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

Ancient Coins of Afghanistan to India

Kushan Empire, Shaka, c. 325 - 345 A.D.

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This coin has a Brahmi inscription "Shaka" in the right field, in the same place where Vasudeva II's coins read "Vasu." It is natural to suppose that perhaps Shaka was the name of the king who issued the coin. There is a mention of one "Devaputra Shahi Shahanshahi Shaka Murunda" in Samudragupta's famous Allahabad inscription, as one of the rulers who paid him homage. In this context, Shaka could be a title, it could refer to a tribe, or it could be a personal name. In any case, it seems to be related to the Shaka coins. Robert Göbl did not think Shaka was the name of a ruler; rather, he thought the coins were tribal issues, but Michael Mitchiner and many other authors do think Shaka was a king.
SH85122. Gold dinar, Göbl Kushan 585; cf. ANS Kushan 1671, Donum Burns 760 - 762, gVF, small hairline flan crack, scratch on reverse, weight 7.823 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, c. 325 - 345 A.D.; obverse Shaka standing left, sacrificing over altar, filleted staff in left hand, filleted trident to left, Brahmi bhi to right of altar, Brahmi sya below arm, Brahmi inscription Shaka outer right; reverse goddess Ardoxsho enthroned facing, diadem in right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm, tamgha upper left; $800.00 (€712.00) ON RESERVE

Lot of 10 Nice Indo-Greek and Local Imitative Bronze Coins

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LT85097. Bronze Lot, Lot of 10 nice Indo-Greek and local imitative bronze coins, nice coins, 13 - 23mm, unattributed, no tags or flips, the actual coin in the photograph; as-is, no returns; $350.00 (€311.50)

Indo-Greek Kingdom, Menander I Soter, c. 155 - 130 B.C.

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Menander is the most important Greek king who ruled in India and the only Greek king mentioned in Indian literature. Tradition maintains he was a wise and powerful King, who converted to Buddhism. This is further evidenced by his later coin legends which translate, "follower of the Dharma."
WA79645. Silver drachm, SNG ANS 879, Mitchiner IGIS 218c, Bopearachchi Smithsonian 124, Bopearachchi 16I, HGC 12 193, SNG Cop -, gVF, attractive style, toned, reverse off center, light marks, weight 2.451 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Paropamisadai or Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 155 - 130 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ MENAN∆POY, draped bust right, wearing diadem and crested helmet ornamented with bull's horn and ear; reverse Kharosthi legend: Maharajasa Tratarasa Menadrasa (of Great King Menander the Savior), Athena Alkidemos standing left, brandishing thunderbolt in right hand, shield on left arm, Kharosthi monogram right; $160.00 (€142.40)

Baktrian Kingdom, Euthydemos I Theos Megas, c. 225 - 195 B.C.

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Euthydemus was allegedly a native of Magnesia and a son of General Apollodotus. According to Polybius, Euthydemus was a Satrap of Sogdiana who ousted the dynasty of Diodotus from Bactria and made himself king. His kingdom seems to have been substantial, including Sogdiana to the north, and Margiana and Ariana to the south or east of Bactria. When Antiochus III the Great attacked in 208 B.C., Euthydemus lost the Battle of the Arius but then resisted a three-year siege in the fortified city of Bactra. Euthydemus negotiated peace asserting that he toppled the descendants of the rebel Diodotus and provided a barrier to barbarian invasions. Antiochus decided to recognize him as king, and offered one of his daughters to Euthydemus' son Demetrius.
AW73959. Bronze double unit, Kritt Dynastic AK-1, Bopearachchi series 17, SNG ANS 147, Mitchiner IGIS 87, SGCV II 7523, HGC 12 53 (R1), F, thick flan with beveled edge, corrosion, weight 7.245 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 45o, Ai Khanoum mint, c. 225 - 208/6 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right; reverse horse prancing right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ above, EYΘY∆HMOY below; scarce; $120.00 (€106.80)

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

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Kanishka I the Great ruled an empire in Bactria extending from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain, c. 127 - 150 A.D., with his capital at Purusapura in Gandhara. He is famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements. His conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China.
AW84802. Bronze tetradrachm, Göbl Kushan 768, Mitchiner ACW 3077, BMC India 46, Whitehead Panjab 68, aVF, thick tight flan, some, weight 17.632 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 315o, Purusapura(?) mint, c. 128 - 150 A.D.; obverse Bactrian legend: PAO KA-NhPW (King Kanishka), king standing half left, diademed head left, sacrificing at altar at feet on left, long scepter vertical in left hand; reverse sun god Mithra standing left, radiate nimbus around head, raising right hand commanding sunrise, left hand on sword hilt at side, tamgha left, Bactrian legend: MIIRO curving downward on right; scarce; $80.00 (€71.20)

Indo-Scythian Kingdom, Azes II, c. 35 B.C. - c. 5 A.D.

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Azes II may have been the last Indo-Scythian king in the northern Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan). Indo-Scythian rule crumbled under the conquests of the Kushans who expanded into India to create the Kushan Empire. Senior and Hoover now believe Azes II did not exist and attribute all Azes coins to Azes I or as posthumous imitative issues. A type attributed to Azes I has been found overstruck on a coin traditionally attributed to Azes II, supporting their hypothesis.
BB75464. Silver drachm, cf. Senior 105.223D, Fröhlich 222, cf. Mitchiner IGIS 859 (various controls), HGC 12 655, gF, toned, tight flan, porous, weight 1.857 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 270o, Mir Zakah(?) mint, obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZOY, king on horseback riding right, whip in right hand, Kharosthi monogram (control) right; reverse Kharosthi legend: maharajasa rajatirajasa mahatasa Ayasa, Zeus standing left, Nike extended in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, Kharosthi monogram (control) left, B over Kharosthi letter Vi (control) right; $27.00 (€24.03)

Indo-Scythians, Kushanas Yuezhi in Hindu Kush and Gandhara, c. 55 - 45 B.C., Imitative of Hermaios

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Hermaios, the last Indo-Greek king, ruled in the Hindu-Kush region, from Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afganistan), c. 105 - 90 B.C. His prosperous rule ended when the Scythian Kushanas Yuezhi invaded from neighboring Bactria. With his defeat, the isolated area of Greek domination in the east, which had lasted three centuries since the invasion of Alexander the Great, came to an end. The new rulers widely copied Hermaios coinage for many decades, in an increasingly debased and barbarized form.
BB75430. Silver drachm, Senior Hermaios 39aD.2/2q, Bopearachchi series 19, Mitchiner IGIS III 420i, HGC 12 307 (R1), aF, toned, tight flan, marks, corrosion, weight 1.647 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 0o, eastern Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 55 - 45 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ (clockwise above), EPMAIOY (counterclockwise below), diademed and draped bust of Hermaios right, flowing diadem ties, dotted hair; reverse Kharosthi legend: Maharaajasa tratarasa Heramayasa (of Great King Hermaios the Savior), Zeus enthroned half left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, legs apart, right hand raised in benediction, scepter in left hand, Kharosthi monogram left, Greek N(?) over Karosthi letter To(?) right of throne; rare; $2.99 (€2.66)



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Bopearachchi, O. Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian Coins in the Smithsonian Institution. (Washington D.C., 1993).
Bopearachchi, O. Monnaies Gréco-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).
Fröhlich, C. Monnaies indo-scythes et indo-parthes, Catalogue raisonné Bibliothčque nationale de France. (Paris, 2008).
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Göbl, R. Münzprägung 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).
Lahiri, A.N. Corpus of Indo-Greek Coins. (Calcutta, 1965).
Mitchiner, M. Ancient Trade and Early Coinage. (London, 2004).
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Senior, R. Indo-Scythian Coins and History. 3 Vols. (London, 2001).
Senior, R. The Coinage of Hermaios and its imitations struck by the Scythians. CNS 3. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 7: Cyprus to India. (New Jersey, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 9: Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Coins. (New York, 1998).
Whitehead, R.B. Catalog of Coins in the Panjab Museum, Lahore, Vol. I: Indo-Greek Coins. (Oxford, 1914).

Catalog current as of Monday, May 29, 2017.
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Afghanistan to India