TAXILA-GANDHARA, ACHAEMENID, bent bar satamana, c. 450 BC


TAXILA-GANDHARA, ACHAEMENID, bent bar satamana, c. 450 BC, Obverse: 6-armed symbol stamped twice, Reverse: blank, somewhat thick & dumpy, silver, 29x13mm, 10.75g, MA4070v, aVF

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There are several varieties of bent bar coins, ranging from thin, highly curved, narrow, fine silver pieces to thick billon bars. This piece is in kind of in the middle. Silver content is relatively high.

The Persian Empire expanded eastward into Afghanistan and Pakistan, all the way to the border of the Mauryan Empire in India, and held it until the arrival of Alexander the Great. In the west they made sigloi and darics, in the east, bent bars, which can be seen as a kind of experiment. They are fairly standard ingots, pre-coins, if you will.

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.