"The copper and silver coins"
Punch Marked Silver Coin
Public DomainPunch Marked Silver Coin - Credit: World Imaging
Cast Copper Coin 1st century BCE
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCast Copper Coin 1st century BCE - Credit: British Museum.

Early coins of India (400 B.C.—100 A.D.) were made of silver and copper, and bore animal and plant symbols on them. Cast Copper coins were used in Ancient India, around the 2nd Century B.C.

The first documented coinage is deemed to start with 'Punch Marked' coins issued between the 7th century BC and 1st century AD. These coins are called 'punch-marked' coins because of their manufacturing technique. Mostly made of silver, these bear symbols, each of which was punched on the coin with a separate punch. 

Issued initially by merchant Guilds and later by States, the coins represented a trade currency belonging to a period of intensive trade activity and urban development. They are broadly classified into two periods : the first period (attributed to the Janapadas or small local states) and the second period (attributed to the Imperial Mauryan period). The motifs found on these coins were mostly drawn from nature like the sun, various animal motifs, trees, hills etc. and some were geometrical symbols.