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Mr. W. E. M. Campbell, 1.c.s., has also come to the same conclusion from the examination of a most extensive and important find of 1,245 punch-marked coins, found at Paila in the Kheri district of the United Provinces.
Another extensive and important find of 2,873 punch-marked coins was found at Patraha in the Purnea district of this Province in 1913 in the bed of a small river which had been scoured out by the water. Rivers in India, which frequently change their courses, are great excavators. These coins were sent to Mr. R. D. Banerji, the Treasure Trove Officer for this Province, and have not yet been received back from him; so I have not been able to examine them. The classification in the Treasure Trove Report has, however, only been made with reference to the size and shape of the coins. They should be systematically examined with regard to the marks on them.
The conclusion to which Dr. Spooner came from the examination of the Peshawar coins is as follows:
"It has been stated by various authorities that the symbols are arbitrary figures, the arbitrary marks of particular moneyers, perhaps, and that they were punched into these coins from time to time by these different authorities as they chanced to come into their hands. But my tabulation of the marks occurring on the coins of the present collection tends directly to a refutation of this view. The above-mentioned group of 5 symbols occurs on 20 of the 61 coins in the collection, with one symbol regularly in each corner, and one, with like regularity the dharmacakra, impressed on one edge and overlapping the nearest two. This alone would have rendered the old theory doubtful, but when it is added that in every case where the punch-mark on the reverse was decipherable it was found to be what Cunningham called the Taxila mark,' the Taxila mark,' we have an
1 Mr. Banerji has classified these coins in the Treasure Trove Report forwarded with his letter 452 I. M., dated the 2nd November 1916, as follows:
1,450 Thick square.
420 Thin square.
invariable concomitance established between a particular group of 5 symbols on the obverse and a particular 'mint mark' on the reverse, which cannot conceivably be lacking in significance and which points decidedly to these coins having been the regular coinage of some one accepted central authority, and the symbols or their selection the recognized insignia of the same, not the private marks of individual moneyers impressed haphazard from time to time."1
The mark which Dr. Spooner then considered to be the "dharmachakra" is the sun mark (Fig. 2). Dr. Spooner subsequently revised his opinion as to this mark, and now considers it to be the sun; as it has always been considered, and which there can be no doubt that it is.
Mr. Campbell has kindly let me see his Treasure Trove Report and his notes on the Paila coins. He has found that they bear a group of 4 marks on the obverse, which is constant for each class of coins, and has classified them according to such groups, as follows :
Class I, 291 coins; Class II, 481 coins; Class III, 254 coins; Class IV, 5 coins; Class IV-A, 6 coins; Class V, 44 coins; Class VI, 4 coins; Class VII, 2 coins; Class VIII, 1 coin; Coins of the type of Class I, II or III, but with distinctive symbol missing or obscure, 138 coins; the remainder being 12 broken pieces and 7 corroded.
Mr. Campbell has also let me see the list of the figures of the marks on these coins.
It is to be hoped that he will publish the result of his examination, which will be a most valuable contribution to the subject.
With reference to the systematic occurrence of constant groups of marks, it is interesting to note that three of the coins illustrated by Cunningham (C. A. I., Plate I, Figs. 2, 4 and 5) contain a variety of the present mark, Fig. 1; Fig. 2; elephant
1 Archæological Survey of India Annual Report (A.S.R.), 1905.06, p. 153. 2 The Zoroastrian Period of Indian History by D. B. Spooner, J.R.A.S., 1915, p. 413.
right, Fig. 5, and bow and arrow, Fig. 47; with an additional
mark which is the same on 4 and 5. four marks as on coins of Class D, 98) except that the elephant on the ham faces right, (like Fig. 5) while tioned it faces left.
This is the same group of sub-class 2 (Coins 97 and coins figured by Cunningon the present coins men
It would seem probable that the occurrence of this group of four marks on the coins mentioned may be due to the same cause as their occurrence together on the coins of Class D, subclass 2, and that they are therefore coins from the same state or area. Unfortunately, the provenance of those coins is not given.
It is accepted that punch-marked coins are the oldest form of coinage in India, and that it was an indigenous coinage, and not derived from, or based on, the coinage of other countries. The proof of the independent origin of this coinage in India has been summarized by Professor Rapson in J.R.A.S., 1895, p. 869. This coinage had been in existence long before the time of Buddha, as is shown by the fact that the name purāna ("ancient") is given to them in the stories of Buddha in the Jatakas. As noted by Mr. Vincent Smith,1 the fact that they have been found in one of the very ancient earthen tumuli at LauriyaNandangarh in Champaran and in the ancient tombs known by the name of Pandu-kulis in Coimbatore shows that they go back to very early times. The latter fact may, possibly, show that this coinage originated during the early Dravidian civilization.
Cunningham refers to "two monumental evidences of the antiquity of these square Indian coins in the Buddhist sculpture of Mahabodhi and Bharhut. The former is as old as Asoka himself, 250 B. C., having been executed during his reign; the latter are somewhat later, or about 150 B. C. In both of these there is a representation of the famous story of the Jetavana, or purchase of the garden of Prince Jeta by the merchant Anatha. According to the legend the purchaser had to cover the whole surface of the garden with a layer of gold coins. In both sculptures the servants of Anatha are seen laying the coins,
I. M. C., Vol, I., p. 165.
edge to edge, as the inscription states. As all the pieces are square, they clearly represent the punch-marked money that was current in the time of Asoka."
Cunningham also mentions that some much worn punch marked silver coins were found "in company with hemi-drachms of Antimachus II, Philoxenus, Lysias, Antialkidas and Menander," which proves that these coins were old but current in about 200 B. C.
Silver punch-marked coins are of two types :
Square, being lengths cut out of a bar of the metal and the corners then clipped, if necessary, to reduce the coin to the required weight; or oval, as in the case of the present coins. The copper coins are always of the square form.
They were the signatum argentum presented by Omphis to Alexander at Taxila in 326 B.C. and the fact that their symbols were continued on the square cast copper coins leads to the inference that they were still current at the commencement of that coinage.
Cunningham stated that punch-marked coins are found "from the Himalaya Mountains to Cape Comorin and from Seistan to the mouth of the Ganges." Few finds, however, have been recorded west of the Indus. There is the Peshawar find already referred to, and Mr. R. D. Banerji has described 44 coins said to have been found in Afghanistan, which were obtained from His Majesty the Amir when in Calcutta. The locality from which these coins were obtained is not stated.
1 C. A. I., p. 52.
" C. A. I., p. 54.
8 C. A. I., p. 42.
With coins of this class extending over such a long period and such extended area, results obtained from the examination of coins of a particular period, or locality, will not necessarily be applicable to coins of other periods or distant localities, in which other forms of government and other conditions may have prevailed.
J.A.S.B., 1910, p. 225.
Cunningham has fully discussed the question of the weight of the punch-marked coins. These early coins were based on the Indian system of weights as given in Manu, VIII., 132 et seq. which Professor Rapson summarizes as follows:
"The basis of this system is the rati (raktikā), or gunja berry, the weight of which is estimated at 1-83 grains·118 grammes. Of the gold standard coin, the suvarna of 80 ratis =1464 grains or 9.48 grammes, no specimens are known; but of the silver purana or dharana of 32 ratis =58 56 grains or 3.79 grammes, and of the copper kārsāpana of 80 ratis (same weight as the suvarna), and of various multiples and subdivisions of these, numerous examples have been discovered in almost every part of India. "2
The theoretical weight of 58 56 grains is, however, rarely attained in the known specimens. The weight of those of the present coins that are complete and less worn vary from 53.4 to 52 grains; and the weights of the coins in the India Museum Catalogue also follow practically the same variation as in the present coins.
The essential part of the coinage was the rupa, or marks stamped on them. Mr. R. D. Bhandarkar refers to the expressions such as rūpam chhinditvā kata māsako, or rupam sāmuṭthāpetvā kata māsako used by the Commentary Sāmanta pā sā¬ dika on the Nisaggiya pachitiya. It is these marks stamped on the purana or kārshapana, which constituted the coinage. 3
Until our present sources of information are added to, the significance of the marks on punch-marked coins must remain the subject of speculation and surmise.
Mr. Bhandarkar quotes a passage from the Fissuddhimagga of Buddhaghosha on the subject and notes:
"The purport of it is to describe how a lot of coins lying on a wooden slab would strike a raw boy, a rustic and shroff ; and
1 Abrus precatorius.
Rapson. Indian Coins, p. 2.
Excavations at Besnigar" by R. D. Bhandarkar, M.A., A.S.R, 1913-14,