Nawanagar KM 2, dokdo

Started by Rangnath, September 08, 2007, 11:58:03 PM

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Rangnath

I admit that I first thought that this coin was a very abstract bull and horse coin.
It is 8 grams and about 17.5 X 15 mm.
Because of the pattern, I thought that this would be easy to identify. It isn't, not for me.

The "cleaned" side was the one with mastic on the surface.  I used acetone to remove the glue, which "cleaned" that side of the coin. 


richie

Oesho


Rangnath

Thank you Oesho, I see it now. 
The good people of Nawanagar produced these dokdos almost 300 years, right?  So there is a lot of variation.  This is another one that I have.
richie

Oesho

Yes, these coins got extremely degenerated. So much, that I am of the opinion that most of the degenerated types were not the product of the Nawanagar State-mint, but of some illegal workshop of coppersmiths. Near copper mines this activity was profound and we know from the area of Ketri (in former Jaipur State) mass-production of imitated copper coins took place to such an extent that in 1852 not less than 52 "mints" were active in Shirrur and Surajgall, which belonged to the Nawab of Ketri. Although the coining industry had then already passed its apex a certain Premsukhdas in 1860 still distributed copper coins struck at Loharu through shops established for the purpose at Calcutta, Monghyr, Patna, Benares, Mirzapur, Farrukhabad, Gazipur, Agra, Mathura, Bombay and Amritsar. Another place, notorious for counterfeiting copper coins, was Sailana and also in the neighbourhood of Jhansi in Bhundalkhand, this activity took place. There they copied much of the coins of Awadh  Some documents from the court of justice give an interesting inside view about this activities. Even the British overseers took advantage of it by changing Sikkah rupees into those unofficial copper coins to paying the labour employed by them for digging and maintaining canals, etc.
In general you may say that most of the corrupted or degenerated, often also low weight, copper coins were the products of these illegal workshops or ?mints?. Should you call them forgeries? Yes and no! Yes because the were struck illegally and ?No? because they served as currency and labour got paid with it. In court documents they were often referred to as Munsuri-paisa which also had a fixed rate of exchange.



Rangnath

I re-weighed the two coins. The first dokdo weighs 8 grams, the second 7.7 grams.  I guess that tells us very little about their origins.
Of the dozen or so coins from Nawanagar in the Fitzwilliam Museum collection, none looked like the less angular first coin posted. Does that appear to be the more "degenerated" coin of the two to you?

Oesho

To me the first coin looks the most authentic rather than the second, much more angular, type.
The first has also the correct Devanagari inscription "Shri Jam" in the exergue. Nevertheless it will remain very difficult to differentiate between authentic and contemporary counterfeits, particularly as they were part of the money circulation too.

Rangnath

The two will make quite a nice pair, specially in the light of the information that you supplied.  Thank you .
richie

Salvete

Yes, Oesho, it cannot be denied that it is very hard to be sure which are the proper issues of these coins, and which are the copies. In a sense, they are all copies of a very old Gujarat Sultanate coin.  The heaviest one of this type I own weighs 8.1g. but it is also the one that looks most like a 'false coin.'  If I am not very much mistaken, the lighter trambiyos were also copied in the same way.  I have a fairly decent looking coin weighing 4.1 g. and a much cruder one of only 2.9 g.  In this case, it is easier to decide to call the lighter, cruder coin the copy.  Like the copies of Awadh paisas (falus) that Oesho mentioned, emanating also from near Orchha, it is not always a simple matter to determine which are the unofficial issues, and this is a whole other side to our hobby that might need a bit more attention before we know enough to be sure of which are which.  Sailana, as Oesho said, is known to be the main source of such coins in Malwa, but we cannot be sure that other such mints did not operate in Jhabua, Dhar, and so on.  Indeed, there is evidence that Ratlam also had at least one illegal workshop for a number of years.
Thanks.
Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.