God of Kings

S. Rajesh,
Tamilnadu - India
Email: rajes1@gmail.com

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Madras Presidency

British India had 3 Presidencies:
  • Bengal Presidency (Presidency of Fort William)
  • Bombay Presidency
  • Madras Presidency (Presidency of Fort St. George)

Madras Presidency, also known as Madras Province and known officially as Presidency of Fort St. George, was a province of British India with capital at Madras ( now known as Chennai) and included many parts of South India :- 

* Tamilnadu
* Kerala: Malabar Region
* Lakshadweep
* Andra Pradesh: Coastal Andra and Rayalaseema
* Karnataka: Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Bellary districts

Map of Madras Presidency

The first British settlement on east coast or the Coromandel Coast was in 1611, at Machilipatnam (Masulipatam). Fort St George in Madras City was erected in 1640. Pondicherry was purchased by the French in 1762. 

The population in 1901 was divided into Hindus (3.7 million), Muslims (2.7 million) and Christians (1.9 million). The main languages were Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam Tulu and Oriya.

In 1911 the province was divided into 24 districts: Ganjam, Vizagapatam, Godavari, Krishna, Kurnool, Nellore, Cuddapah, Anantapur, Bellary, North Arcot, South Arcot, Chingleput, Madras, Salem, South Canara, Malabar, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Tanjore, Madurai, Tirunelveli, The Nilgiris, and Guntur.

Five princely states fell under the political authority of Madras Presidency. They were: Banganapalle, Cochin, Pudukkotti, Sandur, and Travancore.

After India's independence in 1947, Madras Presidency was reconstituted as Madras State. In 1953 the Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra regions became the new state of Andhra, and Bellary district became part of Mysore State. In 1956, South Kanara district was transferred to Mysore, the Malabar Coast districts became part of the new state of Kerala, and Madras state, renamed Tamilnadu in 1968, took its present shape. The northern district of Madras presidency, Ganjam, was transferred to Orissa.

Madras Mint
After Musalipatnam, the next settlement in south was in Madras in 1620. The trading activities grew at a very rapid rate there. They purchased land where the Fort St. George stands today and the First English Mint was established in 1640 by one Francis day.

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, and 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.

The Company decided to establish two bigger mints at Bombay and Calcutta in 1815. From 1835 - 1867 the mint also struck uniform coinage for circulation. The Madras mint assisted these mints and since its capacity was insignificant, the mint was finally closed down in 1869 to make way for the government press in the same premises. But Mint Street - once Thanga Salai - remains a Madras name.

Coins : Madras Presidency
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 Arcot. 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 coins 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 116 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 196 and 148 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).

Northern Circars


The Northern Circars was a former division of Madras Presidency and consisted of present-day Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The territory derived its name from Circar or Sarkar, an Indian term applied to the component parts of a Subah or province, each of which is administered by a deputy governor. These Northern Circars were five in number, Chicacole, Rajahmundry, Ellore, Kondapalli and Guntur.

By a treaty, signed in 1768, the nizam acknowledged the validity of Shah Alam's grant and resigned the Circars to the Company, receiving as a mark of friendship an annuity of 50,000. Guntur, as the personal estate of the Nizam's brother Basalat Jang, was accepted during his lifetime under both treaties. Finally, in 1823, the claims of the Nizam over the Northern Circars were bought outright by the Company, and they became a British possession.

The Northern Circars were governed as part of Madras Presidency until India's independence in 1947, after which the presidency became India's Madras state. The northern, Telugu-speaking portion of Madras state, including the Northern Circars, was detached in 1953 to form the new state of Andhra Pradesh.


Coins for use of Northern Circars division of the Madras Presidency with headquarters at Musalipatnam were:-

SILVER: 4 Annas and 2 Annas

COPPER: 1/48 Rupee and 1/96 Rupee

The last set of coins were a set of 3 copper coins in the denominations of 4 Pai, 2 Pai and 1 Pai issued during the period 1824-1825.

Gold Coins

Gold Pagoda Early issue 1678-1740

Arcot Gold Mohur

Gold Pagoda 1808-1815AD series, ND

Mohur 1819

½ Mohur, ND (1819), 5 Rupees, ND (1820) and ¼ Ashrafi, ND (1819)

Double Pagoda, ND (AD 1809-1815): 18 Stars type

5 Rupees, Gold, ND (AD 1820)

Star Pagoda

3 Swami Pagoda

AIN Pagoda

Silver Coins

Half Rupee Arcot

One Panam

Double Panam

Five Panam

Half Pagoda

Quarter Pagoda

One Rupee : Closed Lotus

One Rupee : Open Lotus

Half Rupee: Rose Mint Mark

1/8 Rupee: Calcutta (Now Kolkatta) Mint

Copper Coins






British India Flag & Map

British India Flag - Map

King George VI

GEORGE VI COINS (1938-1947)

After the death of King George V his son, who would have been King Edward VIII, abdicated before the coronation. No coins were minted using his portrait. His brother the Duke of York was crowned King George VI in May 1937 and the first coin of India with his effigy was minted in 1938.

Half Silver Coins ?

After the price of silver started going up after the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the practice of hoarding silver coins became common. This led to reducing the use of silver in coins. The 1940 1/4-Rupee, 1/2-Rupee and One Rupee coins were reduced from 0.917 silver to 0.500 silver (there were a limited number of 1939 Rupees minted in 0.500 silver). Though not listed by Krause, D. Chakravarty reports 1940 1/4 Rupees exists in the earlier 0.917 silver version also.

One Rupee (1938-1947)

The Rupee was minted in Calcutta, Bombay and Lahore in 0.917 silver, 0.500 silver and Nickel with a reeded edge and later a security edge. There is no mint mark for Calcutta. The Bombay issues have a small dot or diamond on the reverse under the ornate (the lotus flower) near the bottom of the coin . The Lahore mint used a small "L" in the same position. When the composition switched to Nickel in 1947 a completely different reverse (an Indian tiger) was introduced.

The 1939 Rupee is one of the most rare and expensive Silver coins of the British India Period
1/2 Rupee (1938-1947)

The 1/2 Rupee was minted in Calcutta, Bombay and Lahore in 0.917 silver, 0.500 silver and Nickel with a reeded edge and later a security edge. There is no mint mark for Calcutta. The Bombay issues have a small dot or diamond on the reverse under the ornate (the lotus flower) near the bottom of the coin .The Lahore mint used a small "L" in the same position. When the composition switched to Nickel in 1946 a completely different reverse (an Indian tiger) was introduced.

1/4 Rupee (1938-1947)

The 1/4 Rupee was minted in Calcutta, Bombay and Lahore in 0.917 silver, 0.500 silver and Nickel with a reeded edge and later a security edge. There is no mint mark for Calcutta. The Bombay issues have a small dot or diamond on the reverse under the ornate (the lotus flower) near the bottom of the coin .The Lahore mint used a small "L" in the same position. When the composition switched to Nickel in 1946 a completely different reverse (an Indian tiger) was introduced. There are several varieties in the obverse and two major varieties of the ornate (lotus flower) on the reverse.
Copper Coins of George VI

1 Pice (Bronze) 1943-1947

The 1 Pice coin was only minted for five years, but it has three crown different varieties and was made at four different mints. It's shape is also unique, with the hole in the center (sometimes referred to as a "washer" shape). The obverse varieties are recognized by the crown design on the obverse designated Round Crown (RC), High Crown (HC) and Flat Crown (FC). A second difference is the size of the lettering and date numerals, small (Y-51, KM-532) and large (Y-51a, KM-533). The mint is designated by a mint mark just under the date on the obverse: Calcutta (no mint mark), Bombay (large dot), Pretoria, South Africa (small dot) and Lahore (raised "L"). Krause indicates in 1944 the Bombay mm appears to be a large dot over a diamond. My 1943 Bombay appears to have a double dot.

1/2 Pice (Bronze) 1938-1942

The Second Head variety was only struck as proof or re strikes, so only the First Head is shown here. It was only struck for circulation 1939-1940. It is reported by Krause that it was also struck in 1938 but none have been found in circulation. The 1/2 pice was struck in Calcutta (no mint mark) and Bombay (dot below date on reverse).

1/12 Anna (Bronze) 1938-1942

The 1/12-Anna comes in two obverse varieties, First Head and Second Head. It is interesting that both varieties were used in 1938 and 1939. For both varieties, the 1938 strikes were proofs or re strikes, not circulation coins. The 1/12-Anna was only minted through 1942 and was then discontinued.

King George V


George was the Emperor of India. George reigned from 06 May 1910 through World War I (1914-1918) until his death in 1936.

Reign -06 May 1910-20 January 1936
Coronation - 22 June 1911
Predecessor - Edward VII
Successor - Edward VIII

George was born on 03 June 1865, at London. His father was The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), the eldest son of Queen Victoria.

The marriage of George and May took place on 06 July 1893 at the Chapel Royal in London. On 06 May 1910, King Edward VII died, and the Prince of Wales ascended the throne. George was now King George V and Mary chose the regal name of Queen Mary.

Silver Jubilee of King George V Rule (1910-1935)
Coins were minted in India with the effigy of King George V from 1911 to 1936. Due to the increase in the price of silver caused by World War I (1914-1918) the silver 1/2 Rupee, 1/4 Rupee and 2 Annas were discontinued and new cupro-nickel coins introduced (8 Annas, 4 Annas, 2 Anna) to join the cupro-nickel 1 Anna coin. These new coins were not popular, so the 8 Anna and 4 Anna coins were discontinued shortly after introduction. The 1/4 Rupee and 1/2 Rupee silver coins quickly resumed production.


Bombay Mint : Used a small dot on the reverse under the ornate near the bottom of the coin at 6'o clock position.
Calcutta Mint : No Mint Mark used

Copper Coins of George V

Silver Coins of George V

"Pig Rupee" - Really interesting Story

On the 1911 issues of the Rupee, Half Rupee, Quarter Rupee, Two Annas and 1/4 Anna the King is shown wearing a robe with a small elephant on it. This elephant was thought to resemble a pig with the trunk appearing to be a pig snout and the short legs not appearing very elephant-like. This offended the religious sensibilities of many, so most of the Rupees minted for 1911 were withheld from circulation and later melted. The 1912 coins had a redesigned elephant.

 One Rupee (1911-1936)

The Rupee was minted in both Calcutta and Bombay.The first year of issue (1911) has an elephant on the Kings robe that was considered to resemble a pig, thus the variety is known as the "pig rupee" (Type I). This variant is also on the 1/2 Rupee, the 1/4 Rupee, the 2 Annas and the 1/4 Anna coins. The elephant figure was redesigned (Type II) and this design was used on all issues starting in 1912.

1/2 Rupee (1911-1936)

The 1/2 Rupee has the same variety as the "Pig Rupee" for 1911 (only from the Calcutta mint)and has the same placement of the dot mint mark for the issues of Bombay. Minting was briefly interrupted when the attempt was made to replace it with the 8 Annas issue in 1919. The coin was issued in 1919 but not in 1920. Minting was resumed in 1921. It was not minted in 1931 and 1932.

1/4 Rupee (1911-1936)

The 1/4 Rupee also had the "pig" variety in 1911 coin (see Rupee for photos of elephant design). After the 1920 issue it was discontinued and replaced with the 4 Annas. However, after the 4 Annas was dropped the 1/4 Rupee was resumed in 1925.

8 Annas - Copper-Nickel (1919-1920)

 This coin was introduced in 1919 to replace the silver Half Rupee, because of the increased price of silver. It wasn't very popular, though, and due to this and a large number of counterfeits, it was discontinued in 1920 and withdrawn from circulation (it ceased to be legal tender in October 1924). In 1920 it was produced only at the Bombay mint.It is a rare coin for British India Coin collectors.

4 Annas

This coin was introduced in 1919 to replace its silver equivalent, the 1/4 Rupee. It was discontinued after the 1921 issue. Unlike the 8 Annas, it was not withdrawn from circulation and continued to be legal tender.

2 Annas: Silver(1911-1917) & Cu-Nickel(1918-1936)

The first year of issue 1911 shows the "pig" elephant on the King's robe.Equal to 1/8 Rupee, it was discontinued after the 1917 issue, replaced by the Copper-Nickel version.
This copper-nickel coin was introduced to replace the silver 2 Annas coin, due to the high cost of silver. This was minted through the end of the George V era. It was produced by both the Calcutta mint (no mint mark) and the Bombay mint ("dot" mint mark).

1 Anna - Copper-Nickel (1912-1936)

This copper-nickel coin, similar to the Edward VII One Anna coin introduced in 1906, was minted only in Bombay 1912-1920.It had no mint mark during these years. After not being minted for two years 1921-1922 minting was resumed at both mints, with the "dot" mint mark indicating the Bombay mint. The coin was again not minted in 1931-1932.