that I have failed to make the book as useful to the students of Indian numismatics as was my earnest desire. Novertheless, it will be a great satisfaction to me if the volume succeeds in creating genuine interest in the study of coins in the minds of educated Indians and also in improving the standard of numismatic research in our country even in the smallest degree. For the errors I may have committed, I crave the indulgence of the readers and request them to be so good as to draw my attention to them, so that they may be rectified in the future.

The size and weight of coins have not been uniformly indicated in inches or centimeters and in grains or grams respectively. But their conversion is easy if one remembers that 1 centimetre=.39 inch and 1 inch=2.54 centimetres, while 1 grain=.065 gram and 1 gram=15.38 grains.




Subjects Pages
I Survey of Indian Numismatics 1
II Numismatic Studies in India 36
III Satamana and Sana 48
IV Kautilya and Buddhaghosa on Coins 73
V Silver Coins of Vasisthiputra Satakarni 107
VI Alleged Coins of the Mahisa Kings 126
VII Coins of Semi-Independent Rulers 139
VIII Date of Isvaradatta’s Coins 145
IX Petluripalem Hoard 150
X Some Problems of Tribal Coins 204
XI Coins of Kumaragupta I, Harigupta and Ramagupta 215
XII Coin of Muhammad bin Sam and Prthviraja 230
XIII Coins of Kakatiya Prataparudra I 238
XIV Gajapati Pagoda, Ganga Fanam and Rama-tanka 243
XV Coins of Bhairavasimha 259
XVI Maratha Mint under the Peshwas 373
XVII Cowrie-shell 279
XVIII Rupee and Pice 289
Appendix I. Discovery of Coins Reported in 1955-1956 304
Appendix II. Date of the Satraps of Mathura 313
Appendix III. Bangala Couplet on Akbari Rupee 315
Index 319
Addenda et Corrigenda 347
Key to Plates 349

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