Picture 1: Silver 5 Kori of Kutch in name of Edward VIII
The saga of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has parallels to the story of another British royal from almost a century back – Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, one of the shortest reigning British monarchs. Edward VIII ascended the British throne on January 20th, 1936 and abdicated the throne in less than a year – on 11th December of the same year.
Because of his short reign, Edward VIII, unlike the other British monarchs, wasn’t featured on too many coins. The Royal Mint produced a small number, which were almost all destroyed. British India, which minted silver rupees in billions from 1835-1945 (see picture 2), also didn’t issue any coins featuring Edward VIII. This was also the case with major dominions such as Australia and Canada.
Picture 2: Silver rupees in name of William IIII, Victoria, Edward VII & George V
But because it was so large, some parts of the British Empire, including some of the Indian Princely States, did mint coins in the name of Edward VIII, which have survived. The Indian Princely State of Kutch is known for its milled coins with intricate patterns. These coins carried the name of the local ruler on one side, and the name of the British monarch on the other. In 1936, after the ascension of Edward VIII, the new coins used his name (see picture 1 on top). The inverted ‘V’ on the reverse is the numeral 8 in Urdu. However, before the year was over, there was a new ruler on British throne – which has led to a numismatic rarity – 4 different coins, issued in the same year, in the name of 3 different emperors (See picture 3).
Picture 3: Silver 5 Koris of Kutch, in name of George V, Edward VIII & George VI
The coins of Kutch carried two dates, the Common Era and Vikram Samvat, colloquially called the English and Hindi calendars. The 4 coins, from left to right are:
- Khengarji III/George V, 1992 VS/1936 AD
- Khengarji III/Edward VIII, 1992 VS/1936 AD
- Khengarji III/Edward VIII, 1993 VS, 1936 AD
- Khengarji III/George VI, 1993 VS/1936 AD
While these coins are scarce individually, a set of 4 is rare.