Suvarna Mohur: India’s Glorious History Illustrated Through Rare Coins :BOOK REVIEW

  1. Author:  Arun Ramamurthy
  2. Release: 5th November 2018
  3. Pages: 86 
  4. Genre: History, Non Fiction
  5. Publisher: Notion Press
  6. Language: English
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Suvarna Mohur is a coffee table book where India’s history is expressed through a different perspective – it’s rare coins. Coins provide not only evidence of trade and economy but also bear testimony to the history, politics and art of a nation.

Suvarna Mohur traces India’s history from the time the first coins were minted about 2500 years ago. Our political and social landscape has changed significantly from century to century with each successive period enriching our ancient civilisation and making it a more diverse country than it ever has been. Such diversity is also reflected in India’s coinage. Ranging from punch-marked types to rather uniquely shaped octagonal ones, from the world’s largest coins to the smallest ones, from coins used for everyday transactions to much sought after ones that were used as jewellery and from resplendent gold coins to the more ubiquitous copper varieties; India’s coins are not just a collector’s delight but also serve to illuminate our magnificent culture. The remarkable history of an epoch appears to spring to life when viewed in conjunction with the coinage representing that era.

Suvarna Mohur, while charting India’s history over the millennia, presents a bouquet of 133 rare coins which, in the author’s opinion, are best illustrative of our country’s antiquity, ethos and traditions. 


Suvarna Mohur by Arun Ramamurthy is a unique coffee table book that takes the reader on a journey of the glorious history of India. The author attempts to give a panoramic point of view of the history of India in 86 pages with eye catching illustrations and coins of different eras that hold significance to that time. Starting from the Indus Valley Civilization of 600 BCE to 21st century, the author pans across the rich and diverse culture and history of Indian subcontinent.

This book helped me to read about history of India in a way that I had never read before. I expected the book to be facts and trivia about coins, but is much more of a history book then an encyclopedia of coins. Although we all are familiar with the names of Akbar and Ashoka, Indian audience seriously lacks in knowledge about their history before the English colonial rule. I personally have been guilty of the same and realized this shortcoming in myself sometime ago. Reading this book helped me to get the basic structure of the history without overwhelming me with too much of details.

The book is divided into different segments where in author first discusses about the social and political environment and lifestyle of the people of that time. Readers are given an idea about the policies of the authorities in a concise summery. Then various rare coins are also described that belong to that time period and book brings attention to many small details on the coins in form of language, images or technology used to mint them providing insights into the mindset or policies of that time.

The book takes us on the journey of changing landscape of India as many great dynasties and rulers such as Maurayas, Guptas, Mugals, Marathas ruled over this land and left their footprints in traditions and culture of people. Author used coins as an example of how changing political and social climate of Indian subcontinent had an impact on the lives of people over centuries. People would accept new cultures and incorporate them into their existing traditions to form an incredible combination of way of life which became very rich and diverse. The name, shape, language, technique and size of coins changed as the rule changed hands from Ashoka to Prithviraj Chauhan to Akbar to Chhatrapati Shri Raja Shiv. The book gives insights into the details on these coins which reflected their belief system and policies to be accepted by the masses.

Final Thoughts

This is a unique kind of book which will be enjoyed both by the coin collectors and history enthusiasts. The author did an incredible amount of research in order to prepare a cohesive understanding of history of India reflected through the coins. A great read and a coin hobbyist treasure, it is a great asset for everyone’s book collection.

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