Overview for Encyclopedia of Indian Coins (In 2 Volumes)
Coins form an important source of the history of ancient India; in fact, for certain periods, like those of the Indo-Greeks, the Saka-Pahlavas, and the Western Kshatrapas, monetary issues are almost the only source of our information. In the preface of his magnum opus, The Indo-Greeks, A K Narain very aptly remarks, ' For certain periods of Indian history the historian has toi be a numismatist'.
Several years back, the Numismatic Society of Indian launched an ambitious scheme of publishing corpuses of Indian coins, from the earliest times to the modern period, in ten volumes IV, that is A S Alterkar's The Coinage of the Gupta Empire (Varanasi, 1957), saw the light of day. A N Lahiri, in his individual capacity, published a Corpus of Indo-Greek Coins (Calcutta, 1965), Tribal coins were dealt with, first by K K Dasgupta, in his A Tribal History of Ancient India: A Numismatic Approach (Calcutta 1974) and, recently, by Devendra Handa, in Tribal Coins of Ancient India (New Delhi, 2007). R C Senior Produced the masterly work, Indo-Scythian Coins and History ( Lancaster, Pennsylvania, London 2001), in three volumes. However, a concise A-Z encyclopaedia of the coins of ancient Indian remains a desideratum. Hence, the present Encyclopaedia of Indian Coins.
An introduction, in the beginnings, deals with such aspects of ancient Indian numismatics, as the origin and antiquity of coinage in India, and the authority to issue coins. This is followed by A-Z encyclopaedia itself. An Appendix, 'More About Some Issuers and Devices', and a Select Bibliography are given the end.