pieces of metal

Started by bart, October 04, 2007, 11:23:34 PM

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bart

I am amazed how Richie shows us the most magnificent Indian coins. He shows us amazing rupees, magnificent paisas etc... They are really a delight to look at.

I show you the present I received from friends of mine who made a trip through India and Nepal. As they know I am very interested in coins, they brought me the following coins. They weigh 14 grams and I presume they are (were) paisa coins. They are clearly undeterminable. As they were together with some milled coins (1/4 annas) from Gwalior, I assume these are from Gwalior too, but no one can tell for sure.
Even if there's nothing to see, I was very glad to receive them.
If coins in this condition could circulate, what was the importance of anything struck on them? I suppose people recognised form and weight. Or are they just scraps of metal?

bart

Rangnath

I agree Bart, identifying these will be DIFFICULT. 
I wonder if you were to take a photograph of them in strong late morning light if we could see a little more of the detail in them? The slightest raised areas should give more shadow.

The very first hammered coin that I owned I thought was a weight for a hand scale in the market.  And perhaps some were used for that purpose.  I also wondered if identification of a paisa mattered in commerce. Probably not.

I loved Gwalior, the fort and city.  It was cleaner than the one in which I lived and with more evidence of ancient antiquity. In 1967 to 1969, the Rani of Gwalior, the richest woman in Madhya Pradesh and an elected official, would visit our state capitol and my city of Bhopal in a 1956 Chevrolet; the largest car on the road. 
richie

Figleaf

#2
Quote from: Rangnath on October 05, 2007, 01:10:57 AM
In 1967 to 1969, the Rani of Gwalior, the richest woman in Madhya Pradesh and an elected official, would visit our state capitol and my city of Bhopal in a 1956 Chevrolet; the largest car on the road.

At last, a travel story I can beat, be it only by a slim margin. I was lucky enough to visit China in the late seventies. At the time, everyone was walking around in Mao suits and the means of private transportation of people was the bicycle. As I travelled with an official delegation, the Chinese pulled out all the stops and came up with real passenger cars: 1953 Mercedeses, lovingly maintained, looking like new and probably extensively bugged :).

And as for the coins, they look vaguely Iranian or maybe Afghani to me... :P

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

Oesho

Just as an example of how such lumps of copper were used by the end of the 19th century I quote from Charles J. Rodgers (Coin collecting in Northern India, Allahabad, 1984) ?In a heap of common bazaar coins in northern towns of India at the present day coins of Bhopal, Baroda, Gwalior, Indore, Amritsar, Lahore, Jummu and Srinagar (Kashmir) are the most common. But there is always a vast number of copper coins, the origin of which the coin-dealers can tell us little about. The Mansuri pice are coins of this kind. They are, as a rule, oblong lumps of copper or brass. They are without inscriptions, and have generally no devices on them. Of course they are not of equal weights. In some bazaars remote from trade routes I have seen shapeless lumps of iron or copper or mixed metal sold for coin. Strange though it may seem, these coins are in great demand. When a marriage takes place it is the custom to distribute coins to faqirs and the poor. Over a hundred of the pice above described are obtainable for a rupee, whereas only 64 pice stamped in Government mints can be got for the same sum. Hence it happens that common bazaar money changer does a great trade in old copper issues of the country. He buys up from villages and towns the money given away at marriages, etc., and in the marrying season drives a roaring trade in selling the same again.?

bart

Thanks for this interesting piece of information, Oesho!
This makes me look in a very different way at these 'lumps of metal'.

I thought no one could make any sense on what they were. You can! ;D 8)
Thanks a lot for your expertise.

Bart

Figleaf

#5
The European parallel to Oesho's funny story is the British threepenny bit. It was custom in church to contribute a silver piece at contribution time and the smallest silver was the threepenny bit. The coin was otherwise hated as it was believed to be too small for practical use, but demand kept up for church collections. It was only when British Railroads started complaining that the silver threepenny bit was replaced by a large brass piece, long after Belgium and France had introduced similar replacements of their smallest silver. Of course, church-goers were not pleased and protests were especially strong in Scotland, one of the poorest and most religious parts of the United Kingdom. This is where the Scottish got their undeserved image of being scrooges.

I am likewise reminded of the Moghul habit to throw out coins as they were travelling. Since this was an expensive habit, they had light coins struck especially for the occasion. Also, they seem to have used for this purpose very lightweight hollow silver almonds, reminiscent of the ancient custom to use almonds for small change. I wonder if any have survived.

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

Salvete

Are these the famous 'Chikna pysas', Oesho? 
Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.