Possible Forgery of an Orchha Paisa

Started by mtayal, November 26, 2008, 05:13:17 PM

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mtayal

Hi:

Today I got a new coin,  coated with layers of dirt. Please help identify.

Thanks
Mahesh

Overlord


Overlord

Sadly, the year seems totally off the flan on this one  :(

Rangnath

You might want to try placing it in a bath of distilled water for a few months.  If and when the water gets dirty, replace the water.  When you finally remove the coin, try using a tooth pick of wood to further clean.  And DRY completely.  This technique requires Patience.

I agree with Overlord.  I think its a Paisa of Orchha.  (C # 25?)  The Orchha half paisa is described as 16 mm.  What is your coin?
richie

Oesho

It's probably a forgery as the reverse (left image) is in retrograde.

mtayal

Thanks everyone. I will try to get this cleaned. Possibly with a better picture it will be easier to recognize if it is forged coin.

Thanks
Mahesh

BC Numismatics

Mahesh,
  I don't think that this coin from Orchha is a forgery,as coins with dates off the planchet are pretty common in the Indian Princely States' hammered coin series.

It could,however,be an unrecorded type.

Aidan.

Rangnath

I don't think so Aidan. 
Look at the flow of the shapes to the left of the mint mark in the "obverse".  I think that is what Oesho was refering to as retrograde. The "letters" move in an opposite direction from what one would expect in Persian or Arabic letters.
Of course, without Oesho's observations, I was perfectl;y happy to try to force fit what I saw in the image above into what I saw in the cataglog or in my own coin in front of me. 
richie

Salvete

It is certainly a retrograde reverse, as stated by Oesho.  The retrograde '4' is clear, and such mistakes at properly run mints were very uncommon.  In copies and forgeries they were very common, and I think this coin must have been struck from a forged die.  Since the 'false coin mint' of Mau Ranipur was so close to that place, maybe it was the source of this copy/forgery/fantasy - call it what you will, it is not a genuine product of Datia or Orchha in my view.

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Figleaf

A very interesting remark, since it teaches us something about the technique the forgers have used. If the forger would have used casting, there would not have been a retrogading problem. Therefore, the forger cut dies by hand. That in turn means that making an exact copy was not important. It may very well be that people were not interested in reading what's on the coin, or that they were illiterate.

Taking this one step further, this may be an indication that coins went by weight, rather than by denomination, especially if there was an important quantity of them (e.g in a transaction to get small change or to convert small donations in copper to silver). In those circumstances, a copy is just as good as the original, as long as it contains only copper, except of course to the official issuing authority, because it eats into seigniorage.

This situation would be completely different from what happened in Europe: getting a copy to look like the original was vital and a fake was a total loss for whoever owned it, in addition to eating into seigniorage. In addition, local governments maintained complicated systems of which coins were or were not allowed to circulate in their territories. Even genuine coins could be a loss for their owner.

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

Salvete

Yes, Figleaf, you are quite right - weight was important in Indian coins, including coppers.  Most users of coppers were illiterate in the 19th th century, so the 'looks' of a coin would outweigh the exactness of its fabric and engraving.  If you copy a coin when making a forged die, you will end up with a retrograde die if you do not remember to reverse the image, and that is probably why so many forged dies were retrograde, and why so few 'real' ones were - 'real' die engravers were not copying coins.  Obvious, really, but often overlooked or forgotten.  A lot of forgeries were cast, of course, as you point out, but they are more easily noticed.  Whether they would have been used by the populace alongside the struck 'forgeries' would be interesting to know, but the chances are that any lump of copper would pass curent by weight.  It is reported that some such lumps 'passed current' despite having no impression on them whatsoever.  They even had a particular name, but i have forgotten what it was.  Oesho has looked at them and will remember the name, and we have all probably seen them.  Others had just a small countermark -- like the familar Bhopal unifaces with a little round stamp with 'Bhopal' on it.  There was (and is!!) no end to the ingenuity of Indian 'false coiners'!  Ask at the palace in Mysore!

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.