independent units of production.
It is not easy to ascertain with any amount of certainty as to who introduced
the Gupta system of currency. Until recently it was held that Chandragupta I,
being the first imperial ruler of the dynasty, was also the originator of the
currency system, and that the Chandragupta-Kumaradevi type of gold coins
were the earliest gold coins of the dynasty. But on a close comparative
numismatic study of these coins and other types of gold coins of
Samudragupta, some scholars have suggested that it was Samudragupta who
first issued Gupta coins, that his first gold coins were of the standard type,
and that later on he issued the Chandragupta-Kumaradevi type of coins to
commemorate his father’s marriage to the Lichchhavi princess which had
proved to be of great benefit to the Gupta dynasty.
     But it is certain that the minting of silver coins was first started in the
reign of Chandragupta II and was continued by Kumaragupta I and
Skandagupta. Along with gold and silver coins, copper coins were also
issued, though to a much limited extent, at least in the reigns of Chandragupta
II and Kumaragupta I.
     It seems that there was a paucity of coins from the Gupta period onwards.
For the Gupta emperors did not issue as many copper coins as their
predecessors. The Indo-Greeks and especially the Kushanas issued a large
number of copper coins, which were evidently in common use in different
parts of their territories. Thus, Fahien seems to have been correct when he
stated that cowries (small shells used as currency) formed the common
medium of exchange. The comparative scarcity of Gupta coins shows that
there was hardly any easy medium through which people of one town could
enter into exchange relations with those of the other. The gold coins issued
by the Gupta rulers could be useful only for big transactions such as the sale
and purchase of land, in which dinaras (gold coins) were used. Smaller
transactions were evidently conducted through the barter system or cowries.
     It is, therefore, argued that Indian economy in the Gupta period was
largely based on self-sufficient units of production in villages and towns, and
that money economy was gradually       becoming weaker at this time. The bond