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Portraiture on British coins

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Portraiture on British coins

Left or Right?  After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there has been some speculation on the design of coins of the newly crowned King Charles III. One factor, almost certain, is that the effigy/portrait of Charles on newly issued coins will be facing to the left. Prior to Queen Elizabth, Empress Victoria was the longest reigning ruler of UK. Her reign lasted 63 years, from 1837 to 1901. Her coins over this period used multiple portraits, but all of these portraits looked to the left. After her death in 1901, her successor Edward VII’s portrait looked in the opposite...

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Coins of Queen Elizabeth II: Crowns

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

Coins of Queen Elizabeth II: Crowns

Queen Elizabeth II (1952-2022) was the longest reigning British sovereign, and was one constant in a world marked by enormous change. She was not just the Queen of the United Kingdom, but also Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a number of other, smaller territories. As a result, she has also featured on the largest number of currencies - coins and notes. Here are some interesting coins issued during her reign, in no particular order.  Elizabeth became the Queen automatically, at the death of her father, in 1952. Her coronation took place in 1953, commemorated on the 5 shilling coin. 5...

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The Mark of an Artist

 

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

<p><strong>The Mark of an Artist</strong></p> <p> </p>

Figure 1: Silver Rupees showing initials of William Wyon and Venancio Alves Older coins sometimes have tiny letters engraved on them – often quite prominently. A very good example, familiar to Indian collectors, is the 1840 silver rupee of the East India Company, where the letters WW (sometimes WWS) can be seen at the base of Queen Victoria’s neck (See Figure 1). The Indo-Portuguese silver Rupia of 1903-04 (King Carlos) has larger letters V ALVES – clearly visible to the naked eye. A quick test to check wear on such coins is to read these letters – given their small size,...

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The 1 Pie Taraazu Coin

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

The 1 Pie Taraazu Coin

The 1 Pie Tarazu coin   Figure 1: 1 Pie: Calcutta Presidency The smallest unit of currency in widespread use during the British era was 1/12 anna, which was 1/192 of a rupee. This unit was also called the ‘pie’ and was equal to 1/3 of a paisa – explaining Hindi sayings such as ‘पाई पाई का हिसाब’ (pie pie ka hisaab). Upto 1835, the British minted 1 Pie coins, which after 1835 became 1/12th Anna – which continued to be minted right up to the 1940s. Figure 2: 1 Pie: Bombay Presidency Before the Revolt of 1857, India was governed by...

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How to Test Your silver coins

Posted by Amit Bhandari on

How to Test Your silver coins

A major concern for a coin collector is whether the coins you have bought are genuine. One simple test – which works for many modern coins, is the magnetic slide test. A brief explanation - unlike iron and nickel, copper and silver are not attracted to magnets. However, both silver and copper have a property called ‘diamagnetism’ – in plain language, these metals are repelled by a magnet. This effect is stronger in case of silver and can be noticed with naked eye, especially in case of silver if the magnet is powerful enough. Magnets made of neodymium, a rare...

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