South Asian Collection

Gold Sagitarius 1623. ANS 1916.192.34

Gold mohur, Agra (India), 1623. 1916.192.34 Sagitarius

The Society's South Asian collection includes the coins of the Indian subcontinent, of Southeast Asia as far as the Philippines, and certain ancient Central Asian coins. There are some 55,000 in all. The ANS collection of coins of the Indian subcontinent is one of the world's finest.

In the first decades of the 20th century, the collection grew rapidly under the enthusiastic and knowledgeable care of Edward T. Newell and Howland Wood. After World War II George C. Miles took responsibility for this area. For many years, from 1964 until 1985, Charles K. Panish looked after the South Asian coins as a volunteer, one day per week. His expertise and donations went particularly to develop the collection of Indian States coins, and the holdings of the Himalayan states: Tibet, Nepal, Assam and Ladakh.

At present there is no specialist curator of South Asian coins. Nevertheless work on the collection continues, particularly on the part of the current Curatorial Associate, Peter Donovan.

In the ancient field, the collection includes over a hundred examples of the early punch-marked silver coinage, and a large representation of Indian cast copper coins. Central Asian dynasties, including the Indo-Parthians, Sakas, Kushans, and Hephthalites, are included in the South Asian department. The Society probably has the world's best collection of Kushano-Sasanian coins, thanks to recent gifts from William F. Spengler and Martha Carter. The collection also includes a large representation of the glorious gold coinage of the Kushans and Guptas. Later Hindu dynasties are vastly represented in the collection.

For the Islamic period, the Society has large numbers of coins of the Sultans of Delhi, the Mughals, and their contemporaries. The Indian States coins (of the various Indian principalities in the 18th and 19th centuries) constitute an enormously rich series, and the Society also has hundreds of coins of the European colonial powers, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and, of course, England.

The Society's Southeast Asian collection includes coins from Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia (Vietnam, whose historical coinage was in the Chinese tradition, is in the East Asian department), as well as the island nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These holdings are very numerous and almost entirely ignored by scholars and collectors.

Inquiries about the South Asian collection should be directed to David Yoon.

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