PUSHKALAVATI, civic coinage, 1/4 karshapana, c.185-160 BC


PUSHKALAVATI, civic coinage, 1/4 karshapana,no date (c.185-160 BC, Obverse: lion L, R-pointing swastica above R, trident-like thing before, Reverse: blank, squarish, part round, bronze, 17x15mm, 2.65g, MA4411v2, aF

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The figural elements of the Pushkalavati coins were mostly animals.

The first of series of Pushkalavati local coppers used only one engraved die, leaving the other side rough. This followed the general practice of the old punchmarked coinage, on which most of the information was on one side.

Pushkalavat, near modern Peshawar in Pakistan near the Afghan border, a stop on the Silk Road, had been a western outpost of the Mauryan Empire. In the late 3rd century BC it found itself on its own. Among other local initiatives, it created a copper currency for itself.

The earliest ancient Indian coins were the “bent bar” punchmarked silvers of the Achaemenid Persians occupying Gandhara in northwest Pakistan. By the 3rd century BC coins were in general use in most of India and Ceylon, and in subsequent centuries struck round coins in gold, silver, and copper came into use throughout the subcontinent and beyond to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands to Java and beyond.