Author Topic: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin  (Read 162 times)

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Offline alamgirian

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Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« on: August 10, 2019, 12:49:31 PM »
Need help of the experts in placing a curious coin of Tipu Sultan. The size, style and weight do not match any copper paisas. A couple of other differences in the inscription from Silver and Gold issues. I have a theory but I need your opinion. Not listed in the Krause Catalog or a couple of other reference books i checked. Coin is slightly oblong in shape, made of copper. The inscriptions are:

OBV: deen e ahmad dar  jahan roshan fateh haider ast, zarb (mint name) saal Delo sun 1200 hijri

translation: The religion of Ahmad is illuminated in the world by the victories of Haider, struck at (mint name) Year Dalo (40th year of the Lunar cycle) Year 1200 Hijri

REV: hu al-sultan al-waheed ul aadil, som bahari, saal Dalo, sun 4 jaloos

translation: The Sultan, the unique (one of a kind) the just, third day of Bahar (2nd month of Tipu new calendar) Year Dalo (40th year of the Lunar cycle) Regnal year 4

Weight: 15.8 grams (243 grains) Size: Shorter diameter 30 mm, larger diameter 34 mm

Offline alamgirian

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 12:50:19 PM »
I don't believe this is a circulation coin. My fear is that it's a fake, but my hope is that it is pattern or specimen of sorts.
This was the last year before Tipu changed his calender from Hijri to Mauludi and before he started naming his coins. Also he changed the month names as well in his 5th year of rule. As a matter of historical fact, there was a break of a few months between when the old calender was abolished and new one started, and Tipu Sultan apparently did not have any coins minted in the duration.

I was thinking that maybe he experimented on new designs etc for the copper coins and this maybe one.
I say so because the quality of the calligraphy is absolutely perfect and seems right for the time. Not work of a "kharaadia". While it looks similar to the inscriptions of his silver coin, there are some differences. Such as the day is written as "som bahari" rather than "so'em bahari". So'em on his coins is much more common. A couple other similar differences from silver rupees. That's what gives me hope that it was not some one trying to make a fake copy of a silver rupee.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2019, 06:02:01 PM »
Highly interesting piece! Thanks for posting. Your expertise is obviously at a higher level than mine, but maybe I can add some musings.

It is highly uncommon for hand struck pieces to require trials, while it is common for machine-struck pieces. This is simply because humans can give feedback and can be told to do things differently. Machines can only be adjusted. In addition, in older days, there was no great urge to keep specimen and records. Patterns do occur with hand-struck coin. A new design needed approval and mints were hot and uncomfortable places. If the ruler can't come to the coin, the coin must come to the ruler. Patterns are usually struck on special planchets (thicker or larger or in a more precious metal)and with special care, so that all details are clear. Your piece doesn't look like a pattern.

You say the piece looks pretty official, though, so we must think of some other official use. My best guess is "generosity money". These are coins that look better than they are. They fit in a tradition where a ruler is travelling and has money spread to those on the sides of the road as he is passing, encouraging them to cheer the ruler. It is a widespread tradition and one that was firmly implanted in India by the example of the Mughals. These coins are "limited edition" and were spent as fast as possible because of their bad intrinsic value, making them scarce for today's collectors. While I think your piece would qualify, my reasoning is speculative.

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

Offline shiblius

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 01:29:51 AM »
The Farsi also has some issues on this coin. The main legend starts with:

دین احمد در جہان روشن فتح حیدر است

Translates roughly to: Religion of Ahmed in this illuminated world is the victory of Haider.

The usual legend on the silver coins of Tipu is:

دین احمد در جہان است روشن ز فتح حیدر

The religion of Ahmed in this world is illuminated by the victory of Haider (Haidar was not only the name of Tipu's father but also a title of Ali, the fourth Caliph of Islam and the cousin of the Prophet of Islam). I don't think that Tipu's coin would have an ambiguous or poorly constructed legend.

Similarly, the placement of the name of the mint Calicut (which is not substantiated by any evidence from the coin) on the reconstructed (complete) die is also questionable, if indeed the legend was arranged as indicated there would be considerable blank areas above and below the mint name.

Offline coin_lover

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 11:47:47 AM »
extremely unusual, bad attempt to fake with silver script on copper??

Offline coin_lover

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 01:52:07 PM »
the other give away feature is the rosettes , very crude and no order in them

Offline alamgirian

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 01:52:46 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies. My response @coin_lover: that assumption that it was an attempt to fake a silver coin on copper does not make sense. Most scammers would use debased / pig silver to make a fake coin. There is not much profit to be made in copper. Your point on the rosettes is very good. They do seem to be clumsy.

@shiblius: you are correct about the discrepancy in the farsi script, although i must have seen images of over a couple of hundred different Tipu coins and I did notice some variations in the script and the placement of words. Also, for reference i went through the books "Coins of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan" by J.R. Henderson and he has also mentioned more than a few variations of the legend.

@Figleaf: your suggestion about it being a 'largess coin' is what really piques my interest. the irregular shape of the coin would add to your point. a generosity type money may have been minted quickly and with the idea that people would spend it right away or have it exchanged with the 'sarafs' or 'money changers' of the time who probably would end up selling back the coins as bullion to the govt.

because the calligraphy and the shapes of the letters is so perfect, it suggests that a professional engraver did the job (as this does not look like a die cast coin to me).

Once again I thank all of you for taking your time. I just hope to see at least 1 more similar coin. Even if it is a fake, there has got to be more than just this one, strange that I have never seen it in all my collecting years in person or on the internet.

Offline shiblius

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Re: Unusual Tipu Sultan coin
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 03:51:43 PM »
@alamgirian: There are variations in the placement of specific words on Tipu's coins, however (specifically for the silver coins that bear the relevant legend) there are zero variations in the legend's contents (apart from the year/mint and other specifics, ref. Henderson and Taylor specifically the rupees/double rupees of Tipu). The legend as inscribed on the illustrated coin is almost heretical, and there is no way Tipu had this placed on coins. The weight is completely off for any denomination whatsoever. Also, the point about the calligraphy being great does not come across that well especially if you compare it to official (real) issues of Tipu.

Given all this evidence (IMHO) this is just a tourist token, a fantasy piece. Tourist copies that combine features of different issues are well known, especially for Tipu's coins.