Author Topic: Quality of Gold in gold coins  (Read 1091 times)

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Offline coin_lover

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Quality of Gold in gold coins
« on: May 02, 2016, 10:04:21 PM »
Hi Guys, it is Tipu here, from collecting Mysore coins I thought I will also collect few gold mughal coins however as you guys can understand that gold coins cost a lot. I just want to understand that the gold used in these coins is it like the 22 carat or 24 carat gold as we get in modern gold coins? pls guide

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Quality of Gold in gold coins
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2016, 11:03:01 PM »
The short answer is I don't know. However, I can tell you you should not judge old coins by modern standards. For starters, 24 carat (100% gold) does not exist in a scientific sense. Even the Canadian mint, no slouches when it comes to producing hot air, claims a purity of 99.99% for its "pure" gold coins.

More important, carats are a typical European standard, unlikely to have been used by the Moghuls. What they most probably wanted was gold "as pure as it gets". As refining technology progressed, that was a significantly higher purity under the last Moghuls than under the first ones.

But my third point is why care what the purity is? The numismatic value of such coins is (probably far) beyond the gold value, so neither the purity of the gold nor the gold price has an influence on the price of the coin. Or are you interested in historic refining technologies?

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

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Quality of Gold in gold coins
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2016, 11:58:00 PM »
Gold refining has usually been to a high standard, due to the high value placed on the metal, and many coins throughout history have probably been issued at 'as pure as it gets' as Peter says.

The Roman/Byzantine gold started out at a theoretical '24 carat', i.e. as pure as they could make it, and this was maintained by constant remelting and refining. 24 carats was actually the weight of the solidus, and any alloy added would have reduced the purity, though the weight was maintained, so a coin with 23 carats weight of gold and 1 carat weight of alloy would be '23 carat' gold.

The mediaeval English coinage was issued at 23 carats 3 1/2 grains pure (994.8/1000): how pure their '24 carat' gold was I don't know, but a book I have which gives details of the surviving trial plates in the Royal Mint museum shows the accuracy was very good (e.g. the 1477 trial plate was just 1.3 parts below standard (993.5 instead of 994.8 )

I don't see why Indian refiners should be less competent, so I suspect that most of the Mughal gold will be 23 carat at least. Smaller states in troubled times may well be much lower though.

Alan
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 01:58:17 AM by Manzikert »

Offline coin_lover

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Re: Quality of Gold in gold coins
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2016, 10:02:02 PM »
Thanks a lot Peter, helpful as ever.

I do agree with you Alan, infact British exported lot of gold outside India as Indian gold was considered of high standard at that point of time.