WORLD'S FIRST COINS FROM INDIA
India developed some of the world's first coins. (scholars debate exactly which coin was first and when). Sometime around 600BC in the lower Ganges valley in eastern India a coin called a punchmarked Karshapana was created. It was made by taking a flat, though often irregularly shaped, piece of silver, cutting it to the proper weight, then applying a series of punches to the front of it.. The punches include a wide variety of symbols. The silver coins typically weigh about 3.6 grams and are about 12 to 17mm. As the coin circulated, bankers or merchants would sometimes apply additional small punches on the back, verifying the weight and fineness of the coin. Vast quantities of the coins were issued by the Magadha Kingdom (circa 600-321BC) and Mauryan Empire (321-187BC) so they are relatively plentiful and inexpensive today. The punchmarked Karshapana was issued until about the second century BC, however the influence of this ancient coin is still felt today. The English word, "cash", is derived from the Sanskrit word, kārsha.
Item IN-PUNCH INDIA SILVER KARSHAPANA PUNCHMARKED COIN circa 600-200BC VG-F .50
Item IN-PUNCHx5 5 DIFFERENT INDIA SILVER KARSHAPANA PUNCHMARKED COINS VG-F .00
Also around 600BC, a different style of coin came into being around Taxila and Gandhara in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan called the "bent bar" Satamana. It was made by cutting thick strips of silver to the proper weight and punching a 7-armed “taxila” symbol is on either end of the bar. The coins were struck while hot, resulting in their "bent" shape. The convex side is blank. The coins are about 35 to 40mm long and weigh about 11grams. Taxila and Gandhara were major centers of overland trade with Persia and Mesopotamia, which may have influenced the development of the coin. The weight is very close to that of the Babylonian weight called a shekel (it was not yet a coin) and ancient bar shaped silver ingots have been found in Iran. The "bent bar" Satamana was made of good silver and struck from about the 600 to 300BC.
Item IN-GAND TAXILA-GANDHARA SILVER BENT BAR, circa 600-300BC, Fine 0.00
ANCIENT BENT-BAR COIN OF INDIA
This unusual bent-bar Satamana is one of the earliest coins of India. It is believed to have been issued by the Kuru and Panchala realms in north-central India between about 450BC and 350BC. The thick, slightly bent billon (low grade silver) are approximately 22 to 24mm long, 11 to 14mm wide and about 3mm thick. A crude seven-armed “taxila” symbol is on either end on the concave side of the bar, the convex side is blank. The coins are modeled after the silver Taxila and Gandhara bent bar coins used in what is now Pakistan. It is an interesting and affordable example of a very early coin.
Item IN-BAR KURU & PANCHALA BENT BAR SATAMANA COIN, circa 450-350BC .50
SILVER DENARII FROM DECADENT AND HISTORIC ANCIENT ROME
Who needs Game of Thrones or racy novels when there is ancient Roman history? Ancient Rome has more than enough sex, violence, action, intrigue and debauchery. We recently acquired a nice group of high-grade ancient Roman silver Denarii of some of the more interesting emperors. The coins are authenticated, graded and slabbed by the respected Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC). The denarius is about the size of a dime. It was the standard silver coin of Rome for almost 450 years until 238AD. According to the Bible the daily wage for a laborer was one Roman Silver Denarius (Mark 20:1-2). These coins encompass some of the best and some of the worst Emperors of Rome. Each of the coins is graded XF (Extra Fine) and is sealed in an NGC holder. Reverse types will vary, and will generally feature mythological or military themes.
COMMODUS (177-192AD) was one of the bad boys of Rome. In 177AD, at age 15, he became the co-ruler of Rome along with his father Marcus Aurelius. After his father's death in 180 his reign became increasingly bizarre and dictatorial. Commodus is the emperor portrayed in the Academy Award-winning film Gladiator. He executed many leading senators as well has his chief ministers. He had a passion for gladiatorial combat. He would frequently fight in the Colosseum. For each appearance he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces (250,000 Denarii), straining the Roman economy. He was noted for being exceedingly cruel. Wounded soldiers, amputees and the handicapped would be rounded-up and placed in the arena for Commodus to slay, either with a sword or by bashing them to death. He would sometimes kill hundreds of exotic wild beasts a day in the arena. His ego was unparalleled. He believed himself to be a living god and erected numerous statues of himself. He renamed the months of the year after himself, and even renamed Rome "Commodiana" and called the Roman people "Commodiani.". He kept some 300 concubines, and at least one young boy who slept with him. By 192 his mistress and advisors had too much and had him choked to death by a professional wrestler after their attempt to poison him failed. His brutal misrule precipitated civil strife that ended 84 years of stability and prosperity within the empire. During the next year Rome fell into a civil war during which there were five claimants to be the Emperor of Rome.
SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS (193-211), a hard-nosed general born in north Africa, defeated the other claimants to become the Emperor in 193. He expanded the Empire eastward to the Tigris River after defeating the Parthians, as well as expanding the southern frontier in Africa. He was joined in his campaigns by his wife, JULIA DOMNA (193-217). Though officially excluded from power, she was his primary advisor and held strong political influence. The troops adored her and she dispensed sage military advise. In 198 Septimius Severus appointed their son
CARACALLA (198-217) to be co-emperor, and in 209 his brother Geta was also appointed co-emperor. In 208 Septimius Serverus traveled to Britain to strengthen Hadrian's Wall and invade Caledonia (Scotland). However, he died of an illness in early 211, making him one of the few Roman emperors to have a natural death. Caracalla then had Geta and his supporters murdered and became sole emperor. Julia Domna remained as an advisor and in a position of power. His reign was marked by domestic instability and invasions by Germanic tribes. His rule is remembered as being one of the most tyrannical of all Roman emperors. He dealt brutally with his opponents. Caracalla is also remembered for the magnificent bath complex in Rome, and for extending Roman citizenship to nearly all free men within the empire - though he was probably trying to raise the money needed for his own lavish spending. Caracalla was assassinated in 217 during his campaign against Parthia. A soldier that had been denied a promotion stabbed him to death after the emperor stopped to urinate. The prefect of the Praetorian Guard then declared himself emperor. Upon hearing of the rebellion Julia Domna committed suicide. Her sister, Julia Maesa, however instigated a revolt, greased by enormous bribes, that made her 14-year-old grandson
ELAGABALUS (218-222) the Emperor of Rome the following year. Elagabalus held little interest in the military, or affairs of state, and showed total disregard for Roman religious traditions and sexual taboos. He replaced the traditional head of the Roman pantheon, Jupiter, with the deity Elagabalus, of whom he had been high priest. Elagabalus married and divorced as many as five times in his short life, including twice to a Vestal Virgin, which was a flagrant breach of Roman law, as well as to a man. Edward Gibbon wrote that he "abandoned himself to the grossest pleasures and ungoverned fury". He lavished favors on male courtiers thought to have been his lovers. He would prostitute himself in taverns, brothels and even the imperial palace. The stereotype of the decadent Roman orgy derives from the court of Elagabalus. By 222, at age 18, his eccentricities had taken their toll on his popularity. He threatened to execute members of the Pretorian Guard who he felt supported his cousin, Severus Alexander. In response the Pretorian Guard assassinated Elagabalus and made Severus Alexander emperor.
Item ROME-COMMODUS ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS OF COMMODUS, 177-192AD NGC XF 5.00
Item ROME-SEPT.SEVERUS ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS OF SEPTIMUS SEVERUS, 193-211AD NGC XF 0.00
Item ROME-JULIA-DOMNA ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS OF JULIA DOMNA, 193-217AD NGC XF 5.00
Item ROME-CARACALLA ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS OF CARACALLA, 198-217AD NGC XF 5.00
Item ROME-ELAGABALUS ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS OF ELAGABALUS 218-222AD NGC XF 0.00
Item ROME-DENARIUS-SET5 ALL 5 OF THE ABOVE ROMAN SILVER DENARIUS 177-222AD NGC XF 5.00
ANCIENT ROMAN COPPER & BRONZE COINS
Every time we get a batch of these genuine ancient Roman coins in, they always sell out. This latest batch is a nice mix of mostly 3rd and 4th Century Roman copper and bronze coins, along with a few Byzantine and Greek coins. I don’t have the time or the patience to work these up individually. The coins are as they come and every lot is different.
Item ROMEx1 1 ANCIENT ROMAN COPPER COINS, unidentified .00
Item ROMEx3 3 ANCIENT ROMAN, ETC. COPPER COINS, unidentified .50
Item ROMEx10 10 ANCIENT ROMAN, ETC. COPPER COINS, unidentified .00
THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY IN ANCIENT ROME - A SET OF 12 BRONZE COINS
In the 300 years between the death of Jesus and the death of Constantine the Great, Christianity went from being the nascent belief system of a dozen disciples to the official religion of the mighty Roman Empire. This remarkable collection tells the story in coins. Gallienus issued the Edict of Toleration, making Christianity legal in the Empire for the first time. Claudius II Gothicus reversed this decision, persecuting Christians in the realm. Constantine I was the first Christian emperor. he and Licinius I issued the Edict of Milan in 313, decreeing that all Christians in Rome must be treated benevolently. Constantine's sons; Constantine II, Constantinus II and Constans maintained their father's policy. Only Julian II, called the Aspotate by the Church, attempted to revert to paganism, but by then it was too late. By the time of Valentinian, Valens and Gratian, Rome was officially Christian; indeed, those three emperors converted barbarians to Christianity. This set of 12 ancient Roman bronze coins includes coins of Gallienus (253-258), Claudius II Gothicus (268-270), Constantine the Great (307-337), Licinius I (308-324), Constantine II (337-340), Constantinus II (337-361), Constans (337-350), Donstantintius Gallus (351-34), Julian II the Apostate (360-364), Valentian I the Great (364-378), Valens (364-378) and Gratian (367-383). After the Fourth Century Rome was often ruled by more than one emperor at the same time. The obverse of each coin shows the portrait of the emperor at the time the coins were minted. The reverse shows pictures and phrases depicting current concerns, history and mythology. The coins grade Very Good or better. They are guaranteed genuine and are packaged in an attractive descriptive folder.
Item CHRISTSET12 RISE OF CHRISTIANITY IN ANCIENT ROME: 12 BRONZE COINS IN ALBUM .75
ELEPHANT ON ANCIENT SATAVAHANA COIN
An elephant is depicted on obverse of this ancient Karshapana of the Satavahana (Andhra) Empire. At its peak the empire controlled most of central and southern India. The reverse depicts the Ujjain symbol, also known as the Satavahana symbol. The symbol comprises of four circles attached to the ends of the bars of a cross. The coin was issued by the early Satakarni dynasty between about 30 AD and 107AD. The Satavahana Empire ruled most of central and southern India and engaged in trade with the Roman Empire. The coin is struck in a copper and lead alloy called potin.
Item IN-SATAV SATAVAHANA KARSHAPANA, ELEPHANT, circa 30-107AD MAC4941+ Fine .50
BRONZE COIN OF THE KUSHAN EMPIRE
The Kushan Empire covered much what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India from about the first to the third century AD. They grew wealthy controlling trade centers on the Silk Road and on the Indus River and incorporated elements of the Greek, Roman, Chinese, Persian, Indian and other cultures into their lives. Their coins incorporate Greek designs and often use a corrupted Greek alphabet in the legends. We offer a well made bronze Tetradrachms of Kushan king “Soter Megas”. The title "Soter Megas" means Great Savior. The coin, which grades VG to Fine, shows the Greek style diademed bust of the king on one side, and the king on horseback on the other. The king thought of himself as being so great, he did not need to put his actual name on the coin. Until quite recently however, scholars did not know who really was! It is now believed that he is Vima Takha who succeeded Kujula Kadphises, ruling from 80AD to 105AD. He expanded his empire into what is now Pakistan.
Item SOTER KUSHAN BRONZE TETRADRACHM, SOTER MEGAS 80-105AD VG-F .75
ANCIENT KUSHANO-SASANIAN COPPER COIN
After the split of the Kushan Empire around 230AD, the eastern portion became a vassal state of the Sasanian Empire is known as the Kushano-Sassanians. It controlled parts of what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan. It remained until about 350AD, when the area was conquered by the White Huns (Hephthalites). These small, crude copper coins, sometimes called a Drachm or a unit, were minted between about 241 and 350AD. They are some of the last coins of the Kushano-Sasanians. They are modeled after the Sasanian silver Drachm, however are smaller, much cruder and made of copper. One side features the bust of the king, the other features a Zoroastrian fire altar.
Item KUSHAN-SAS KUSHANO-SASANIAN COPPER DRACHM, ca.241-350AD G-CRUDE .00
COINS OF THE KIDARITES
The Kidarites were nomadic Huns that conquered the Kushano-Sassanians sometime around 350AD. They are sometime referred to as the “Red Huns”. Very little is known about them. They controlled an area that now is made up of parts of northern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, as well as parts of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. . They ruled the region until about 500AD. The Kidarites appear to have been a confederacy of warlords, many of whom issued coins. Not having had a tradition of coinage, they copied the basic designs and fabric of the coins they found in circulation without an apparent understanding of the meaning of the designs. Some of the coins are modeled on Sassanian or Kushano-Sassanian coins depicting the bust of the king and a fire altar. Other coins are modeled after Kushan or other Indian coins and feature various deities or a standing king. There is a wide variety of extremely crude and primitive Kidarite copper coins. These scarce, crude Kidarite copper coins are unusual pieces from a little know Hunnic tribe.
Item KIDARx1 KIDARITE COPPER UNIT, circa 350-500AD, CRUDE .00
FINAL RISE AND FALL OF THE SASANIAN EMPIRE
The Sasanian Empire ruled Persia and nearby territories from 224 to 651AD. It engaged in endless wars with the Roman-Byzantine Empire during most of its over 400 years of existence. Hormizd IV came to power upon the death of his father in 579. Much of his reign was spent fighting against the Byzantine Empire and the Turks. He angered the Zoroastrian clergy by his tolerance towards the many Christians in his Empire, and angered the army after dismissing his popular general Bahram Chobin. In 590 he was overthrown, blinded and killed in a palace coup led by Khusru II (Khosrow II) uncles, who then put 20-year-old Khusru II on the throne. Some months later Bahram Chobin overthrew Khusru and claimed the throne himself. Khusru then allied himself with Byzantine Emperor Maurice, who helped him regain his throne in exchange for Persian Armenia and western Georgia. There was a short-lived peace between Sasanian and Byzantine empires. In 602 Byzantine Emperor Maurice was murdered by his General Phocas, who assumed the throne. Khusru used this as an excuse to invade the Byzantine Empire. He regained the territory that he had given up, then proceeded to take Damascus, Jerusalem and Egypt from the Byzantines, expanding the Sassanian Empire to its greatest extent. In 626 he attempted to Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, but was defeated. The Byzantines then invaded and plundered the Persian heartlands and advanced towards the capital. In 628 Khusru's son had his father killed and sued for peace with the Byzantines. The war left both sides militarily and economically exhausted. A civil war then broke out between various court factions over control of the Sasanian empire which further weakened and destabilized the country. About the same time the Arab Muslim forces began their attacks on the Sasanian empire, and by 651 conquered what had only a few years earlier been the largest and most powerful nation on earth.
The Sasanian drachm is a large, thin silver coin. One side of the coin pictures the king. The other side shows two priests in front at a fire alter, an allusion to the official state Zoroastrian religion. It widely circulated throughout central Asia and its design elements were copied by other nations for hundreds of years. The Sasanian silver drachms often show weak areas. The coins are thin and the dies were relatively high relief, so parts of the designs are poorly struck. We offer coins of Hormizd IV that grade Fine to Very Fine, but may show a few weak areas. We also have coins of Khusru II that show minimal or no wear, but have major weak areas caused by the poor minting techniques.
Item SAS-HORM SASANIAN SILVER DRACHM, HORMIZD IV 579-590 F-VF-weak .00
Item SAS-KHU SASANIAN SILVER DRACHM, KHUSRU II 590-628 XF-VERY WEAK STRIKE .00
SILVER DRACHM OF THE PALAS OF BENGAL
The Pala Dynasty arose in Bengal India in the mid-eighth century after a period of anarchy. They were astute diplomats, military conquerors and scholars. They established and promoted universities, built grand temples and monasteries, their missionaries established Buddhism in Tibet, their army was noted for its corps of war elephants and it had an extensive navy. These silver Drachms of the Palas were struck during a period of dynastic decline between about 850 and 950AD. The designs of the coins are based on the Sasanian Drachm, which had not been stuck for hundreds of years. Each generation created new coins by copying the designs of the crudely made coins already found in circulation. One side had the head of the king. The other side had a fire altar. By the time the Palas came to power the coiners had no concept of what the original coins looked like, resulting in a design that bears little resemblance to the original. Every coin is different, and every coin is crude.
Item IN-PALA PALAS OF BENGAL, SILVER DRACHM, circa 850-950AD VG-CRUDE .00
Item IN-PALAx3 3 DIFFERENT PALAS SILVER DRACHMS, circa 850-950AD VG-CRUDE .50
MEDIEVAL SILVER COINS OF THE HABBARID AMIRS OF SINDH
Sindh (Sind) is located in what is now the south-eastern portion of Pakistan. The Habbaris were Arab traders and merchants that settled in Sindh in pre-Islamic times. Despite living in India for hundreds of years and marrying locals, they maintained their Arab identity, language and customs. By the mid 9th century AD they were able to assert control over Sindh, paying only nominal allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph. The coinage of the Habbarids of Sind (also known as the Amirs of Sindh) consisted of small (10 to 11mm) silver Dammas (Dhammas) that feature Arabic inscriptions on both sides. In 1026 Ghaznavid Sultan Mahmud conquered Sindh. We are pleased to offer silver Dammas of two of the Habbarid sultans of Sindh. Abdallah I, who ruled from about 884 to 913AD, and Ali, who ruled from about 973 to 987AD
Item SINDH-ABD SINDH SILVER DAMMA, ABDALLAH ca.884-913AD VF .00
Item SINDH-ALI SINDH SILVER DAMMA, ALI ca. 973-987AD VF .00
GHENGHIZ KHAN SIEGE COIN
Ghenghiz Khan assumed command of his Mongolian tribe at age 13. By military tactics and terror his armies soon conquered much of China, Persia, India and Russia. This bronze Jital was struck in Kuruzwan, a city in Central Asia, during June and July of 1221AD while the city was under siege by Ghenghiz Khan. The city of Kuruzwan fell to the Mongols after about two months and the remaining inhabitants were slaughtered. As might be expected under such severe circumstances, the coins are crudely struck, with many being partially off-center or unevenly struck. This is one of the few identifiable "siege" coins of the Islamic world and is a scarce and interesting reminder of this violent period in history.
GHENGHIZ GHENGHIZ KHAN SIEGE OF KURUZWAN, BRONZE JITAL, 1221AD (A1971) VG .50
ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL COIN SPECIAL
A selection of three different identified ancient and medieval coins, including one silver coin. The coins are primarily from India and central Asia. This was one of my best sellers for almost 40 years, however I had to discontinue it due to the lack of affordable ancients. Due to a very fortunate recent purchase, we can again offer this special deal. Each coin is identified in its own envelope. Coins grade Good to Very Fine. Multiple lots will most likely contain the same coins.
Item 3A&M 3 IDENTIFIED ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL COINS INCLUDING SILVER .75
ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL COINS OF AFGHANISTAN
ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL COINS OF INDIA and PAKISTAN
MEDIEVAL COINS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL CHINESE COINS
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