When buying collectible Indian coins, there is a huge variety and a long, complex history for buyers to consider. The ways to focus an Indian coin collection are as seemingly endless as the states, sultanates, presidencies, and various other coin-issuing authorities that have risen and fallen on the Indian subcontinent over the centuries. The coinage history of India overlaps, at various points, the coinage histories of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Burma/Myanmar — even lands as far away as Yemen (not to mention England).
The earliest Indian coins are the “punch-marked” coins, made of silver and sometimes in non-traditional shapes, that were created sometime before 500 BC. Following these coins, many other ancient cultures, including the Janapadas, the extensive Maurya and Kushan Empires, the Kshatrapas and the Yaudheya all issued some beautiful, collectible, and (fortunately) often-seen-for-sale coins. Many coins in Indian numismatic history were made with gold, including a few from the later Chola Dynasty.
The rise of the mighty Gupta Empire also saw a new selection of coins created around the fourth century AD. The Kalachuri Empire and the various Rajput clans each used their own coins at roughly the same time, from the 6th century to the 13th. The latter part of this time saw coins from the Yadava Dynasty.
Muslim leaders took over large parts of the subcontinent beginning around the early 1200s; the Delhi Sultanate, the Bengal Sultanate, the Jaunpur Sultanate, the Malwa Sultanate, and the Gujarat Sultanate all issued their own coins, and all of them can be found in the marketplace today. The Vijayanagar Empire, which outlasted the era of the sultan, issued coins.
The powerful and long-lasting Mughal Empire ruled India for about three hundred years, issuing a widely collected and beloved selection of coins. Dozens and dozens of Princely States continued to use their own coins during these years as well; this comparatively short part of India’s history can create a life-long collectible coin hobby, so numerous are the coins available.
When Britain took over India, in the 1600s, there were at first three main areas for which coins were available: the Bengal Presidency, the Bombay Presidency, and the Madras Presidency. Britain had always wanted to issue its own coins for India, and beginning with King William IV (r. 1830-7) it did so. Many collectors concentrate on buying these British India coins.
Queen Victoria had several coins issued for India until the end of her reign in 1901. Successive British kings each had the title Emperor of India: Edward VII (r. 1901-10); George V (r. 1910-36); Edward VIII (r. 1936); and finally George VI (r. 1936-47).
India gained independence from Britain in 1947, and issued its own coins from 1950. The main unit was rupees, at first divided into annas, pice, and pies. In 1957, the rupee was decimalized, divided into 100 naye paise (until 1964) and then 100 paise (after 1964).
See our extensive subcategories in this section to find specific types of coins for your collection. Good luck and have fun hunting the marketplace for great Indian collectible coins for sale!
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