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Punch-Marked Coins from Taxila

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Item Code: NAL668
Author: Mr. E. H. C. Walsh
Publisher: Archaeological Survey of India
Language: English
Edition: 1999
Pages: 270 (48 B/W Plates)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.0 inch X 8.5 inch
Weight 1 kg
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Two Separate Hoards of Silver Punch-marked Coins are described in this Memoir. They were both found in the Bhir-Mound at Taxila,. the Larger Find of 1171 silver coins of the Older Class in 1924, which are described in Part I and the Smaller Find of 167 debased-silver coins of the Later Class in 1912, which are described in Part II. In each case the date of the deposit of the hoard is fixed by an extraneous coin which it contained; the Larger Bhir-Mound Find by two gold coins of Alexander the Great and one of Philip Aridaeus, in mint condition, at about 317 B.C., and the Smaller Bhir-Mound Find, by a coin of Diodotus, at 248 B.C.

I took up the Examination of the Larger Find of the Older coins in 1928. The examination was made from the photographs of the coins on the 38 Plates, (Plates IV-XLI) now published. The coins had been arranged in the serial order given on the Plates, and photographed by the Archaeological Survey of India. The arrangement of the coins had been made according to whether they were rectangular (Nos. 113 to 926. Plates IV-XXXII) or round (Nos. 927 to 1171. Plates XXXII-XLI) and the coins included in each of these classes were arranged serially according to whether the reverse was blank and to the number of marks on their reverse.

Neither of these considerations is a scientific or actual basis for the classification of Punch-marked coins; the first, because Punch-marked coins bearing the same fixed group of marks and therefore constituting an identical coinage occur in both the rectangular and the round form, and the second because the difference in the number of the marks on the reverse is merely an indication of the length of time that the particular coin had been in active circulation. The classification of the coins, which is based on the fixed groups of the marks on their Obverse, is therefore entirely independent of and differs from their serial order on the Plates, which is as though the coins had all been thrown into two heaps, those that are rectangular or polygonal in shape into the one, and those that are "round" into the other, and, in each case, irrespective of the different classes of the coins themselves contained in those heaps, so that any two consecutive coins in their order in the list, may have no connection whatever with each other.

In the List of the Coins, in which the serial number of the coins on the Plates is followed, I have noted the Obverse Marks and the Reverse Marks on each coin, and have also given the Class of the Coins to which each coin belongs. The different Classes of the coins are given in Appendix C; and in Appendix D, is given the serial number of each coin comprised in each Class, Also in Appendix E, is given the serial number of each coin on which each of the Obverse Marks occurs. From these Appendices, every coin in each Class can be referred to on the Plates of the coins.

My object in these detailed particulars in these and the other Appendices has been, in conjunction with the Plates of the Coins, to place the reader in the position of having the actual coins before him, so that he can draw his own inferences, and every conclusion I have arrived at can be tested independently.

I made the examination of the Larger Find of the Older Coins in 1928. The List of the Coins and most of the Appendices were completed in that year, and the remainder, were completed in the following year, with the exception of Appendix H on the Resemblances of certain of the Marks on the Coins to Figures and Signs on the Indus Seals found at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, which was done later. Since then, two important works on Punch-marked coins have appeared, the first by Mr. Durga Prasad in 1935, and the second, Mr. Allan's Catalogue of the Coins of Ancient India in the British Museum, in 1936. Neither of these, however, has necessitated the alteration in any respect of the Classification which I had made of the coins, nor of any of the conclusions which I had arrived at. I have referred to both these works and to other subsequent writers on the subject, where necessary.

The Find of the Older Coins will furnish a future Standard of Reference for the Older Class of Punch-marked Coins, as the coins extend over a longer period and contain more varieties, and are in every respect more complete than the British Museum specimens of the Older Coins.

The coins bear a group of five marks on the Obverse. There is another class of the Early Punch-marked coins which only bear four marks on the Obverse. They have been found in an area suggesting their connection with the ancient Pre-Mauryan Kingdom of Kosala. I examined a hoard of 1014 of those coins which were found at Paila, in the Kheri District of the United Provinces, in 1912. I classified and forwarded them, with a Note on them, to the Lucknow Museum in 1928, where they now are. Mr. Durga Prasad refers to several coins of that Type, in his work referred to above.

I received the Photographs of the Smaller Find of 176 of the Later Coins, described in Part II, in 1936, and made the examination of this Find in that year. These coins are of two Classes only. Five coins, though of the same locality as the others are of a different character and appear to be a different "coinage" of that locality. The remaining 171 coins are of one Class, and are chiefly of interest on account of their abnormally high weight, (due probably to the debased metal,) and from the different varieties, mostly debased and crude imitations, of the "Taxila Mark" on the Reverse.

It was originally intended that the description of both these Finds should be included in Sir John Marshall's Work on Taxila. But the mass of the materials proved too great for inclusion, and I have therefore written a separate Resume of the conclusions which I have arrived at, which will be included in that Work.

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