When the Barter System lost its credibility during the ancient period, a Punch marked coins came into being.
Punched marked coins, also known as Aahat coins, are dated from the 6th to 2nd centuries BC.
What are punch-marked coins ?
Punch-marked coins are the earliest coin issued in India issued between the 6th and the 2nd Century BC.
The study of these coins is a fascinating and mysterious part of the Indian Coinage System. They were issued during the Janapada and Mahajanapa during the ancient period.
What is Janapada and Mahajanapada ?
The word Janapada, is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Jana’ and ‘Pada’, Jana means people, and pada means foot; hence, the word Janapada means:- ‘foothold of the tribes’. During the ancient period, the Janapada was the highest political unit.
The head of the kingdom was called Rajan or King, then a chief (purohita) or priest; after the priest, the Senana, and then the commander of the army who would assist the king.
There were two political bodies, Sabha and Samiti.
The sabha was the council of elders, and the samiti was the general assembly of the entire people.
Why did Punch Marked Coins call Punched Coins?
Now, a question must have come into your mind, why Punched Marked?.. why not any other name?…
So the answer to this question is… they were made by punching over the coins.
The Punch mark coins bear small symbols or figures made by hammering using punches and dies. That is why they are known as punch-marked coins.
The symbols seen on the ancient punch-marked coins look amazing, as they speak something about the life of Ancient people. According to Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, the metallic parts of punch-marked coins are stamped with symbols.
The Punched marked coins are square, but coins with circular and rectangular shapes are also found. The coins issued were called Puranas, Karshapanas, or Pana. These were the first coins of India minted during the 6th century BC by the Mahajanpadas of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
The unique characteristic of these coins was similar to those of Greek Coins. Many historians believe that the concept of coinage was introduced by the Greeks in India.
The symbols in the ancient punch-marked coins are amazings and speak something about the Ancient people’s life.
How Punch Marked Coins made?
The Arthasastra, written by Kautilya during the 4th Century, mentioned detailed information about the making of punch-marked coins.
First, the sheet of metal was melted in crucibles known as Musha and then purified with alkalis. Then the metals were beaten into the sheets of an anvil with a hammer. After these sheets, cut them into pieces with clippers. In the final step, coins punched with the die having symbols. Symbols seen on the ancient punch-marked coins differ from place to place. Some coins have only one punch, some have two, some have four, and some have five. The punching device used has only symbols like geometrical and floral patterns, hills, trees, birds, animals, reptiles, human figures, etc.
The Punch marked coins issued during the ancient period were made of silver and copper.
Punched Marked Coins are the earliest coins of India, dated between the 6th Century BC and the 2nd Century BC. These were the first coins issued in the 6th-century Mahajanapadas of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. These were irregular shapes with prescribed weights. Some Punched marked coins issued contain a single and some multiple punches.
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