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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Afghanistan to IndiaView Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins of Afghanistan to India

Kushan Empire, Kanishka I the Great, c. 127 150 A.D.

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According to the Rabatak inscription, Kanishka I the Great was the son of Vima Kadphises, the grandson of Sadashkana, and the great-grandson of Kujula Kadphises. Kanishka ruled a huge territory, nearly all of northern India, south to Ujjain and Kundina and east beyond Pataliputra. His territory was administered from two capitals: Purushapura (now Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan) and Mathura, in northern India. The Kushans also had a summer capital in Bagram (then known as Kapisa), where the "Begram Treasure," comprising works of art from Greece to China, was found. He is also credited (along with Raja Dab) for building the massive fort, Qila Mubarak, in the modern city of Bathinda in Indian Punjab. Kanishka's conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and in the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China. Kanishka's reign began a calendar era used by the Kushans for about a century, until the decline of the realm.
WA87811. Bronze tetradrachm, ANS Kushan 520, Mitchiner ACW 3079, Gbl Kushan 774, VF, well centered, dark brown tone, some porosity, weight 17.143 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kapisha main mint, probably Begram mint, c. 127 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian inscription: AO KANHKI (King Kanishka), king standing facing, with a long beard, nimbate, diademed, wearing a pointed brimmed cap, knee length tunic, trousers and boots, sword in sheath on belt, sacrificing over altar left from right hand, vertical spear in left hand; reverse lunar god Mao standing half left, head left, wearing diadem with two long ties, crescent emerging from shoulders forming halo, wearing long cloak over shoulders clasped at chest over ankle length tunic, raising right hand in blessing, left hand resting on hilt of sword in sheath on belt, tamgha left, Bactrian legend right MAO downward on right; $140.00 (119.00) ON RESERVE


Greco-Baktrian Kingdom, Eukratides I the Great, c. 170 - 145 B.C.

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Eucratides I the Great came to the throne by overthrowing the dynasty of Euthydemus I and became one of the most important Greco-Bactrian kings. Eucratides had a vast and prestigious coinage, suggesting a rule of considerable importance. He fought against the Indo-Greek kings, the easternmost Hellenistic rulers in northwestern India, temporarily holding territory as far as the Indus, until he was finally defeated and pushed back to Bactria. Justin ends his account of Eucratides' life by claiming he was murdered on his way back from India by his own son, who hated his father so much that he dragged his dead body behind his chariot.
WA88316. Bronze square 4 units, Bopearachchi Serie 19i, Mitchiner IGIS 190d, SNG ANS 551, SNG Cop 280, HGC 12 146 (S), aVF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 9.168 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, c. 170 - 145 B.C.; obverse helmeted bust of king right, Boiotian helmet crested and ornamented with ear and horn of a bull, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) upward on left, MEΓAΛOY (great) above, EYKPATI∆OY (Eukratides) below; reverse the Dioscuri on horseback galloping right, each holding palm frond and couched spear, ΓΩ monogram lower right, Karosthi legend: Maharajasa Evukratidasa (of King Eukratides, the Great) above and below; ex Ancient Imports; scarce; $120.00 (102.00)


Kushan Empire, Kanishka I the Great, c. 127 - 150 A.D.

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The Kushan territories encompassed the Iranian-language speaking regions of Sogdiana, Ferghana, Bactria, Arachosia, Gandhara, and Taxila, and the conquered Indian territory of Mathura. These provinces lie in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and northwestern Pakistan.
WA87808. Bronze tetradrachm, ANS Kushan 553 - 560, Gbl Kushan 781, Mitchiner ACW 3095, aVF, brown tone, well centered, scattered porosity, scratches, weight 16.931 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kapisha main mint, probably Begram mint, c. 128 - 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian inscription: AO KANHKI (King Kanishka), king standing facing, long beard, nimbate, diademed, wearing a round brimmed cap, knee length tunic, trousers and boots, sword in sheath on belt, sacrificing over altar left from right hand, vertical spear in left hand; reverse god Oesho (resembles Shiva) standing facing, four-arms, nimbate head left, hair in a topknot; holding attributes: diadem, thunderbolt, trident and water pot; tamgha left, Bactrian legend OHO on right; ex Tyche Numismatics; $100.00 (85.00) ON RESERVE


Kushan Empire, Kanishka I the Great, c. 127 - 150 A.D.

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Kanishka's conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and in the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China.
WA87809. Bronze tetradrachm, Mitchiner ACW 3114 (same rear leg var.), ANS Kushan 579 ff., Gbl Kushan 783, Donum Burns 167 ff., F/VF, some marks, some porosity, reverse slightly off center, weight 16.966 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kapisha main mint, probably Begram mint, middle phase, c. 128 - 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian inscription: AO KANHKI (King Kanishka), crowned, diademed king standing facing, holding spear and sacrificing at altar at left; reverse wind god Oado running left (variety with rear leg nearly straight), wind blown spiked hair, holding up with both hands a sheer large cape billowing out around body, tamgha left, Bactrian OA∆O downward on right; $100.00 (85.00) ON RESERVE


Kushan Empire, Kanishka I the Great, c. 127 - 150 A.D.

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Nana was a female Kushan divinity from Bactria, a variation of pan-Asiatic Nana, a conflation of Sumero-Babylonian Inanna-Ishtar with a local divinity. Nana is first attested by name on a coin of Sapadbizes, a 1st century B.C. king of Bactria who preceded the Kushans. In this case, Nana is depicted as a lion. Nana reappears two centuries later on coins and seals of the Kushan kings, in particular of Kanishka I. She was typically depicted as a seated martial goddess, escorted by a lion. She was also associated with fertility, wisdom and as a goddess of the waters (in particular of the Indus River). Depictions of Nana are known from Afghanistan as late as the 5th - 6th century. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the name appears as "Nawi," the Pashto word for bride.
WA87810. Bronze tetradrachm, ANS Kushan 440 ff., Gbl Kushan 776, Mitchiner ACW 3091, VF, dark brown tone, edge crack, weight 15.625 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kapisha main mint, probably Begram mint, c. 128 - 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian inscription: AO KANHKI (King Kanishka), king standing facing, nimbate, diademed, wearing a round brimmed cap, knee length tunic, trousers and boots, sword in sheath on belt, sacrificing over altar left from right hand, vertical spear in left hand; reverse goddess Nana standing half right, nimbate, wearing diadem with long ties, and sleeved ankle length robe, hair with bun in the back, scepter topped with lion protome in right hand, bowl in left hand, Bactrian inscription NANA upward behind, tamga right; ex Moneta (Missouri Numismatic Society Bourse, July 2015); $100.00 (85.00) ON RESERVE


Kushan Empire, Kanishka I the Great, c. 127 - 150 A.D.

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Oesho was a deity represented on the coins of several Kushan kings, one of the titular deities of the dynasty. Nearly all of the images of Oesho are on coins, suggesting his worship was a royal cult, not widely followed by the kings' subjects. Oesho was the only deity depicted on coins of Wima Kadphises, where he is portrayed with an erect lingam and is accompanied by a bull. Under Vasudeva I the iconography varied, with the god depicted with either two or four arms (holding a diadem, thunderbolt, trident and water pot), and one or three heads. The bull, water-pot, and trident became key attributes of Shiva in later Hindu art.
WA87812. Bronze tetradrachm, ANS Kushan 553, Gbl Kushan 781, Mitchiner ACW 3093, VF, excellent reverse detail, dark brown toning, earthen encrustations, obverse off center, edge crack, weight 16.644 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kapisha main mint, probably Begram mint, c. 128 - 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian inscription: AO KANHKI (King Kanishka), king standing facing, with a long beard, nimbate, diademed, wearing a round brimmed cap, knee length tunic, trousers and boots, sword in sheath on belt, sacrificing over altar left from right hand, vertical spear in left hand; reverse god Oesho (resembles Shiva) standing facing, four-arms, nimbate head left, hair in a topknot; wears bracelets, armlets and amulet string across chest; holding attributes: diadem, thunderbolt, trident and water pot; tamgha left, Bactrian legend OHO on right; ex ECIN; $80.00 (68.00) ON RESERVE


Kushan Empire, Wima Kadphises, c. 113 - 127 A.D.

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Vima Kadphises was the father of the great Kanishka I. This is an example of the bi-lingual tetradrachm with a Kharoshthi legend on the reverse. The bi-lingual bronze coinage was issued in three denominations - a tetradrachm (or unit), a didrachm (or half unit) and a drachm (or quarter unit).
WA87807. Bronze tetradrachm, cf. ANS Kushan 277, Mitchiner ACW 3012, Gbl Kushan 762, VF, tight flan, rev. slightly off center cutting off part of legends, some marks, some porosity, weight 16.911 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Begram (Bagram, Afghanistan) mint, c. 113 - 127 A.D.; obverse BACIΛEVC BACIΛEWN CWTHP MEΓAC OOHMO KA∆FICHC (king of kings, great savior, Wima Kadphises), King standing facing, sacrificing at flaming altar from right hand, left hand on hilt of sword, wearing diadem with long ribbon ties, tall bonnet, and open knee length tunic over baggy trousers, trident-axe on left, tamga over upright club on right; reverse Kharoshthi legend: of great king, king of kings, lord of the world, great lord, Wima Kadphies, savior), god Oesho (resembles Shiva) facing, leaning on bull standing right, wearing string of amulets across chest, nude but for sheer drapery around legs, erect lingam, trident in right hand, left hand on bull's hump, nandipada upper left; ex ECIN, ex Spartan Numismatics; $60.00 (51.00) ON RESERVE


India, Kabul and Gandhara, Anonymous Post-Shahi, 1021 - 1200 A.D.

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Mitchiner notes the Ghaznavids occupied the Shahi Kingdom and some of these coins may have been struck by them, however, the major issuers were probably the Chahamanas.
WA74839. Billon jital, "Bull and Horseman" jital; cf. Palomares Bueno type 3, MacDowall 33bis, Mitchiner NI 473, Deyell 235-236, Tye 33, VF, small tight flan dumpy fabric, light corrosion, light earthen deposits, weight 3.418 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 225o, c. 1021 - 1200 A.D.; obverse Sri Samanta Deva, Recumbent zebu left, star and crescent before; reverse sarada aksara, horseman right, holding banner, 'Bhi' on left; $30.00 (25.50)







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REFERENCES

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Bopearachchi, O. Monnaies Grco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques. (Paris, 1991).
Bopearachchi, O & A. ur Rahman. Pre-Kushana Coins in Pakistan. (Karachi, 1995).
Cribb, J. "Numismatic Evidence for Kushano-Sasanian Chronology" in Studia Iranica 19 (1990).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber, Vol III, Part 2. (London, 1926).
Friedberg, A. & I. Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 8th ed. (2009).
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Gbl, R. Mnzprgung des Kusanreiches. (Wien, 1984).
Gupta, P. & T. Hardaker. Punchmarked Coinage of the Indian Subcontinent - Magadha-Mauryan Series. (Mumbai, 2014).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of Baktria and Ancient India...5th Century BC to First Century AD. HGC 12. (Lancaster, PA, 2013).
Kritt, B. Dynastic Transitions in the Coinage of Bactria: Antiochus-Diodotus-Euthydemus. CNS 4. (Lancaster, 2001).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 7: Cyprus to India. (New Jersey, 1982).
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Whitehead, R.B. Catalog of Coins in the Panjab Museum, Lahore, Vol. I: Indo-Greek Coins. (Oxford, 1914).

Catalog current as of Monday, February 18, 2019.
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Afghanistan to India