Questions on East India Company William IV coins

Started by Overlord, February 15, 2008, 05:27:07 PM

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Overlord

Hi

I have a couple of "newbie" questions on the EIC William IV coins.

1. Why is the 'IV' in the king's name written as 'IIII'?
2. I have often seen that the half rupee sells for almost twice (or even more) the price of the one rupee coin on online auctions such as eBay. Is William IV half rupee rarer than the one rupee?

Oesho

IV or IIII is a equally right, but as the design was more balanced by a larger figure. Therefore the IIII symbol was chosen. By using a IV, the spacing between the letters would have become more wider.

The ½ rupee is considerably scarcer as the one rupee, as also the mintage figures of the one rupee are a multiple of the ½ rupee. This is a general phenomenon in Indian numismatics; minor and multiple denominations were struck on a smaller scale than the full denomination and therefore also much scarcer.

BC Numismatics

Overlord,the King William IV 1/4 Rupee is also a very hard coin to find.I have seen very few 1/4 & 1/2 Rupee coins from this coinage.The 1 Rupee is still not an easy coin to find though.The 1835 coinage is the first one for all India,as opposed to being issued in one of the Presidencies.

Aidan.

Overlord


Figleaf

#4
Older European coins usually try to avoid "subtractions" in Roman numerals when they can. On coins of Louis XIV, for instance, you will see XIIII. It may have something to do with widespread lack of education and the fact that additions are simpler than subtractions.

Older Indian coins (like older European coins) follow the pattern of separate money for separate metals and different purpose. We are used to a monetary unit (e.g. the euro) divided in a subsidiary unit (e.g. the cent) with coins that can assume a value in both systems (e.g 50 cents is 1/2 euro). Older systems have a copper coin (e.g. the maravedi) for small transactions and day to day use, a silver coin (e.g. the real) for rich people and showing off and a gold coin (e.g the excelente) for trade, bullion, treasure and very large payments. The three were connected by a rate, but that rate was not more than the expression of the price of one metal, expressed in another (e.g. a gold sovereign moved anywhere from 20 to 30 shillings before it settled on 21). Meanwhile, poor people would think in copper, rich people in silver and traders in gold. There would be halves and multiples, but they would be destined for the same groups. As a consequence, each group would have a convenient coin to express other coins in.

Indian gold was more for decoration and diplomacy, but its monetary system also centered on the silver rupee and a copper unit. Multiples and fractions (especially the halves and quarters of silver and doubles of the copper coins) were struck, but of lesser importance until inflation set in. This explains why there is often quite a gap between the rupees and paisas of small, later feudal states issues. The British were simply minting according to demand.

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

Prosit

IV verses III

Let me throw this out for comment......

Ok suspose you are a minter and have several coin dies with III on them.  They represent a lot of time and effort and for branch mints being furnished dies from back home....it might take months if not years to get new ones.

Pretty easy to add a I to III to get IIII and keep using the dies on hand until a IV die shows up.  This brings to my mind certain Spanish colonial coins around 1800.

Dale

a3v1

@ Dale,
Figleaf is right when it comes to avoiding subtractions. Even in modern times this is often avoided in Roman numerals.
For example: The shortest way of writing 1950 is MLM but you'll never see this. Commonest is MCML or even MDCCCCL.
Regards,
a3v1
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
-------------
Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.

Figleaf

Dale, you are presuming that the successor has the same first name as the predecessor and they're looking in the same direction. Not always wrong, but certainly not always right. I think the Spanish Colonial coins with "fantasy heads" were made locally and from scratch, judging by the differences in style.

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

Prosit

Well I wasn't proposing it as an actual answer to the question but as a possibility in certain circumstances.

Consider Mexico coin KM#97.2 and KM#99 marked Charles III and Charles IIII but with same portrait.
and then KM#98 marked IV

Charles the IV became king in Dec 1788, but KM#97.2 (III) was struck until 1789.  KM#98 (IV) was struck in 1789 and 1790.  KM#99 was struck (IIII) in 1790  KM#100 was struck until 1800.  All of these have Charles III image on them. The first with Charles IV's image was well I am not sure but it was some time after those. 

Always thought I might collect in that area some day.

Dale

Figleaf

Good point, Dale. I was thinking of earlier coins.

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