India is a province which is known for its rich and ancient history which dates back to the Harappan civilization. Archaeologists have unearthed several kinds of seals at these sites. But there is no proof if these seals can be actually considered as ancient coins of India. Punch-marked coins can be considered as the first old Indian coins which were minted from 6th to 7th century BC. These were not circular but were rectangular in shape initially with typically designed punches on them. They were made of silver and had a specific weight and the coins denomination was equal to the intrinsic value of the silver content.
These ancient coins of India were majorly used for trade activities. Ancient coins of India can be classified in two main categories. The first category would be the ones that belong to the mahajanapadas or local states. These ancient coins of India generally bore depictions of natural elements like the sun, trees, animals etc.
The other category would be the ones issued by specific dynasties like the Indo-Greeks, the Saka-Pahlavas and the Kushans. They were issued from 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD. The Saka coinage was introduced by the Western Kshatrapas and comprise of the earliest dated historical coins of India.
Apart from these there was the Gupta coinage which had coins with the king on the obverse and a deity on the reverse. The legends on these ancient coins of India were in Brahmi. The earliest Gupta coins were minted during the reign of Samudragupta, Chandragupta II and Kumaragupta. Ancient coins of India also consist of various coins issued in South India. Apart from that, there were hoards of ancient foreign coins that have been discovered at various sites which confirm the fact that India was actively involved in trade with many countries.