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Awadh Rupee of Wajid Ali

Started by Rangnath, October 06, 2007, 06:21:10 PM

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Weight:  11.2 grams
Size: 24.5 mm
Date: AH 1269 or 1853-54 AD
Ruler: Wajid Ali Shah

Last of the Dynasty that ruled Awadh, Wajid Ali?s rupee is a fantasy fusion of Persian and English design. The fish and swords were royal symbols of Awadh, delightfully combined into warrior fish which frame the throne of power. The Nababs of  Awadh originally came from Nishapur, Persia. The language and court customs were Persian. Perhaps the fish was brought with them, even though Nishapur is far from the sea.
A study of Awadh history is a study of the interplay between the decline of the Moghul empire, the rise of the British Raj and the power politics of the 18th and 19th century. It was in Awadh where the first great revolt of Indian Independence was started in 1857.

BC Numismatics

Richie,that is a very nice silver Rupee from Oudh that you have got there.Wajid Ali was deposed in 1856 by the British on the grounds of misrule.Oudh was seized under the doctrine of lapse.

Lucknow was very hard to relieve once it came under siege during the Indian Mutiny (1857-58).



Neat, Rangnath!

I know of another landlocked area that used fish as a heraldic device. The pic shows a gros of Charles IV, duke of Lorraine (1661-1670). The fish are herring, a salt water fish!

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


What a great example Peter!
I wonder how many European heraldic devices the Nawab of Awadh had an opportuntiy to study before he came up with his final selection?
I'll bet the answer is "a lot".
Are there any obvious instances of Islamic influence on European coinage?


The fish is a mintmark often used during the later period of the Mughal Empire at mints that were located in towns near the main rivers in northern India. The kind fish depicted is mostly the catfish with large feelers. At Lucknow the earliest issue with a fish-mark depicted on it, is dated Ry.18 (1776/?77). The regnal 26 became frozen till AH 1234 (1818/?19). In that year the State of Awadh or Oudh became under strong British influence and the Nawab Ghazi ud-Din Haider was coroneted as King of Awadh. The British provided also the crown for that occasion and als a large coronation medal was issued with the crowned portrait of the ruler and with a Coat of Arms on the reverse consisting of two lions holding banners (with fish-marks on it) and with two fishes below. Successive rulers of Awadh have all used Coat of Arms with one or more fishes in it.
On the coins of Wajid Ali Shah the fishes are often described as mermaids, but on well executed specimen is clearly observed that it are fishes, having human figures in their beak.


At the bottom of the coat of arms is a wavy line.
(Could it be a millipede?)
Any signifcance there?


Coronation of King of Awadh



Is this the father of Wajid Ali?  What a gorgeous coin!


Thanks Rangnath for uploading this medal for me. Ghazi ud-Din Haider (as king 1819-1827) had a son Nasir ud-Din who succeeded his father (1827-1837). He was succeeded by his uncle Muhammad Ali Shah (1837-1842). Wajid Ali Shah (1847-1856) was Muhammad Ali?s grandson. The silver medal illustrated above weighs 78.78 g. and has a diameter of 66 mm.
You may also see that the wavy line at the bottom is not a millipede or so, but a kind of garland.