PUSHKALAVATI heavy bronze municipal coin circa 185-160 BC


PUSHKALAVATI, municipal coinage before the arrival of the Greeks, 1 1/2 karshapana, no date (circa 185-160 BC), Obverse: elephant R, Reverse: lion L, swastica above, 5-sided, bronze, 17x21mm, 11.88g, MA4401, scratches, aVG

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When I was getting these coins from Pakistan, it was common for the people digging them up to scrape the dirt off the coins with a knife. Unfortunate for collectors, but that was how it was.

Pushkalavati, 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.

After the decline and disappearance of the Mauryan government Pushkalavati became self-governing until the arrival of the army of Alexander the Great and issued its own coins to support its strong market economy.

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.