MONEY COURIE (Cypraea Moneta)  

Found in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, this shell was the first form of currency, first appeared in the Bronze Age, around 2,000 B.C. In the 9th and 10th centuries, it was traded by Arab merchants for gold and ivory along the east coast of Africa and later by Europeans until the late 19th century.

In India the courie was important currency and even large transactions like the building of a property were paid in millions of couries.

At one time they were part of the global economy as mutually agreed upon currency.


The first urbanization was taken place during the Indus Valley phase & some urban centers came into existence. The surplus production of raw material & finished goods, led to Barter System. The huge granaries found in the cities of Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro were replenished by the system of State tribute & served the purpose of modern State Bank. A large number of stone weights following a weight system, unit of which was 13 grains have been discovered which are multiples of 2, 4, 8, 10 etc. of this unit.

The bronze/copper seals bearing different motifs and animal figurines are under debate since long. These seals carry a pictographic script which is still enigmatic and undecipherable. Some archeologists argue about their motive and are of the view that they were used as currency.

These intricately carved seals are usually square to rectangular, 2-3 centimeters on sides, differ in sizes. These seals depict animals, mostly Indus script. These seals could potentially be one way of marking the property and monitoring the movement of assets between owner and entities.

This silver seal with unicorn motif is one of two found at Mohenjodaro

Copper/Brinze Seals bearing animal motifs & script were used as money in Indus valley


Panini, Sanskrit grammarian (500 BCE), mentions that concept of coinage in India existed much earlier than 500 BCE. He mentions Satamanas (Sata = 100, manas = unit) & karshapana (sub fraction). Each unit was called “Ratti” weighing 0.11 grams. Ratti was average weight of Gunja Seed (a bright red seed with black tip).

1 Satamana = 100 Rattis / 11 grams of pure silver
1 Karshapana = 32 Rattis/ 3.3 grams of pure silver
½ Karshapana = 16 Rattis
¼ Karshapana = 8 Rattis
1/8 Karshapana = 4 Rattis




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