Author Topic: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!  (Read 248 times)

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Offline abhinumis

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Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« on: August 12, 2017, 09:29:46 PM »
Hi all,
Posting a very rare coin after a long gap!
The coin is a 1 cash coin of mint Mahmud bandar in the name of Shah Alam I. 3.48 gms.. 112xAH/Ry 3
'Mahmud Bandar' was the Islamicate name of Porto Novo, present day Parangipettai, located on the north bank of the mouth of the Vellarriver at a distance of 30 KM from Cuddalore, in Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu. It was called by the Portuguese and Dutch as Porto novo.  By the time this coin was struck, Daud Khan Panni had been the de facto Nawab of Carnatic under whose authority it must have been issued.
Do comment
Dr.Abhishek

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2017, 09:18:39 AM »
I am intrigued by you calling this coin 1 cash. That is of course a Chinese denomination, but, more than that, it is an indication of a totally different coin system. I see large influences of the Chinese cash system in Central Asia, so it is certainly technically possible to have cash in India, but this is the first time I see an Indian coin called 1 cash.

The weight of about 3.5 grams seems a bit heavy for a 1 cash and the date is quite late for a 1 cash outside the traditional cash area. What do you base the denomination on?

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

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2017, 10:10:23 AM »
I am intrigued by you calling this coin 1 cash. That is of course a Chinese denomination, but, more than that, it is an indication of a totally different coin system. I see large influences of the Chinese cash system in Central Asia, so it is certainly technically possible to have cash in India, but this is the first time I see an Indian coin called 1 cash.

Peter

the denomination 'cash' has been used in India for centuries, Search 'Travancore cash' on WoC or the well known /amman Cash of Pudukkottai for e.g.
Vic

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2017, 01:39:40 PM »
That's a bit of a misnomer. Am on the road now, so from memory, in the early middle ages, the Tamil empire of the Cholas was a dominant force in the South of the continent. Its benchmark coin, the kahavanu was the inspiration for a Chinese word meaning a square holed coin, that the English transmogrified into cash. Fair enough, but that doesn't make South Indian coins Chinese or Chinese coins South Indian. If any modern South Indian coin is called cash, I suspect it is a far descendent of the South Indian kahavanu, not of any Chinese coin.

However, the coin pictured in this thread is not a South Indian style very small copper with place for only a few non-Arabic characters. It is a moghul style coin weighing more than a typical Chinese cash. That puzzles me.

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

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2017, 03:47:54 PM »
If you Google the origins of the word 'Cash' it doesn't point  straight to China as you would expect, The English use comes from India no doubt from centuries of EIC trading. 
Vic

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2017, 08:11:36 PM »
The origin of the word cash in the meaning of "a coin or unit of value" is from South India (originally kahavanu, kasu in Tamil, kasi in Sinhalese). The detour through China is not important or even relevant. My question concerns rather why this coin is called cash. It looks like the options are:
  • South Indian kahavanu (but the coin is not typically South Indian)
  • Chinese cash coin (but the coin is not typically Chinese)
  • Fantasy denomination
BTW, the word cash in this meaning should not be confused with cash meaning "ready money", which comes from words in European languages meaning something like money box (compare cashier.)

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

Offline mitresh

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 04:11:22 PM »
Lovely coin Abhishek.

Peter, I think the coin denomination per-se is not 1 cash but is referred to as a 'cash' coin based on metrology as a copper kasu or cash coin usually weighed around 3.3-3.4g range, like this specimen. Since the mint is in Tamil Nadu, it may have been very common to consider this coin, by weight, as equivalent to a cash coin.
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 08:39:55 PM »
Thank you, Mitresh. You are saying that there is an option additional to the three I mentioned above: the coin circulated in South India, where it reminded people of the local kahavanu, so it got the label "cash" stuck to it. Quite credible, but it begs a follow-up question: what was it called in the rest of India? If numismatists today call it cash, they are either following an all-Indian tradition (somehow, the name cash spread to the rest of India) or a South-Indian tradition. In the latter case, why ignore how it was called in the rest of India?

My questions are not just nags of an old fogey. We have now agreed that "cash" is not Chinese, which is historically pretty important. The remaining question is whether the name is historically appropriate or an example of early research, being copied from one book to another without anyone questioning it. Who better to think about and discuss the questions than the dedicated, educated, enthusiastic amateurs assembled here?

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

Offline mitresh

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2017, 05:55:46 AM »
I'll give you a local parallel. I stay in Dubai where the local "1" unit coin denomination is called the 'dirham' and mentioned as such on the coin. However, it is very common amongst local traders and SE Asian community members to refer to the coin as a 'Rupee' because of their familiarity with the name back home. The traders/shopkeepers quote price in Rupee and consumers/buyers enquire price in rupee even though the underlying currency/monetary denomination is not rupee but dirham. It is part cultural part familiarity with a known denomination that I think gives rise to this practice.

Similarly, I think the Mughal issued their coins as per tri-metallic standards of Mohur, Rupee and Paisa however in the local context in South India, the copper unit of 'kasu' weight was perhaps used in local trade parlance as such and hence stuck to it rather than any official intention to name the denomination 'kasu' or cash.
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 01:51:13 PM »
Sure, Mitresh. Something similar happens in the Netherlands. I noticed that when immigrant Turks discuss with each other in Turkish, they use the word "kurus" for eurocent. That's fine. But what if some future archeologist-author decides that the currency of Dubai in the 21st century was the rupee? Or that the currency of the Netherlands in the 21st century was the Lira? As you note, we know that the currency of India in the time of Shah Alam was the gold mohur, the silver rupee and copper paisa, not the pagoda and the kasu.

It has become clear to me from this discussion that nobody knows for what reason this coin was called "cash" outside South India, as "cash" is likely a local nickname from South India only.

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

Offline mitresh

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Re: Copper coin of Shah Alam I, Mahmud bandar mint.. Rare!
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 05:29:42 AM »
Yes correct Peter. 'Cash' or 'Kasu' was a local currency denomination used in South India only.
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