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Story of the 1 Anna Coin

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Story of the 1 Anna Coin

The anna, together with the rupee and the paisa, was the foundation of the Indian currency system (1 Rupee = 16 anna = 64 paisa). But remarkably, India did not have a 1 anna coin till 1907. During Edward VII’s reign, the first ever 1 anna coins were designed and minted – not before a lot of to and fro. The Indian Coinage Act of 1906 provided for a 1 anna nickel coin – a denomination that had not existed up to now. Coins of 2 anna and above were all silver, while smaller values were one-quarter anna (1 paisa),...

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Porbandar State

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Porbandar State

Porbandar is famous in India as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, whose grandfather, father and uncle had served as Dewan to the rulers of Porbandar. The state was ruled by the Jethwa clan of Rajputs and the ruler was titled ‘Rana’ of Porbandar, who were entitled to an 11-gun salute, among the smaller states of this type. Porbandar lies in the Kathiawar region of present day Gujarat. The state was a coastal strip of land 636 square miles in area, and not wider than 24 miles at any one point. Porbandar’s population in 1901 was 82,640. Despite its relatively small...

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Bajranggarh State

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Bajranggarh State

Bajranggarh was one of the many Indian princely states to issue coins in the British era. Bajranggarh was the name of a fort in the Raghugarh state – which was a feudatory of the Scindias of Gwalior. This state and the fort lie within the present day district of Guna. The rulers of Bajranggarh had a long standing dispute with the Scindias, and two of them were even imprisoned by the Scindia. This dispute was eventually resolved with British mediation in 1818. Bajranggarh was a small state – with an area of just 112 square miles and a population of...

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Indian Rupee: An International Currency

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Indian Rupee: An International Currency

A century back, the Indian rupee was an important regional and international currency – due to India’s large economy and status as a trade hub. The uniform British India Rupee – first introduced in 1835, was a silver coin (0.917 or 91.7%) and 11.66 grams in weight. From 1835 to 1938, the names of the rulers and the designs kept changing, but the two basic factors – weight and purity, remained constant. For ease of trade, many other smaller economies of the region adopted a currency that mirrored the Indian rupee. Thus, Burma (1853), Portuguese Empire (1881), Mombasa (1888), German...

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Coins of Portuguese India

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Coins of Portuguese India

The Portuguese were the first European power to reach India by sea, when Vasco da Gama landed on the cost of Calicut. They were also the first ones to build up a substantial colonial empire in the Indian Ocean – in Goa, parts of Indian coast, Sri Lanka and Malacca. While they lost most of their colonial possessions to other, later martime powers, their rule over Goa, Daman & Diu continued up to 1961 – well after India’s independence in 1947. Thus, the Portuguese colonial presence lasted longer than that of any other colonial power. Upto the mid-19th century, each...

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