Indian Gold Coins
March 13, 2011 8 Comments
The world’s first coins were Greek, made in Lydia about 640 BC. The earliest Indian coins were silver, and it was not until about 100 AD that the Kushan emperor Vima Kadaphises introduced the first Indian gold coin, which was a gold dinar bearing the image of Shiva. So India’s history of issuing gold coins dates back almost 2,000 years.Over this length of time India has produced many different denominations of gold coins, which include Dinars, Staters, Kahavanus, Pagodas, Tankas, Ashrafis, Mohurs, Gadyanas, Bhairava Gadyanas, Varahas, Fanams, Koris, Xerafims, and Tolas.
Many Indians make it a point to own gold, if for no other reason than to use it in weddings.Indian brides traditionally have a dowry of gold. This is usually in the form of high caratage gold made into jewellery, often incorporating gold coins. Wedding guests also gift gold coins as lucky wedding gifts. So over the centuries, many ancient , rare and ultimately valuable gold coins have been melted and made into jewellery.Even today there are not many collectors of Indian coins in general or Indian gold coins in particular.So there are many interesting and very affordable rare Indian gold coins even now in danger of being melted down. Collecting such coins which are currently unpopular or unfashionable might be a good idea,especially if a person is not averse to a bit of speculation and /or has an interest in numismatics. Firstly because the collector can obtain interesting, unusual and rare coins at a fraction of the price of coins from a popular series. Secondly if and when interest increases, prices are certain to increase accordingly. Thirdly, it will help to stop rare coins being lost for ever by being melted down.
Here are some pictures of Kushan gold coins:
Gold Dinar of Huvishka, c. 152-192 AD.
Gold Dinar of Vasudeva I, c. 192-225 AD.
Gold Dinar of Vasudeva II, 270-310 AD.
The next series of coins are from the Gupta Period
Gold Dinar of Kumara Gupta-I c.415 AD
Below is another coin from the Gupta dynasty from the reign of Chandragupta II (c.375-414 AD).It shows the king as a lion-slayer .The king is holding an arrow in his left hand and with his right. thrusts his bow towards a lion which has turned its back on him and is retreating.
Below is another Gold Dinar from the reign of Gupta, Chandragupta II.Here too the king is shown as a Lion Slayer .The reverse shows Goddess Lakshmi seated on a lion.
The next coin is from the reign of the Gupta king Kumaragupta I.The king is shown with his right hand raised to feed a peacock which stands in front facing himThe reverse shows Lord Kartikeya seated on a peacock with a spear in his left hand and his right hand raised to sprinkle incense.
Then Islamic kings ruled Delhi. The next 2 pictures are of a gold coin of the Delhi Sultanate.
Obverse of 1316 Delhi Sultanate Gold Tanka.
Reverse of the same coin
Mughal gold coins were issued during the reign of the Emperor Jehangir
Gold coin struck in 1611 showing the likeness of Emperor Jehangir
From 1613, Jehangir struck a series of Gold Mohurs showing the twelve zodiac signs,indicating the month of issue.Following are 2 examples of coins of the series.
Gold Mohur with Aries (ram) on obverse issued from the Agra mint
Gold Mohur with Scorpio (scorpion) on obverse issued from the Agra mint.
Many Indian States such as the Marathas, Mysore, Cochin, Coorg or Kurg, Travancore, Negapatnam etc. who were in existance at the time of the Mughals,issued small gold coins called Fanams between about 1700 to about 1830.Below is a picture of a heap of Fanams.
Gold Pagodas from the Madras Presidency were issued by the British East India Company (E.I.C.) between 1740 and 1807.Following are pictures of a coin design known as the three Three Swami obverse design, the reverse is simply a stippled pattern of dots. The coins are quite convex.
Obverse of Indian Gold Pagoda
Reverse of Indian Gold Pagoda
As East India Company rule diminished and direct British control increased the British coins started carrying the portrait of the monarch.Below is a British India 1841 Gold One Mohur Coin.On the other side of the coin is a motif even currently used by the RBI-the li0n and palm tree.
Alongside British India,there were many native states.Below are pictures of the Hyderabadi Half Ashrafi.
Obverse of 1938 Indian Hyderabad Half Ashrafi
Reverse of 1938 Indian Hyderabad Half Ashrafi