World of Coins
Adjacent hobbies => Coin scales, weights and handling machines => Topic started by: Abhay on March 04, 2010, 06:40:14 AM

Form 1835 to 1940s, the British India Rupee were machine struck, with a standard weight of 11.664 Grams (1 Tola). This tola weight became the popular unit for weighment. The normal unit for weighing was 1 SEER, which was made up of 80 TOLAS.
Recently, I have come across some weights, with RUPEE written on them, instead of normal TOLA. (An interesting weight of Bhopal with 24 RS written on it and 2 RUPEE brass weight).This further confirms that the RUPEE coins were quite frequently used as weights also.
Kindly see my previous thread reagrding use of 1 rupee coin as weight:
http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,5222.msg32323.html#msg32323
Abhay

Dear Engipress,
I reckon that the use of coins as weights, and the complex metrology of India in general, is almost certainly a deep well of information, which has not yet been researched as well as it deserves to be. Your post is a case in point  I would bet that not ten percent of collectors are well informed on the things you are telling us, and that includes most of us who have been collecting Indian coins seriously for some years. It is therefore a surprise that nobody has answered your kindly offered data. It is, perhaps, a subject outside the area of knowledge and interest for most of us, but that is just through ignorance. If you have some data that you wish to share, why not publish it, and maybe stimulate some interest and discussion in this almost ignored topic? What, for instance, is the relevance of the octagonal weight at the end of your posting?
Thanks for this stimulating posting. I am so ignorant that I do not even know what to ask you about them!
Sorry.
Salvete

I agree that this subject is very interesting!

Thanks a lot, Salvete and RHM.
Well, the Octagonal shape could just be a choice, out of many choices from Round, Hexagonal, Octagonal shapes. But I have noted one thing, that the whole set of Weights, like 1, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8, were of the same shape, and they used to "fit" on top of each other.
Here are some more weights:
Gwalior  1/2 and 1/4 Seer  Year 1906AD or VS1963  in the name of "Madho Rao Scindia Alizah Bahadur"
Alwar  1/2 Seer  Year VS1935.
Abhay

In some ways, maybe the choice of 'nesting' weights is the normal one, because, in the days before digital scales, the same pattern was used in England and Germany (and I suppose the rest of Europe, although I have no knowledge of that) for weights used by shopkeepers to sell vegetables and other commodities. They stacked easily and stably to weigh out whatever ammount was required. Even scientific balance weights were sometimes like that. The articles you have shown us are hidtorically important and would be interesting to study in detail. Nowhere near as common as rupees, though, so not as easily available to collect. Thanks again for posting those items, engipress.
Salvete

Here are some more weights:
Gwalior  1/2 and 1/4 Seer  Year 1906AD or VS1963  in the name of "Madho Rao Scindia Alizah Bahadur"
Alwar  1/2 Seer  Year VS1935.
Abhay
Abhay,
This is a nice and, in my opinion, a topic which has so far been ignored. One of the senior members of the Gujarat Coin Society, an exIAS officer has a few such weights here (http://indiannumismatics.com/allweights.php). Seeing this and looking at some of the weights in Jodhpur on a vaccation, I took up to picking up what came to hand. I was surprised at the complex weighing systems in place in India then. I have weights  Tola, Seer, Bazar Seer, .... (I'll add to this list as soon as I get back home to my collection). I had never heard of rupee weights so here is some addition to my knowledge. I agree that multiples and fractions could be piled up neatly so that they occupied minimum space.
Amit

Other weight standards that come to mind are of course Pound and Kilos.
One funny standard I do remember is 60 Sicca 1 seer. Does this mean that 1 seer = 60 sicca. If so, it is a standard which is different than what engipress has mentioned above. I sicca Rupee was 1 tola so 60 sicca would be 60 Tolas. Which meant that 1 seer = 60 tola.
Quite a fascinating area to study.
Amit

Your description of the "nested weights" reminds me of a type of weight sets pictured here. Open, they contain a number of tublike metal weights, whose weight has been cleverly chosen so that they can be combined. Closed, it is just a handy package. This luxury set is in the Dutch national museum (http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/aria/aria_assets/BKNM5153?page=0&lang=nl&context_space=aria_catalogs&context_id=Term_00022798_nl). See also this thread (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,5844.0.html).
Peter

Your description of the "nested weights" reminds me of a type of weight sets pictured here. Open, they contain a number of tublike metal weights, whose weight has been cleverly chosen so that they can be combined. Closed, it is just a handy package. This luxury set is in the Dutch national museum (http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/aria/aria_assets/BKNM5153?page=0&lang=nl&context_space=aria_catalogs&context_id=Term_00022798_nl). See also this thread (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,5844.0.html).
Peter
A wonderful piece. This also reminds of Russian Dolls. I think the idea must have come from Russian Dolls only.
Abhay

I must have missed this thread earlier. Its interesting to see that the Rupee was used as a standard of weight. Do you know if this was also applied in the Persian gulf? Until now I had only heard of the Maria Theresa Thaler being used as a standard of weight.

I am reminded that the the cartwheel pennies and tuppences of the George III 1797 issue actually had to contain one or two pence worth of copper, i.e. they weighed one and two ounces each; so these too could be used as weights.
As an aside: The modern predecimal halfpenny was exactly one inch in diameter and the penny, oneandonefifth inch; thus, twelve halfpennies sidebyside measured one foot, as did ten pennies.

I got two more brass weights  10 Rupee and 20 Rupee, again confirming the fact that the RUPEE was also used as a unit of Weight in place of TOLA. The weight of 10 Rupee is 116.70 Grams and that of 20 Rupee is 233.30 Grams, which is equivalent to 10 and 20 Tola respectively.
Abhay

I had lost track of this topic. I had (since sold) 2 weights of Bhopal as well as one of Tonk denominated in seer and Rupees. Here are the images for the Bhopal coins. I also have some weights of Kutch denominated in rupees which I will post later.
Bhopal 1/4 Seer  Rs. 24 and 1 seer  Rs. 96. The sironj (Tonk) had the weight of 1 seer as 92 Rupees.
Amit

Kindly join WoC Zoom meeting on 14th March 2021 for more on this topic.
Abhay

Highly recommended. Last month, Abhay did a spectacular presentation on pieces practically nobody had even heard of. They are quite rare, but Abhay wowed us with an extensive collection. I am sure he will go for a repeat performance next Sunday. Don't miss his presentation.
Peter

This is a fantastic subject which has been puzzling me for a long time.
Amit