Art Mint’s look at ‘7 Groundbreaking Ancient Civilisations’ continues with a journey to the Indus Valley cultures

In November last year, Art Mint debuted a superb new coin showcasing the ancient Mesopotamian Sumerian civilisation, the first in a series of seven silver coins depicting some of the great cultures that pushed human society forwards. The second in the series is now available, and we’ve left the Middle East and journeyed to the Indus Valley, another cradle of human development.

Starting around 3,300 BCE, the agrarian groups in this region started to coalesce into ever larger urban centres, especially in Harappa, and in Mohenjo-Daro, the former growing to around 25,000 inhabitants, and the latter perhaps 40,000. They prized uniformity, building their cities on a grid system, and using standard construction materials, employing standardised weights and measures. The civilisation went into decline, and by 1700-1400 BCE, was functionally gone, with the cities abandoned. In its time, it was thought to be warlike, but traded as far afield as Mesopotamia. Their language system remains undeciphered.

(image above courtesy Mustafa Ahmad Malik under Wikipedia Commons and edited)

The reverse face bears a similar style to the Sumerian coin. There are representations of ornate columns to the left and right, behind which is a coloured tile pattern from that culture. The centre has a vertical band featuring characters from the Indus alphabet. The main element is a view of the famous ‘Priest-King’ statue, uncovered in Mohenjo-daro in 1925. This 17.5 cm tall soapstone (steatite) statue depicts a neatly bearded man, showing some damage. He has a band around the head, and around the arm, and wears a patterned cloak. The original resides in the National Museum of Pakistan, and dates to around 2000 BCE. As one of the most famous examples of Indus Valley artwork, it’s a fine choice as the focal point of the coin, and the high-relief gives it added prominence.

The common obverse returns. The coin is issued for Cameroon, so that African nation’s coat-of-arms
sits in the centre, along with the issue inscriptions, and around
are seven concentric rings of script, with the Indus Valley letters in the second ring. The next ring features Egyptian hieroglyphics, so we’re expecting that next. It’s all antique-finished.

Another superb coin, we’re impressed with the basic design of this series, and the elements chosen for each one have been top-notch to date. We saw this one in Berlin back in late January, as well as the stunning Sumerian coin, and they’re every bit as good as you can see in the images. The presentation is excellent, and with a mintage of just 300 pieces (serial number engraved on the coin edge), a very appealing package. Available to order now.


2,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) 62.2 g of 0.999 silver 50.0 mm Antique, Colour 300