Friday, October 16, 2009

Madras presidency coins

English trade was begun on the east coast of India in 1611.The first factory was at Mazulipatam and was maintained intermittently  until modern times.Madras was founded in 1639 and Fort St. George was made thechief factory on the east coast in 1641. A mint was established at Fort St. George where coins of the style of Vijayanagar were struck. The Madras mint began minting copper coins after the renovation. In 1689 silver fanams were authorized to be struck by the new Board of Directors. In 1692 the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb gave permission for Mughal type rupees to be struck at Madras. These circulated locally and were also sent to Bengal. The chief competition for the Madras coins were the Arcot rupees. Some of the bulk coins from Madras were sent to the Nawabs mint to be made into Arcot rupees.

Monetary System

1 Dudu = 10 Cash        8 Dudu = 1 Fanam       36 Fanam = 1 Pagoda         31/2 Rupees = 1 Pagoda

1 Cash (copper) K-314  1803

5 Cash (copper) K-316

10 Cash (copper) K-319

20 Cash (copper) K-321

10 Cash (copper) K-326

20 Cash (copper) K-328

40 Cash (copper) K-331

1 Fanam (Silver) K-307

2 Fanam (Silver) K-308

2 Fanam (Silver) K-350

1/4 Pagoda (silver) K-352  1807-15

1/2 Pagoda (silver) K-353  1808-15

The firman granted to the East India Company by Venkatdri Naik in 1639 permitted it to "perpetually enjoy the privilege of mintage." This mint was run on contract by various dubashes - Komati Chetties all - but used gold imported by the Company. In the 1650s, the Company decided it would run the mint itself and appointed English supervisors.

The Madras mint struck coins for in and around the company's territories in for the Northern Circars for nearly 200 years. The initial coins were dump coinage similar to those of the neighboring Hindu territories followed by close imitations of the Moghul coins of the Subah of Arcot.

In 1692, the mint was permitted to mint the silver rupees of the Mughals. A new mint was built in the Fort in 1695, then rebuilt in 1727 in the northwest corner of the Fort, by what became known as the Mint Bastion. In 1742, a second mint was established in Chintadripet. The same year, the Fort mint was permitted to strike the Arcot rupee and Arcot coins of lower denominations. In 1792, the Chintadripet mint was moved to the Fort and the two mints became the gold and silver mints, minting star pagodas, which were replacing the Madras Pagodas, Arcot rupees and Madras and Arcot fanams and doodoos.

Early Coins : Dump Coins
The earliest coins of the company in Madras were small silver pieces issued from their factory at Fort St. George in about 1670's. These coins were undated with two interlinked C's on the reverse (assigned to the reign of King Charles II).

During the 18th century silver coins were minted bearing the Company's bale mark(an orb and a cross) inscribed C.C.E (Charter Company of England) and in some cases G.C.E (Governor and company of merchants trading into the east Indies). All these issues were meant for use within the company's factory and surrounding areas and also for exchange with European traders. They were not meant for circulation in the interior of the country.

In 1742 company obtained permission from Nawab Sadatulla Khan of the Subah of Arcot to coin rupees in imitation of those struck at the imperial mint at Arcat. These coins were poorly struck with dies bigger than the blanks used. Hence, only a part of inscriptions are generally visible. They bear the name of Alamgir II with Sixth year of reign and have a 'lotus - mint mark'. This undated series continued for about 50 years. Subsequent issues had Hegira Date '1172' equivalent to 1758 A.D. irrespective of the year of minting. The R.Y-6 also appears on all issues.

Machine Struck Coins
In 1807 new machinery was introduced and mint produced 2 silver coin in European style with oblique milling. One series based on Hindu standard consisted of One and Two pagoda in gold, Half and Quarter pagoda and Fanams in silver. The copper coins consisted on Cash denominations.

The other series based on moghul standard were gold mohurs and fractions of mohurs : ¼, ⅓ and ½ . They issued rupees together with fractions down to ⅛ and 1⁄16 rupee in silver. Madras also issued 2 rupees coins. Although minted in 1807 and later all bear the frozen date "1172"A.H.
Copper coins in this series were Faluce(Dub) with inscriptions in persian on one side and Tamil and Telugu inscriptions on the other side indicating the value in Dub units.
In Madras, there were copper coins for 2, 4 pies, 1, 2 and 4 paisa, with the first two denominated as ½ and 1 dub or 1⁄96 and 1⁄48 rupee. Madras also issued the Madras Fanam until 1815.

Although the two systems of coins were in circulation at the same time but they were unrelated.

3360 Cash = 42 Fanams = 1 Pagoda =31/2 Rupees = 168 Faluce (Dub)

1 Rupee = 48 Faluce (Dub)

1 Faluce (Dub) = 20 Cash; 1 Fanam = 4 Faluce(Dub) = 80 Cash

After 1818, Rupee was made the standard coin and the weight was fixed at 180 grains with smaller pieces in proportion. The pagodas and fanams were demonetized from that year.

Next issues were :-

1. 1812-1835 : Struck at Madras Mint with 'Lotus' mint mark and indented cord milling.

2. 1823-1825 : Struck at Calcutta with 'Rose' mint mark and upright milling.

3. 1830-1835 : Struck at Calcutta with 'Rose' mint mark and upright milling but with a small crescent added on the reverse (rupee and half rupee coins) and on obverse(1/4 rupee coins).