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Niksha Money of Vedic Period

Started by Abhay, December 03, 2011, 10:28:51 AM

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For the past sometime, the Auction Houses in India have been auctioning some old beads made of stone, and selling them as NIKSHA money, from the old Vedic periods.

Normally, these beads strings have been selling at about Rs. 4000-6000.

Can anyone throw more light on these so called NIKSHA money??

The images have been taken from one such catalogue from an auction house.



I have very little light for you. I have seen such beads listed by reputable dealers, but I don't know how to distinguish old beads from beads made today.

I also find the notion of beads money somewhat misleading. Coins were not invented one sunny day in April by a Chinese called Go Ping Ping or so :) It was an idea that grew gradually. When you are used to trading in kind, coins are just another commodity, just like shovels, knives or jewelry. Just like a shovel could be used as a knife, a knife could be used as a shovel and both could be used for trading, beads could be used to decorate clothes, a horse or a building and they could be used for trading. In several areas, almonds and cowry shells were used as money. Do you have an almond in your collection? I think it has just as much/little right to be there as beads. But how to distinguish a very old almond from a freshly produced almond? The question is a bit silly.

I am not saying you should (not) collect transitional money forms, just that to think of these beads as money and nothing else is not good practice.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


I'm curious to know what sort of certificates these auctions houses offer while selling such beads , NGS /PGS grading agencies would then grades such beads ?

Very vague subject for me atleast .

Cheers ;D
Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector's item.


Niksha is indeed a contovertial subject. S.K. Bhatt, in his book Nishka - The Rig Vedic Money, argues that "Niksha" were money or barter in the Vedic age. Other scholars place them about 1000 years later (c. 200BC - 200AD) and consider them primarily ornamental. In any case, Bhatt referred to small copper beads in the shape of tools, animals, flowers, etc. (see picture here).