As an artist and designer, I find American money very boring compared to that of the rest of the world. Instead I am particularly drawn to ancient coins. It is intriguing to think about the lives and situations where this currency has passed.
Recently I have discovered Mauryan punch marked coins, where the artisan's hand can still be seen. The Mauryan Empire was one of the largest empires to rule the Indian subcontinent and their economy was comparable to the Roman Empire several centuries later since both had extensive trade connections. Jainism was the Mauryas' ancestral religion. These particular coins are from the King Samprati Dynasty around 216-207 BC.
Mauryan coins were irregular in shape made by cutting up silver bars and then making the correct weight by cutting the edges of the coin. I like the imperfection of the shapes.
These coins were patterned with tools known as punches that carried the particular designs, which included the commonly used sun and six-armed symbols, and various patterns such as circles, wheels, human figures, animals, bows and arrows, hills and trees, etc. The punch was placed over the silver, and a hammer was used to deliver the blow to make the particular indention. I use letter punches in making words in in my silver jewelry.
On the right you can see the back stamp punch mark on the coin that showed its authenticity.
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