Incredible Facts About Indian Coins
- December 26, 2020
- By Arun Ramamurthy
Indian coins have a rich history. For its artistic merit, its variety spanning across diverse regions, for its beautiful symbolism and for the legacy it has left on subsequent coinages across various parts of the world, Indian currency ranks as one of the great coinages of the world! Here are 7 incredible facts about Indian coins that are sure to make us proud of our coin heritage.
1. Indian coins are more than 2500 years old. Even the Vedas make a mention of gold coins in the form of 'Nishkas' and 'Suvarnas'. India is thus home to some of the oldest coins in the world. The 'Suvarna' was the weight in gold of a full grown cow !
2. India's coins were among the first to feature queens as early as the 2nd century BCE. Over time, many Indian coins featured queens and Goddesses. In fact, Razia Sultana was the first Muslim queen, anywhere in the world to be featured on a coin minted in Delhi way back in the 13th century !
3. Our coins are a rich source of Indian history. Large hoards of coins have been found across the country at various sites. Indeed, a large part of Indian history such as that of the Indo-Greeks, the Hunas and Guptas has been reconstructed using information obtained from coins.
4. Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor minted gigantic gold coins with a diameter of 21 cm. These coins weighed about 12 kg and were gifted to visiting foreign dignitaries. In a private auction in Europe, one such gigantic 'Mohur' was sold for a whopping 10 million dollars!
5. The 'fanam' was a small coin used in south India between the 9th and 19th centuries. These small gold coins weighed as little as 0.3 grams and had a diameter of less than a centimetre. India was thus home to some of the largest and smallest gold coins in the world !
6. India's coinage is remarkable for its sheer diversity. Mohurs, Rupees, Koris, Hons, Pagodas, Fanams, Kasu, Larins, Jitals, Cruzados, Pounds Sterling are just a few of the myriad denominations prevalent in various parts of the country and sometimes they were even used concurrently in the same regions !
7. The word 'rupee' is derived from the Sanskrit term 'rupya' which means 'wrought silver, a coin of silver'. The Rupee was formally introduced as a currency by Sher Sah Suri in the 16th century. Since then, the Rupee has retained its position as India's currency of choice. In fact, the rupee is the common name for the currencies of many other countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Bhutan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.