A Statistical Study of the Weights of Old Indian Punch-Marked Coins

  • D. D. Kosambi


This paper marks the beginning of DDK’s foray into numismatics. As Kosambi’s biographer states [DDK-JK], “Coins, being means of financial transaction, are true indicators of the kind of regime the kings of those specific periods ruled with. Kosambi tried to glean historically important information by studying them and was successful to a large extent. He collected hundreds of ancient coins cleaned them very carefully and weighed each of them accurately on the sensitive balance in the chemical laboratory of the Fergusson College. He then noted the minute differences in their weights due to usage and drew their graphs. Applying statistical tests to this data he successfully drew conclusions regarding the exchange rate, the period when the coins were cast, etc., that could stand up to scientific tests. These graphs and the punch-marks of the mint and the traders’ guilds impressed on the coins helped him draw inferences about the state of affairs of that land, in that specific period”.


Specific Period Financial Transaction True Indicator Minute Difference Sensitive Balance 
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  1. 1.
    Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, New Series (1934), 30, Numismatic Number.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Memoirs of the Archeological Survey of India (1939), No. 59.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Catalogue of Indian Coins in the British Museum (Ancient India, 1930).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid., Andhras, W. Kṣatrapas (1908), p. clxxvii et sec.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A.S. Hemmy, J. R. Asiatic Soc. (1937), pp. 1–26 must be dismissed as mere trifling with an important subject.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    One coin in the 3-mark round lot should also have been so omitted, bringing the mean to 52\(\cdot \)20, which would have fitted much better.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer (India) Pvt. Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. D. Kosambi
    • 1
  1. 1.Fergusson CollegePoonaIndia

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