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D.D. Kosambi

pp 81-85

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

  • D. D. KosambiAffiliated withFergusson College

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Abstract

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”.