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Hommage to Shah Alam II

Started by Rangnath, September 18, 2007, 06:57:27 AM

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In 1968, while passing by what once was the main gate into the once fortified city of Bhopal, I paused by a street vendor who was selling a variety of junk, old and new.  I looked over his wares and purchased for a few paisa three old coins.  Two I later learned were from Gwalior State.  But the third I've never been able to identify.
One side of the coin, the one with the sword, was nearly identical with one that I found in the Fitzwilliam collection. I'll post both of them for you. 
The side with the sword gives lip service to the Mughol ruler Shah Alam II. He was born in 1759 and died in 1806.  But I believe several states continued to give hommage to him years after his death.  Was that due to laziness, as a political statement or habit?
First, I'll post the coin I bought in Bhopal.


and now the fitzwilliam coin.

BC Numismatics

Richie,those are nice coins that you have posted photos of.The Mogul Emperor Shah Alam II was the very last of his dynasty that was able to exercise any real power.He became the East India Company's effective puppet ruler.His successors were allowed to reign over Delhi,but nowhere else.

Here's an article; .



The coin is most probably in the name of Shah Alam II, but the issuing authority is, despite the clear mark of a sword, not clear (at least to me). On the Fitzwilliam specimen a circular mark with Raij (current) written in it can be observed. Initial this mark was applied as a countermark on various copper coins, but later on it became also part of the die (as in this case). Such coins are commonly found in western Malwa. (See for instance some of the early issues of Ratlam KM#20). Whether this is an issue of Ratlam, I can?t confirm, as hardly any part of the mint name can be seen on the flan of the coin.


As for the posthumus coins in the name of Shah Alam, I can think of two reasons: first, political: the succession to the throne may have been an occasion for some smaller lord to wriggle away a bit from Delhi. With posthumous coins, they could avoid recognizing the new emperor in a way that could not be held against them. Second economic: the teeming masses thought older coins were better (heavier) than newer coins, so by issuing new coins that imitate older coins you can get away with lighter coins at their expense, which may put a break on their teeming and make your army a bit cheaper to maintain while not eating into your life of luxury. The two reasons may be applied at the ame time.

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