TAXILA-GANDHARA ACHAEMENID circa 486-450 BC bent bar


TAXILA-GANDHARA, ACHAEMENID, bent bar satamana, no date (circa 450 BC), Obverse: dynastic symbol stamped twice, also deep Incuse triangle with dot in center (banker’s mark), Reverse: blank, thick and dumpy, base silver, 23x13mm, 5mm thick, 11.21g, MA4071+, I went to to look for bent bar references and found mostly my pictures. Apparently there’s not much studying being done on them. aVF

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I went to to look for bent bar references and found mostly my pictures. There are two main varieties: short and thick, and long and thin. Some of the short ones are base silver, the long ones are always fine silver (so far). There are fractions and very rare overweight specimens. When I was getting them from Pakistan they came with Magadha and Maurya punchmarked coins. Some people like to think they’re as early as 650 BC. I don’t think so.

The Persian Empire expanded eastward into Afghanistan and Pakistan, all the way to the border of the Mauryan Empire in India, and held those eastern lands 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.