Cowry to Credit Card, a six days exhibition begins at Bihar Museum

An exhibition titled “Cowry to Credit Card” – a journey of Indian Currency: Through the ages

Today we keep note, coins and credit cards in our pockets and wallets, but have you ever thought that what’s the history behind it? Do our ancestors also had the luxury to buy and sell things like we do? Or do you ever pressurise your mind over how the currency or coins in particular looked like in different period of time? Well this exhibition by Bihar Museum, Patna will take you on tour  from the times of “Cowry” to the contemporary “Credit Cards’ age”.

Bihar Museum has organised a six days long exhibition titled “Cowry to Credit Card” (Journey of Indian Currency: Through the ages) curated by Dr. Vishi Upadhyay, cultural associate, Bihar Museum, Patna which will be followed by guided tour. The programme has been inaugurated by Shri Anjani Kumar Singh, Advisor to Hon’ble CM on 17th of July 2018 in Bihar Museum, Patna.

We discuss the term ‘cashless’ every now and then and think that this is a totally new concept of not holding actual money but there were times when being cashless was not something to be considered very modern but it was the only way they could deal. We want to show people that how currency used to be in older times and how we see it today. We will cover the whole exhibition to show how we started at cashless and travelled all the way round to reach cashless again. This exhibition is first of its kind in Patna

as Dr. Vishi Upadhyay (who did her Ph.D on Ancient Indian Coins), curatorial associate, Bihar Museum, told PatnaBeats.

After visiting the exhibition, what you will take home is an unmatching experience of witnessing different currencies of different eras at one go.

Exhibition hall is divided into three parts –

  • Ancient Indian Currency
  • Medieval Indian Currency, and
  • Modern Indian Currency.

In the ancient section you’ll find the Barter system, Primitive Currency, Punch Marked Coins, mint coins,tribal coins,  Indo-Greek coins, coins of Gupta Empire and many more.

Medieval section will show coins of Delhi Sultanate, coins of sultanate from North Indian and South Indian states, coins of medieval North-East, Mughal Coins and coins from independent princely states. The time period of Medieval Indian Currency section is 13th century to 19th century.


In the Modern Indian Currency section of the exhibition you’ll get to know about coins from European Companies, coins of British India, coins and notes of independent India. The time period of this section will be from 17th century till now.

Other than that cheque books, ATM cards and credit cards of different banks will also be shown in the exhibition. There will be lectures from various knowledgeable persons on Coins and there will be  guided tours by museum crew.

Thousands of coins are being shown in this 6 days long exhibition and there will be 12 coin collectors from 7 states are available. Two of the coin collectors are from Madhya Pradesh, one from Delhi, one from Jharkhand, one from Chhattisgarh, one from Maharashtra, two from Karnataka, two from Kolkata and two coin collectors from Uttar Pradesh has showcased their wonder boxes of shining coins in Bihar Museum.

Mitresh Singh, who’s originally from Aurangabad, Bihar, but now stays in Delhi has came up with Punch Marked coins of Maurya and Magadha Empire. He has two showcases where one of them is only filled with Magadha and Maurya Empire coins, which basically was Bihar in older times.

“There’s a much generalised preconceived notion about the Coins. people think that coins are always round in shape, but that’s not true. Round shape came much later. As we can see the Coins of 500 and 600 BC are uneven in shape. They did not had any particular shape for the coins. The reason behind this is that they were very particular about the weight measurement of the Coins, even a minuscule of increment in the weight would lead to cutting of Coins.”

said Mitresh Singh, the coin collector from Aurangabad, Bihar.

Also read: This Museum seeks to reclaim Bihar’s historic legacy as an International Centre of Culture.

I’ve been to places and museums but I haven’t seen anything like this in India. I wasn’t expecting this level of management and exposure Bihar Museum has provided us. This museum is setting the bar for other museums so high in our country. I must say this is really a great initiative by Bihar Museum, people will get to know the in depth knowledge about coins and to explore various coins of different ages. My lot will be mostly of Bengal Sultanate, but there will also be coins from South Indian provinces, coins of Gupta Empire, and Kushan Coins.”

said Archie Maru, one of the coin collectors from Karnataka.

Bihar Museum has put every effort to make this exhibition super successful.

This exhibition is first if its kind for Bihar. Our motive is to let people know the real history behind the currency we carry in our daily life. How coins and currencies were in older times, people will get to know about this.

said Mr. Yusuf, Director, Bihar Museum, Patna.

So let’s hit the Bihar Museum and see what else they have in bags for us.


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