Bundi Rupee: Y14 1909

Started by Rangnath, June 18, 2008, 05:45:42 AM

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Rangnath

This Bundi Rupee, 10.7 grams, was minted during the reign of Raghubir Singh in what is now the modern sate of Rajasthan. On the obverse is the Katar. The image on this coin makes this brutal weapon look absolutely pacific.  Also on the obverse are the letters, in English, Edward VII Emperor.  The date is in the Vikram samvat calendar starting in 57 BCE.

The letters are uneven in size, the spacing inconsistant and the Katar itself sketched out in a gestural manner. 
Why, I wonder.  This "primitive" style is in evidence in much of Bundi coinage. Was this a defiant anti European statement?  Or did Raghubir have his youngest child submit designs for Bundi's coins?
In any case, the "spontaneous" hand made quality of the coins make them some of my favorite.

Richie

Rangnath

I'm not sure what you mean by "old" hammered method.  Is there a new hammered method?
This rupee is Y 18.2; with King George V and a date of 1983 (?).  I do have difficulty reading Bundi dates.
Richie

Oesho

The Vikrama Samvat (VS) date on the George V rupee is 1982 (AD1925).

Rangnath

Thanks Oesho.  I can see the two now.
richie

Figleaf

As to your question about style, I think it is defined culturally. In European countries, the coins being quite similar was a security measure, albeit an imperfect one. The idea was that people could give coins a cursory glance and decide on wether or not they were genuine. The picture is a "guarantee" of pureness and weight. This persists today. When the euro was introduced, a railroad press release made the point that the railroad ticket sellers would need about 30% more time to recognize the new coins, so in the first weeks, lines before the counters were expected to be significantly longer.

My understanding is that in India, many coins went by weight. If so, the picture was not important. This would also explain the thick edges, unprotected by any design or lettering. Clipping just isn't a problem when coins go by weight. From a view of cost saving, one could therefore employ much cheaper labour for die cutting, notably the illiterate and people who would be strong, but not too handy. I think your coin is an excellent example of an illiterate die cutter, who could make bold, strong strokes, not necessarily in the right place, but they'd all be there.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Rangnath

I can accept most of what you said but not about the hiring of illiterate die cutters in order to save money!  That sounds like too modern a concept. 
Some hammered silver coin designs look splendid  (Awadh State for example), some easily identifiable through use of symbols (Banswara, Indore and Jaipur for example) and some are done with exquisite craftsmanship (Hyderabad to name one).  The coins in the name of Edward and George of Bundi appear to have been designed and executed by two different die cutters (the shape of the letters in each coin) but both are easily identifiable as belonging to Bundi.   I'd say the picture was important, but the level of sophistication of the image was intentionally low. However, because I don't have evidence to back my position, I'm not putting money on it being correct. What was the intention? Mass appeal, political, religious? I do not know.
richie

RG

Here are two specimen from my collection. The pictures are borrowed from respective auction catalogue for educative purposes, and coins in its physical form in my collection.. INO Queen Victoria and INO King George V. I was curious to see the difference in the dagger styles..

Figleaf

A fascinating, but also perplexing pair of coins. The George V coin is as I know and expect Bundi coins to be. If they were a wine, they would be a Beaujolais: happy, light and easy to consume. The Victorian piece is more like a Haut M├ędoc: much closer to perfection, a bit severe, but offering lasting quality. The katar is indeed much more recognisable, but look at the characters, both latin and nagari. They are well aligned, well spaced (spaces between words!) and well formed, all in contrast to the Georgian coin.

Confusing, all. Was the Victorian die cutter so much better and mathematically inclined? Was knowledge lost, or was it just no longer appreciated?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.