Who Introduced the First Gold Coins in India

India, known as the Golden Sparrow or Sone ki Chidiya in the past, has a rich history of using gold as both a currency and a symbol of prosperity. In this article, let’s explore some intriguing facts about India’s gold coins, proving that our love for gold is timeless.

The Early Gold Coins of India: The Kushan Dynasty’s Contribution

The Kushan Dynasty introduced some of the earliest gold coins in India. Here are a few examples:

Kanishka I Gold Dinar

Reportedly the first gold coin issued by an Indian king, Kanishka I of the Kushan Dynasty introduced this coin in 127 CE. Notably, this coin was issued in Greek, while later coins were minted in the Bactrian language. The fascinating design features the image of Kanishka I himself.

Gold Dinar From Kanishka Reign

Huvishka Gold Dinar

Huvishka, the son of Kanishka, minted numerous gold coins and quarters between 155 and 190 CE. These coins, also in the Bactrian language, depict the Iranian solar deity Mithra.

Gold Coin From Huvishka Era

Vasudeva I Gold Dinar

Vasudeva I, believed to be Huvishka’s son from a Hindu wife, issued this gold coin in 195 CE. The coin showcases Lord Shiva and the Nandi bull, symbolizing divinity.

Gold Coin With Lord Shiva & Nandi Design

Kanishka II Gold Dinar

Issued between 227 and 247 CE by Kanishka II, these gold coins also bear the depiction of Lord Shiva and the Nandi bull. While similar to its predecessors, this coin features minor differences in details and inscriptions.

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Shiva & Nandi Inspired Gold Coins

Vasishka Gold Dinar

Vasishka minted this coin between 247 and 265 CE. The image portrays Vasishka on the left and the Iranian goddess Ardochsho on the right.

Gold Dinar Issued by Vashishka

Vasudeva II

Issued sometime between 275 and 300 CE, this coin bears striking similarities to its predecessor.

Ancient Gold Coin Issued By Vasudeva II

Shaka Gold Dinar

The Shaka gold coins, issued around the mid-4th century, present uncertainty in terms of their chronology and ruler. These coins are known for their attractive designs and prominently feature the king and the goddess Ardochsho.

Designer Gold Coins From Shaka Reign

During the Gupta Empire, India witnessed its golden era in civilization, culture, arts, and of course, gold coins. Let’s explore some of the finest gold coins issued during this period.

The Golden Era of the Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire, flourishing between 335 and 375 CE, produced remarkable gold coins representing different types:

Sceptre

Referred to as the “standard type,” this Gupta gold coin portrays the king holding his rajadanda or royal sceptre.

Sceptre - Gold Coin From Gupta Reign

King and Queen

This coin commemorates the marriage of King Chandragupta I to Lichchavi princess Kumaradevi. Historically, this event brought good fortune to the king and aided in expanding the Gupta Empire.

King & Queen Design Inspired Gold Dinar

Archer

One of the most commonly found Gupta coins, it depicts the king holding a long bow in his left hand and an arrow in his right.

Gold Coins With Archer Designs

Battle Axe

This coin showcases the king holding a battle axe in his left hand, with the other side featuring the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, as seen on the sceptre, archer, and king and queen coins.

Gold Coin With Battle Axe

Ashvamedha

As the name suggests, this coin depicts a horse. The Ashvamedha was a horse sacrifice ritual performed by rulers to expand their kingdoms. The queen is featured on the other side of the coin.

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Gold Dinar With Horse Design

Lyrist

This unique coin showcases the king playing a musical instrument, highlighting King Samudragupta’s skill as an accomplished musician.

Lyrics Embossed Famous Gold Dinar

Tiger-slayer

The tiger-slayer coin displays the king’s prowess in arms. It depicts the king aiming a bow at a tiger, symbolizing his hunting skills.

Tiger Slaying Design On Ancient Coin

Kacha

The Kacha coin, the final type from the Gupta Empire, portrays the king holding a chakra-topped standard at an altar.

Chakra Design On Gold Coin

Following the Gupta era, coinage in India featured intriguing designs issued by Harsha and early medieval Rajput dynasties. Let’s take a look at some of these fascinating coins.

Post-Gupta Era Coinage

During the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji from 1674 to 1680, unique gold coins were minted. These coins bear the inscription “Sri Raja Shiv” on one side and “Chhatrapati” or Lord of the Kshatriyas on the other.

Shivaji Coins

Throughout history, coins played a pivotal role in India’s relationship with gold. Today, the Indian Gold Coin offers security, purity, prestige, and value all in one. Gold continues to hold a special place in our hearts and pockets!

Sources:

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