Click on image to view the variations.

          A nomadic tribe, known to Chinese as Yueh-chi, left their homeland on the Chinese frontier eary in the second century BC and arrived in the Oxus region and settled at Bactria. After having dwelt there for about a century, a prince of the Kue-shaung (Kushana) branch of the Yueh-chi invaded Parthia or the parts of the Indo-Parthian realm in Afghanistan, occupied central Afghanistan, Gandhara and the lower Swat valley. His successors spread their rule in th regions of northern India. The Kushanas occupied the land upto Varanasi, Bihar and Gangetic Delta in Bengal in the east and had extended considerably beyond the Indian frontriers in the west. They had, thus, built a great empire lasted more than two centuries.

          The eariest Indian Kushana coins are those which were issue by Kujula Kadphises in copper. Kujula's successor Wima Kadphises who introduced the first gold coins of India for circulation. Most of the gold for Kushan coins is thought to have come from the Silk Road trade, which saw a flow of Roman gold Aurei to Central Asia and India to buy luxuary goods. The Roman Gold Coins were then melted down and restruct with Kushan type. The Kushans were a multi-cultural society, incorporating much of the cultures they ruled into their own. Early Kushan coins used Greek legends on the obverse, along with a translation in the local Karoshthi script on the reverse. Begining with Kanishka I, however the Kushan language, written in an adaptation of the Greek alphabet with some local alterations, was used almost exclusively. The Kushans also began to adopte Indian culture elements, embracing a wide variety of local Indian, Persian and central Asian deities, they assimilated them with Greco-Roman type already prevalent in the region. Overall, the Kushans pantheon represented a religious and artistic of western and eastern elements.

          Wima Kadphises' successor was Kanishka I, who, like his predecessor, issueed coins only in gold and copper. Kanishka I introduced the figure of Buddha with the legend BODDO (Buddha) in gold and SAKAMANO BODDO (Sakyamuni Buddha) in copper. The next ruler Huvishka introduced so many deities on his gold coins, Zoroastrian, Greek. With Kanishka II the Kushana dynasty appears to an end.

          The area flourished under the Kushans and their greatest emperor, Kanishka I, who is traditionally given credit for further spreading the philosophies of Buddhism throughout Central Asia into China. This period is views as one of the most important era in the history of Buddhism.

          Undoubtedly all the Kushana emperors use their coinage for the propaganda of their own superiority and the possession of superhuman abilities. The concept of showing king on the coins was non-existant in India and all the previous dynasties minted coins showing only the symbols. It was the Kushan rulers who popularised this idea which remained in use for another thousand years. Kushan coinage were copied not only by later indian dynasties like Guptas, but also by the neighbouring kings like Sasanians (of Persia).




The following article from NGC
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Deceptive Countefeit: The Electrotype | NGC

Posted on 5/1/2007

Skip Fazzari explains how to spot the insidious electrotype counterfeit coin.

Skip Fazzari, NCS Authenticator and Senior Conservator


One of the most difficult types of counterfeit coins to detect with the naked eye is the electrotype. Since some of these fakes can look quite good even under low magnification, it is important to be diligent. Once you have been fooled by one of these coins, in addition to a close microscopic exmination, you may want to start checking the weight and specific gravity of your important coins.

An electrotype is a copy of a coin made using a process similar to electroplating. Usally, the counterfeiter makes a copy of the genuine coin that he can work with so as not to ruin the original. There are several ways to do this. While modern fakes probably use spark erosion techniques to make their models, most electrotypes we see at the grading services were produced many years ago when a simple wax impression of a genuine coin was sufficient as a starting point. The wax model is coated with a metallic powders such as graphite or copper and then it is electroplated. This process allows a thin layer of metal to be built up on the surface of the model. When the coating becomes thick enough, it's separated from the wax form leaving a hallow shell bearing the details of one side of the original coin. A second shell is made of the coin's other side in the same way. Finally the two halves are joined together and the hallow center is filled with metal to give the electrotype the "feel" of a solid coin.

Most of the electrotypes I have encountered over the years have been copper coins, chiefly Large cents, Half cents, and Colonials. In some instances, the base metal interior of an electrotype can be seen as its outer shell becomes worn. This is one instance that detecting electrotype fake can be done with the naked eye but your findings should be confirmed by other tests because toning, especially on silver coins, can mimic this effect. Usually, collectors and dealers who have access to a balance may confirm that a coin is an electrotype by taking its weight and specific gravity, which are offen out of tolerance to that of a genuine coin. But here again, there are rare exemptions to this, so be careful and have important coin check by NGC.

There are several other diagnostics to look for if you suspect that a coin may be an electrotype. Perhaps the first thing to look for is evidence of a seam around the edge of the coin where the two halves were joined together. This will usally appear as a very thin, dark line running through the center of the edge. The micrograph show such a seam. In some cases, the faker will try to eradicate this seam or at least make it less noticeable by filing or burnishing its edge. When a model is produced from the original coin, a wax impression in the example above, some of the sharp detail of the coin is lost during the transfer process. This may give the relief of an electrotype, especially its legend and date, a rounded, bloated look when compared to that of a genuine coin. Additionally, any defects that were created in the mold during the transfer process to make the electrotype and any contact marks or scratches on the original coin used as a model may appear on the fake if not "touch-up" by the faker.

This article previously featured in Numismatic News.