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H 210 x W 297 mm

604 pages

172 figures, 30 tables, 9 charts, 6 maps (colour throughout)

Published Jul 2024

Archaeopress Archaeology


Hardback: 9781803277950

Digital: 9781803277967

DOI 10.32028/9781803277950

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Gupta Empire; Gupta Dynasty; Numismatics; Coins; Ancient India; History of India; Religions of India; Chandragupta; India; South Asia; Catalogue

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Treasures of the Gupta Empire

A Numismatic History of the Golden Age of India

By Sanjeev Kumar

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A reference for history enthusiasts, scholars and collectors alike, this book offers a comprehensive guide to Gupta Dynasty numismatics. The 2nd edition sees all known Gupta coin issues documented, with updated classifications and notes on their rarity. A revised chronology is presented, using data from coins, inscriptions, seals and copper plates.



Foreword to the Second Edition (K. K. Thaplyal)

Foreword to the First Edition (B. R. Mani)

Foreword to the First Edition (Joe Cribb)

Author’s Note to the Second Edition



Numismatic Terms


Part One: A Numismatic History of the Gupta Empire

1. The Gupta Dynasty

2. Evolution of the Design Elements of Gupta Coinage

3. The Question of a Standard vs. a Javelin vs. a Rājadaṇḍa

4. Historical Trade Routes Crisscrossing Ancient India

5. Inscriptions and Dates

6. Metrology of Gupta Era Coinage

Part Two: A Numismatic Catalogue of Gupta Era Coin Types

Classification System


7. Śrīgupta

8. Ghaṭotkacha

9. Chandragupta I

10. Samudragupta I

11. Rāmagupta-Kāchagupta: The Forgotten King

12. Chandragupta II

13. Kumāragupta I

14. Purugupta: Succession after Kumāragupta I

15. Ghaṭotkachagupta

16. Skandagupta

17. Gupta Kings after Skandagupta

18. Later Kings of Māgadha and Bengal


Appendix I: Tamghās: Monograms or Guild Symbols

Appendix II: List of Brāhmī Letters and Numbers

Appendix III: List of Brāhmī Legends




About the Author

Mr Sanjeev Kumar is Chairman of the Shivlee Trust, a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, and an esteemed independent researcher and numismatist, who has devoted his life to studying Gupta Dynasty history and numismatics. He is regarded as one of the leading authorities and researchers on Gupta Dynasty coinage.

Kumar’s fascination with Gupta coinage began when he was a young boy growing up in India. Lured by the tales of the Gupta kings, the legendary Vikramādityaḥ, their exploits and treasures, led him to a lifelong pursuit of these golden monuments to India’s Golden Age and what they could reveal about its history and culture. The fruits of this labour will help all to fully appreciate the beauty of Ancient India.

The first edition of Treasures of the Gupta Empire was released at the National Museum in Delhi by the Minister of Culture for India, Dr Mahesh Sharma along with the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, National Museum Delhi, and the Archaeological Society of India.


'Sanjeev Kumar’s Treasures of the Gupta Empire is the first attempt at a comprehensive type catalogue of Gupta coins for fifty years. Implicitly, it is a replacement for Allan and Altekar both in content (with a lot of new material in the last half century) and in terms of organization (also supported by a great deal of new scholarship).


'As a comprehensive reference on the gold coinage of the Guptas it is no doubt a huge contribution … The enlarged images, relative ease of use, and comprehensive nature, will likely ensure the volume supplants any of its predecessors as the catalogue of choice … [Overall], this is a volume that I would recommend as a standard reference to anyone with an interest in Gupta coinage.' – Robert Bracey (2017) Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society