Home : Indian Coins : Early punchmarked coinage (600-100 BC) : Gandhara (ca.600 BC-100 AD) : Earliest large silver shatamana (double siglos or bent bar) issue, long narrow type, Gandhara (ca.600-500 BC) - FIRST Indian coin issue every struck!

Earliest large silver shatamana (double siglos or bent bar) issue, long narrow type, Gandhara (ca.600-500 BC) - FIRST Indian coin issue every struck!

Earliest large silver shatamana (double siglos or bent bar) issue, long narrow type, Gandhara (ca.600-500 BC) - FIRST Indian coin issue every struck!

Long concave silver bar, 38mm long, 9mm wide, struck with a 6-armed Gandharan symbol on each end. 11.28 grams. Rajgor 540-545 var.

These fascinating large coins, equal to about 3 karshapanas, are the most likely candidates to be the very first Indian coins ever struck. During the 6th century BC Gandhara was a subject of the Persian Empire (as known from an inscription dating to the times of Darius, ca.520-518 BC). The Persians are likely to have introduced the native Gandharans to the idea of a struck coinage. The earliest Gandharan coins - shatamanas (=100 manas, the meaning is unknown, also known as "bent bars") , were probably based on a Persian siglos standard, since the average weight of these shatamanas equals to the weight of 2 Persian sigloi. From Gandhara, the idea of struck, or punchmarked, coinage spread south and soon the punchmarked coins were produced in many other regions of northern and central Indai. This theory concerning the first coins in India is quite widespread, though it is not accepted by everyone (some people prefer an idea of independent invention of coinage, and are against the idea of the foreign introduction). These shatamanas were issued over a long period of time, though it is uncertain when their production ended (Chandragupta Maurya conquered Gandhara around 300 BC, and the production of the independent Gandharana coinage did not continue pass that point). The good silver shatamanas were replaced by the short debased issues and then by silver plated and copper bars (which are much more common and retail for about 100$ each). The early good silver shatamans are very rare - although a few hoards of these coins were unearthed in the last century, very few coins reached the numismatic market.

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US$175.00 EUR 151.10 GBP 136.48 CHF 170.56 CAD 230.62
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