Author Topic: Ancient Indian Coin?  (Read 13257 times)

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Offline roastedtoe

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Ancient Indian Coin?
« on: July 12, 2012, 11:56:43 PM »
Hello all!

I have just joined the website because it was mentioned on another site as a good place to go for expertise on Indian coins.  I have a mystery coin that has been suggested to me is Indian of some age, but I can not identify it and I hope you can help me please!

As you will see one side has very good detail and the other is very damaged and worn.  But the good side should be enough for an ID I believe.





A picture taken the moment I found it!



For background, the coin was found last week by myself in the Thames foreshore in London while metal detecting.  I do find exotic coins in the mud of the river from time to time and I can normally always identify them, but this coin is an absolute puzzle.

It's dimensions are 18mmx13mmx4mm, the weight is 8.2grams and the material almost certainly a copper alloy.  It is a very dense coin with weight in the hand.

I hope you can help me.  If you can't I still appreciate the chance to post here and ask for help!

Many thanks! :)

akona20

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 11:06:02 PM »
To the top.

Any one recognise this at all? I certainly don't.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 12:07:12 AM »
I'll stick my neck out. It looks to me like a smaller denomination in the same series as this coin.

Take a chop...

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

Offline roastedtoe

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 12:31:33 AM »
Hi :)

I won't chop.  I appreciate the interest and effort!  Thank you!

I think it's sufficiently different though to maybe not be a relative of the mentioned coin.  It's certainly still very possible that it's an Indian coin or in the series you mention (I want to be proved wrong here! lol), it does look like an eastern script and the weight seems more likely to be a sub-continent coin (as a rule any European coins of that sort of weight are normally gold staters and the like). 

But I'm not sure now (which of course is why I came here to begin with! lol).  I'm starting to wonder if it's maybe a celtic artefact again.  I've posted it on a few websites that deal with Indian coins and no one has definitely put an ID on it (of course that holds for celtic too).  The celts sometimes got very carried away with abstraction and disjointed designs.

I've emailed the find's liason people at the Museum of London about it but they're all out on a summer dig (given the classic British summer we're having...stuck in the mud and swearing would be more like it than digging, lol.)  Might have to wait for them to get back into the office to get an identification.

Mystery...

Thanks again!

Offline Oesho

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 03:26:47 PM »
I looked at it from all angles, but in vain, no suggestion for its attribution. Even the lettering is puzzling. It could be Arabic/Persian, but the legend is slightly defaced, but even then there appears no sensible inscription. Nevertheless it is not unlikely that the coin has come all the way from India and got lost in the Thames.
The slash, with dots on both sides, should be an identifying mark.
A symbol which appears on some copper coins of Jawad (Gwalior State) show such a stroke, but is flanked by a crescent on both sides (sometimes also with a star added on one side). See for example KM#109. The weight is also comparable with the issues of Jawad. However, I have not come across any similar coin in the series of Jawad, but its provenance may be of that area. Perhaps a Kachcha coin of Malwa? It are all suggestions, but we may be just fooled around particular as the other side of the coin is completely defaced and provides as yet no help in attribution.

Offline saro

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 03:39:16 PM »
Please, have a look on this coin from Zanzibar / Kilwa.
The coins of muslim rulers of Kilwa are degenerated copies of Ilkhan coins and may we can read here " Ishak..." for Ishak ibn Hasan (XIV°c. AD)
(The first scan needs then to be rotated 180°)
"All I know is that I know nothing" (Socrates)

Offline Oesho

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 04:55:19 PM »
Dear Saro, They weight of the coins of the Sultans of Kilwa and Zanzibar are of much lower weight (about 2 grams) as the coin concerned.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 06:25:54 PM »
Roastedtoe, are you sure of the weight, or do you get such big hands for digging around in Thames mud?) :)

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

Offline roastedtoe

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 07:04:44 PM »
Hi all :)

Thanks for the burst of interest in this coin! 

It's a teaser this one. lol.  I am sure of the weight too, I have checked it several times on my scale.  It is a very dense coin.  I considered whether or not it was red gold for a while because of the weight in the hand and the celts sometimes alloyed copper and gold. 

Also, every now and then I do find modern gold wedding bands in the Thames foreshore and the alloys can go very strange colours in the chemical soup of the river.  Those you can vigorously and easily polish back up but with an artefact such as this I'm not going to get out the Brasso! lol

Please keep suggesting different Indian coins it could be.  Each post brings me closer to knowing what this coin is, even if it isn't Indian.  I have considered also that it may not be a coin.  But I can't find any gaming pieces, strap ends, mounts and so on that are like it either, so I'm sticking with coin for the moment.

Thanks again for the interest!  I appreciate it! :)

p.s. Figleaf...my hands get very big some days in the mud...it's getting the mud off them that's the issue. lol.

Offline saro

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 07:50:56 PM »
18x13x4 mm and 8,2g gives a specific weight of 8,76 kg/dm3
Cu : 8,9 / Ag : 10,5 / Au : 19,5
So we are authorized to think that this coin is made of copper ..
"All I know is that I know nothing" (Socrates)

Offline roastedtoe

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 07:55:31 PM »
Excellent Saro!

I had thought about that little equation to solve the "what is this material?" problem, but those particular classes at school were so many decades ago and so far buried in my mind that I couldn't personally perform the equation.  It's very nice to see the work of someone who can.  Thank you :)

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 08:33:29 PM »
I am pretty sure the writing is Arabic and the piece is not Celtic. I am not at all sure that it is a coin, but it could be.

What I find unusual is the circle around the text, which is smaller than the copper planchet. Usually, such edge decorations are larger than the planchet. Another thing that is unusual is that numismatic giants such as Oesho and saro have no good answer, while Ansari says he doesn't recognize the letters. The third thing that I find unusual is the other side, so much more worn, in particular the "ditch" in the copper. The fourth thing that is unusual is finding it on the banks of the Thames.

Thinking aloud, what if this is not a coin? Could there have been an axle in the opening at the back? Could the back have worn because it moved against something hard? Copper is not a good metal for decoration, so what if it is part of a tool? Why the Arabic in the circle?

Some ideas. This may be part of a tool for "signing", or ownership, which would explain the complete circle (security). It may have been worn on a thin ring and it was torn off. Since the text is in Arabic and it was found on the Thames it may have a connection with the slave trade, cotton, textile or coffee.

Another avenue. Textile. In 15th to 17th century (maybe also earlier and later) Western European countries, standardised rolls were marked with a lead seal, to show that taxes had been paid or the length was correct or both. Was this an African variant in copper? Or was it attached to a bale as proof of ownership at unloading, just like Europeans did. In both cases, the gash in the copper may have been where the textile was.

The above is speculation and I doubt we'll get much further with this if we can't read the text. One thing you could do is take it to the British Museum. Having the piece in hand may make a difference.

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

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 09:18:33 PM »
When you think of all the Merchant ships coming to London from all over the world for the last few hundred years it's not surprising to find oriental coins & artifacts,more so in the old docklands areas. Is that bits of Nagari lettering on the worn side at the top?
Vic

Offline roastedtoe

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 09:32:15 PM »
It may indeed prove to not be a coin.  I have looked at lots of different options in terms of gaming pieces and mounts and so on.  You're right also that it maybe the top part of a ring or something decorative to be worn, but it would be a very heavy ring.  I have wondered if it's a seal.  As if, maybe the image isn't the raised portions but the sunken ones, but couldn't make much sense of that.  I don't think it's a commercial seal, at least not a British one.  I have a fair collection of lead cloth bale seals found in the Thames foreshore from Tudor onwards and they are vary recognisable.

It's certainly possible it is exotic to the UK and in the Thames.  Trading routes all over the world go back thousands of years and as mentioned the merchant and naval activity of previous centuries.  I've a Venetian coin from the 1600's and so too Dutch Colonial New York other others from hundreds of years past that found their way into the Thames. 

The script or illustration is a nagger.  I looks familiar to me.  But as it seems to have everyone stumped (not only here, lol!).  I may have to wait till the finds liason folk get out of the muddy fields and back into the Museum of London to have the mystery solved...

I do appreciate the continued input.  It is great to get support when plagued by a mystery! ha! :)

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ancient Indian Coin?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 11:54:08 PM »
It may indeed prove to not be a coin.  I have looked at lots of different options in terms of gaming pieces and mounts and so on.  You're right also that it maybe the top part of a ring or something decorative to be worn, but it would be a very heavy ring.

I didn't mean a ring for a finger, but rather a ring to attach to a belt or a chain or just to hold in your hand, like an oversized key ring. Being copper, I don't believe it is decorative.

I have wondered if it's a seal.  As if, maybe the image isn't the raised portions but the sunken ones, but couldn't make much sense of that.  I don't think it's a commercial seal, at least not a British one.  I have a fair collection of lead cloth bale seals found in the Thames foreshore from Tudor onwards and they are vary recognisable.

Yes, the seals are lead and it wouldn't be a European seal, but why couldn't it be something made in Africa, the Middle East or India that imitates those European seals?

Dutch Colonial New York

If that's a coin, it has been misidentified. Post it on this site and we'll tell you all about it.

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