Author Topic: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas  (Read 682 times)

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Offline gsrctr

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Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« on: October 13, 2017, 03:48:24 AM »
There are two very similar types of pagodas with Lord Venkateshwara on the obverse, one with clear Nagiri script "Sri Venkatesaya Namaha" on the reverse and other with nonsense script. Both are usually sold as pagodas by Vijayanagar King Venkatapati Raya. However the Dutch numismatic website is very specific that the coin with degenerate legend is one of the first pagodas by Dutch from Pulicat (or Paliakate) mint. It makes perfect sense, as no Indian king would use nonsense script that just resembles Nagiri.

From (http://wiki.muntenenpapiergeld.nl/index.php?title=Pagode) English translation:

"The Dutch first made pagoda after 1646 in Paliakate . These have a standing deity on the vz and on the kz a non-readable text separated by two double lines. These pagodas are direct imitations of the pagoda of the last Vijayanagar frost, Venkatapiraya III (1630-1641), which resided in neighboring Chandragiri."

Here are the two pictures from that website:

Offline gsrctr

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 04:04:23 AM »
Noted numismatist Lingen also supports this view (https://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=169884).

However, there exists a half-pagoda, with similar obverse and again meaningless script on the reverse. These are again usually sold as by Venkatipati Raya. Neither the zeno.ru nor the Dutch website mention this half pagoda. I recently bought the coin below, and just cannot decipher the script.

I see that one of the well-known Indian auction houses (Oswal Auctions) is selling a bunch of these coins at ebay.in, attributing them to Dutch from Pulicat mint (e.g., http://www.ebay.in/itm/Indo-Dutch-Gold-1-2-Pagoda-1-71g-Pulicat-Mint-Ref-2751-/292281451577?hash=item440d550439:g:ITAAAOSwroFZ1g2g).

So, from all the above, it looks like the pagodas (both full and half) with unreadable script are by Dutch from Pulicat mint.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2017, 10:41:30 AM »
The story of the Dutch influence in Pulicat starts with its conquest by Mir Jumela, a general of the "king of Golconda" in 1646. Apparently, Golconda was allied with the VOC, as the company acquired minting rights for gold coins. Pulicat was lost to Britain by the treaty of Paris in 1784, as British (Sir Edward Hughes) and French (Pierre de Suffren) fleets bickered about its ownership (battle of Negapatnam, battle of Cuddalore) while the Dutch fleet (Jacob van Heemskerk) had surrendered without a fight.

The gold coins are described by Scholten (1202) as (my translation) facing image in deep relief of the four-armed deity Ganga in a cone-shaped tiara holding lower right a trisul, lower left a little pot, upper left a sankha, upper right a chakram. The corresponding coin in the SCWC is KM 41. Scholten found only on copy and reports 7.484 grams, 22.5 mm.

Scholten says the Pulicat pagodas were worth more than "other" pagodas (presumably the Porto Novo pagodas). In 1662, Negapatnam, the VOC HQ in India, started minting Porto Novo type pagodas (same as the Pulicat coins, but with a granulated reverse). In 1677, the production of Pulicat pagodas was moved to Negapatnam. Scholten says they would have had an N above each shoulder and they were not known to him. I presume, having both Pulicat and Porto Novo pagodas circlating was a delight for money changers and confusing for everybody else, which could explain why the Pulicat pagodas marked N are not known to exist any more.

The production of Pulicat pagodas in Negapatnam was stopped in 1747. It was replaced (!) by a Porto Novo type pagoda with diminished gold content (800/1000), so that it could compete with EIC star pagodas.

As you will understand, under these circumstances, the VOC (and locals) had a motive to produce light-weight Pulicat pagodas and they were probably produced in Negapatnam, rather than Pulicat.

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

Offline gsrctr

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 04:40:33 PM »
I think Scholten  may be wrong about the weight. The European companies copied the prevalent Indian pagodas at that time and there were no gold coins in South India heavier than 3.5 grams. There is another authentic source as well.

Tavernier made six voyages to India between the years 1630 and 1668. This is what I find in his book (from the first English translation).

"The Money which the Englifh and Hollanders Coin in the Indies.
.
.
Fig. 3. and 4. is the Gold Money which the Hollanders coin at Palicate
which is a Fort that they poffefs upon the Coaft of Coromandel Thofe pieces
are alfo call'd Pagods, and are of the fame weight with the others ; but for
the goodnefs, I think they are better by two or three in the hundred, than
thofè of the Kings and Raja's of the Country, or which the Englifh make,
I made this obfervation, being at the Diamond-Mines, and in other parts of
the Indies where there is any great Trade. For the firft thing they ask you
is, whether you have any Pagods of Palicate ; and if you have, you fpeed much
better in your bufinefs." (sic)

So the Pulicat pagodas by the Dutch were the same weight, but of higher gold content. The illustration (below) in the book was hand-drawn, but shows clearly that the reverse had some kind of writing.


Offline Oesho

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 07:45:08 PM »
I wrote about the subject of the Dutch pagoda struck at Pulicat in Spink's Numismatic Circular:
Lingen, J., Note on the earliest Madras pagoda struck by the British E.I.C., Numismatic Circular, vol. LXXXVII-1 (1979) 2-3.

Offline Oesho

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 07:56:33 PM »
Nowhere is recorded the Dutch or the British coined half pagodas. The half pagoda with very crude Nagari legend is in fact an issue of Venkatapiraya III (1630-1641).
Attached a half pagoda of Venkatapiraya III.

Offline gsrctr

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 05:08:10 AM »
Thank you, Oesho, for your article. I have looked to get a copy of it for a long time.

Yes, I agree, there was no reference to a half pagoda by the Dutch. However, given that the full pagoda of Venkatipatiraya has completely legible Nagari script, it does not make sense that the half pagoda has this weird script. Oswal Antiques is a well-known dealer in Bombay and they have listed these as Dutch - will check with them. As an aside, I met a few dealers on a recent visit to India and almost everyone has a handful of these half pagodas for sale.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Dutch Pulicat Pagodas vs Vijayanagar Venkatapati Raya Pagodas
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 02:12:29 PM »
Oesho's point that
Quote
Nowhere is recorded the Dutch or the British coined half pagodas.
should be seen in the light of the circumstances at the time. The leaders of the Dutch colonialists were in fact officials and representatives of the VOC, just like their English and British counterparts were in the service of the EIC. This means that they reported on everything they did and more to their HQ in order to absolve their responsibility. If they had to take emergency measures, they reported afterwards, otherwise, they would usually ask permission from their company for far-reaching measures, including coinage.

The correspondence of both companies was preserved and has been analysed extensively. The tendency is to find coins in that correspondence that are unknown and were probably never issued, rather than to find coins that were issued without approval before or after. In that sense, if there is no trace of a coin in the correspondence, it is likely that the coin was not issued by the VOC or EIC.

By contrast, local rulers have very often issued coins without permission and any correspondence with higher authorities is normally quite incomplete. Therefore, undocumented coins are likely to have been issued by a local ruler.

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