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Ancient Indian Coin?

Started by roastedtoe, July 12, 2012, 11:56:43 PM

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There is certainly a hint of Islamic writing on this coin


This is rather the thorny problem with this artefact.  It points both east and west at once.  I would be inclined to the eastern origin as well, why I posted it up here to begin with (for the benefit of the amassed knowledge of such coins on this site), but given that no one, as yet, is able to give a definite identification (and don't read that the wrong way, I greatly appreciate all the help that has and is being given! :)), I keep the celtic possibility alive also, given their love of abstraction and the fact that unrecorded types are still being found.

And while there is only one side, it is a very well preserved side.  It would have to be a very obscure type indeed for such a well preserved side to be insufficient for an identification. 

As much as the other side not being heavily degraded by the time in the river would help immensely.  The other fact (when considering this side too) to bear in mind is that the degraded side may have been plain to begin with but centuries in the river, pressed into gravel and stones and sand by the pressure of all that water and tidal flow, may have done the job of providing what looks like the ghost of a design when there isn't actually one.

The search goes on.  As said already, and again, thanks for all the effort going into this!


Well I believe Saro is correct and secondly it is currently nothing in reality. A quick boil in a Gringotts mixture and then perhaps a treatment with a shoft bristle brass brush on the end of a battery powered Dremel would solve the mystery I think.


Yes, a blank copper disc would be no mystery at all! Lol

As much as I admire your robust attitude to solving the mystery...until identification is achieved it has to be considered a possible antiquity of a rare kind (perhaps) and me going hell for leather with chemicals and tools maybe judged as misdirected enthusiasm IF it eventually turns out as an ancient artefact...

There is just not enough to be gained from the degraded side to subject the object to such treatment by an unpractised hand such as mine.  I'm sure identification can be achieved with the good side, it's just an issue of patience. ;)

p.s. re-reading your suggested treatment I believe I may have missed some irony there. I hope it was intended! Lol


Well hell for leather is hardly what is being suggested. A correct soft brisltle brass brush with a battery Dremel will not hurt anything given the condition.

Me, I'd use electrolysis but then again I have a little experience with that and it takes a gentle hand with something like that in any case.,14584.msg100268.html#msg100268

I know it should have a before picture but that Byzantine overstrike was just a mass of green/blue and other things but it turned out okay. I have a few others around here that are better because they had a better core to work with.

Perhaps even ask bruce to see if he would arrange a favour and have it professionaly cleaned.

Then a mystery, probably, no more. I have a coin that is unique, so unique it is for all purposes worthless. No one knows what it is.


This is essentially now an ideological debate about the correct treatment of artefacts and coins, given how much detail is preserved on the good side and clearly visible.  I'm of the school of thought that until I know what it is, if it has enough detail to be identifiable (and this object most certainly does, once the right pair of eyes see it) than I'm not going to risk degrading it.  Clearly if it was just a lump of bronze disease and carnage it would be a different matter.

I'd rather an unsolved mystery, secure in the knowledge (through experience), that the answer will come, then risk damaging the object by indulging my personal need to know, as much as it is bugging the hell out of me. lol.

So maybe we can leave off the cleaning debate please, if you don't mind, as it's becoming a tangent and a distraction.  My decision not to follow your suggestion is not a personal slight, I just don't agree with you, but I'm happy for you to believe differently.


Well it's your call but I know what a 1000 digs would do and just as many museums.


Figleaf, our leader has this quote at the foot of every post.

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

A great statement.


If you are prepared to pay the postage I am prepared to pay the costs of having this coin/object professionaly cleaned and restored. The object will have to be sent to America.


Not completely sure, but I think you need a license for mudlarking on the Thames and that in turn means the item must be submitted to the institution indicated by the powers that be, in this case the museum of London. If the item is eventually returned to roastedtoe, he will be at liberty to send it abroad, if he wishes.

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


Well I rather think it will end the eternal discussion on what it is.


For what its worth,I showed a collegue of mine a picture of the "obverse" image/ inscription ,told him where it was found. I waited a split second and heard him utter that word...Persian. He said it looked like words over words with caligraphy to crazy to read. He said there is no doubt that its persian... 100%. At this point... I fear for my celtic position, although there are many uncalogued and unique types of just about every combination of metals.
"Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."

- Publius Syrius


Good of you to take the trouble. Persian is certainly a possibility, but it's hard to be certain if one side is unreadable and the other side invisible. I too believe that expert cleaning is one of the few ways, if not the only way forward (though I doubt it will yield much more information), but the bureaucratic demands must be observed. This puzzle is too good to lose it to hanky-panky. It's indeed not just what it is, but also where it was found. Fascinating.

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


Good morning (or good afternoon or good evening. lol)!

In the hand and to the eye there just doesn't seem to be much, if any, detail preserved on the degraded side.  Bear in mind also, all my ancient finds have been re-deposited by the river, after eroding out of their hiding spot for centuries, some come up in fantastic condition all round, others have one side heavily degraded by whatever material that surface has been pressed into for centuries.  Some also are deliberately damaged prior to offering (votive) and so on.  At this stage, I just don't believe there is enough to be gained to do anything to the degraded side, other than a bit of work with the soft cloth, as has been done.

I do search on the foreshore with a license and I think the powers that be would take a dim view of my shipping things off internationally out of little more than impatience, until I've followed the correct protocol.  Which is only fair, given how serious the international trade is in smuggled and stolen antiquities etc. 

So I'll wait for the Museum of London.  I've emailed them for an appointment.  I've not yet had a find with one bad and one good side that was mysterious that couldn't be identified by the good side in time.

It certainly does look like an eastern script and may well turn out to be so.  The problem is the components of the design can be found in so many different combinations all over the world in use by so many different cultures over time.  Tricky is what it is! lol.  I would not be surprised if it turns out to be a previously unrecorded type of celtic just as I would not be surprised if it turns out to be Persian or so on.

All that is required is patience...and to keep asking the question.

I certainly appreciate your continued efforts here!  Very much so! Thank you :)


With due doffing my cap to the great instituition that the Museum is I really thing we have more fire power here (or at our disposal) to give the best answer possible. I will run with Saro for a starter.

I am struggling to understand how a single find constitutes a hoard under the Treasure Act of the UK however perhaps, given that it is apparently not silver or gold (two constituting a hoard from memory), it was part of a larger find and we have not been informed.

As for smuggled antiquities etc, well how many antiquities do you need to keep a fair share of researchers engaged in employment and how many more do you need rotting in the bowels of museums and universities (personal view).

At the present time it is merely an object of conjecture and perhaps the conjecture should cease and await official findings. My offer is for the object to be cleaned by an expert of impecable background and knowledge and returned to the owner. I will debate anyone in any instituition on the matter.