In India, different rulers minted various varieties of coins. These coins were minted in different ways. Earlier, beads and stones were used as currency and this system was known as the Barter System.
However, as it was difficult to differentiate between these items, coins were introduced. Based on minting technologies, ancient Indian Coins can be broadly divided into four groups:
– Punch Marked Coins: These are the earliest recorded coins in India. They were used in the 6th Century BC. The symbols on them were abstract or nature related elements. As both the sides of the coins were struck simultaneously, hence they were called the punch marked coins.
Most of the punch-marked coins had different number of punches impressed upon them. These coins were formed into different shapes, such as the bar-shaped, oblong, or cup-shaped. All these varieties of coins were struck with dies.
– Casting Techniques: In this minting technology, coins were minted using molds. This technique was faster in comparison to the way the Punch Marked were produced and many coins could be produced at one time from a single mold. The main drawback of this technique was that the impression of the mold was not always transferred to the coins properly. So, the rulers at that time eventually developed a brand new technique.
– Repousee Technique: These coins were thin and lightweight. They bear devices only on one side and the other side had a negative impression. This technique was a time-consuming one, so there were fewer numbers of coins minted using this technique.
– Die-Struck Technique: Die-Struck technique was developed because of the fact that the Repousse and Casting techniques had many disadvantages. There were many Ancient Indian Coins minted with this technique during the rule of Gupta and Indo-Greeks. In this technique, both the sides of the coins received impressions.
Hence, there were many different varieties of coins minted by using these different techniques. Some of these coins are still present in the collections of the world and they can even be found in some museums. A perfectly designed coin is one which looks attractive, beautiful and is produced through keeping the technical aspects in consideration.
Transferring the image from a die to the coin requires a great deal of force. If the force is unbalanced, then the coins would gradually disintegrate. These disintegrated dies can be seen on the surface of the coins in the form of lumps or lines.
Hence, it is very important that the coins be minted in the correct manner.