Edward VIII was one of the shortest-reigning British monarchs. Less than a year into his reign, he abdicated to marry a divorcee – a major scandal at the time. He had succeeded his father George V, and was in turn succeeded by his brother Albert – who took the title George VI.
The reign was too short for any of the proposed coins designed featuring him to be minted in Britain. However, coins were stuck in his name in some other parts of the British Empire. One examplewas the Kutch state – now in Gujarat, India. Since 1865, the state of Kutch had been striking coins jointly in name of the local ruler and the British monarch (Victoria, followed by Edward VII and then George V). Kutch stuck to the practice for Edward VIII as well, and coins minted in 1936 feature his name, along with the ruler of Kutch – Khengarji (See Picture).
The coins of Kutch state carried two dates – the year in Vikram Samvat on the front and the Common Era (Christian calendar) on the reverse. The two years don’t exactly coincide. Thus, 1936 was distributed between VS 1992 and VS 1993. Thus, two coins were minted for Edward VIII, for both the years. Interestingly, coins in the name of George V were also minted in VS 1992/1936 AD, by Kutch state. As a result, there are 4 coins of 1936, in names of 3 different emperors, with one variation in date (see picture).
Kutch coins are worth collecting for many reasons:
- Rare: Kutch was a relatively small princely state, with less than half million people. So compared to British Indian coins, fewer coins of Kutch state were minted. As a result, while they are not very expensive, they are still quite rare.
- Design: Post 1858, Kutch started milling its coins, starting with 5 kori and 2.5 kori, and then eventually going down to 1 and half kori as well. These are beautiful coins with an intricate design.
- 2 Kings on one coin: Post 1858, Kutch started issuing coins in the name of the local ruler and the British ruler - so coins of Kutch have been issued in the name of Victoria, Edward VII (very rare), George V, Edward VIII and George VI.