Author Topic: Muhammad Shah (AH1131-61, 1719-48AD), Paisa, AH1144/RY14, Machilipatan, KM#430.5  (Read 3046 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Mass=13.8 g

Obverse Sanat 1144 Mubarak Jalus (Year 1144 of His Auspicious Reign)



Reverse Zarb Machilipatan Sanat 14 (Struck at Machilipatan in Year 14)


Offline Salvete

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It seemed to me that Machhlipatan struck one of the, if not the commonest of the dams and half dams during the reigns of many emperors since late in the reign of Aurangzeb.  And the design did not change much for most of that period, so that the date is often the only way of knowing for sure which type is in one's hand.  And if there is no date......

I wondered why this place struck so much copper specie, and tried to find out a little about the place.  Most people will know that machhli means fish, and this place was a 'fish-town' - an important fishing centre - in Mughal times.  The place got a lot of bad publicity for the smell that apparently pervaded the place and for miles around.  Presumably a lot of copper specie was required for monetising the fishing industry?  There is a book 'Masulipatan and Cambay' by Arasaratnam and Ray that gives an account of the history of both places, available second-hand via Amazon, if anybody is interested in reading about either place.  Trying to match the coining patterns in these towns to the history is of some interest, and may be of value - especially Cambay, the ownership of which seems to be in doubt at some periods in its history.

It seems likely that many of the dates of the copper coins of Machhlipatan would be available if anybody sought them out, although perhaps it is doubtful that a long date-run of these coppers would teach us much about the coinage, the industry, the rulers, or anything much else.  Good specimens are attractive, fairly broad flan coins, and perhaps it is worth going after them for that reason alone.....

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline Figleaf

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Pure speculation, but here goes. The VOC was of course active around Masulipatan, as they called it. Two elements come to mind.

First, your average 18th century Dutchman was not afraid of the smell of rotting fish. I was born in a small fishermen's village on the Dutch coast. I remember the smell of rotting fish in the fisherman's port as nauseating, but my parents and grandparents didn't even notice it.

Second, the VOC trading offices were continually short of coin and most of the coins used were copper. If copper traded in Masulipatan at the slightest discount, because of the fish industry, the VOC would have been happy to take full advantage of that, creating a potentially almost infinite demand for copper coins of Masulipatan as long as the discount persisted.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 05:16:15 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Salvete

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Your reply is thoughtful and interesting, Peter.  I have saved it and will get back to it when the weather cools down, and my brain becomes semi-conscious again.  You are right that VOC personnel were well thought of in India for their resiliance, general honesty and reliability in tight situations.  Perhaps it is a shame that our respective governments so often made it impossible for England and Holland to cooperate in India.  I am certain that you are right to suggest that a bad smell would not be sufficient to chase a Dutchman away from a potential profit   ;D .  Maybe I may come back to this subject when I wake up?

Thanks, Peter

Barry
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline Oesho

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Shortage of dabu’s (copper dubs) disrupted the trade in cloth and not the trade in fish.
Dubs were struck at Masulipatam from c.AH1103 (c.AD1691). On 5 November 1752 the Dutch received a Parwanna from the Nawab of Rajamundry, Ja’afar Ali Khan, to establish a mint at Jaggarnaikpuram, alias Jagannathpur. According to those privileges the Dutch were allowed to import copper, silver and other metals from abroad, to mint these minerals with the Emperor’s name, to grace his name and make him illustrious; moreover to comfort the poor, with the aim that the coins – dubs – would become cheaper.
The Dutch East India Company did in fact made use of their privilege, which is evident from letters sent from Negapatnam to Batavia. In a letter shipped to Batavia on 24 May 1758 it is noticed, that the ‘dabboesen’ issued and sent from Jaggernaijkpuram are disadvantageous to the Honourable Company. Monthly 10 bahar or 4.800 lb Japanese bar-copper was converted, after deduction of the cost, into 160.140 dubs. They were put into circulation against a rate of 37 ½ per guilder, which accounted in the books for a loss of 243 guilder and 8 stiver. Therefore instructions were sent from Negapatnam to Jaggarnaikpuram and Bimlipatan to put ‘dabboesen’ in circulation against 35 pieces to a guilder which would provide a small profit of 6 guilders-2 stiver-8 doit/bahar.
According to the instructions the minting of copper ‘dabboesen’ needed to be ceased, if it was not possible to put them in circulation at a rate of 35 pieces to a guilder. In that case it would be more advantageous to sell the copper at a profit rather than to mint ‘dabboesen’ from it.
Also from other sources it is acknowledged that the Company minted copper coins at Jaggarnaikpuram. Pridmore cites Dalrymple, who mentions “the Dutch coined dubs at Bimlipatan and Jaggernaikpuram (now Kakinada) to the amount of 10.000 pagodas worth annually. The Dutch coin was lighter in weight than the (British) Company’s dub but had the same stamp.”. According to Pridmore this indicates that around the years 1791, different mint-ateliers, under European supervision, issued identical coins.
The British Company’s dub was struck at their mints at Masulipatam and Vizagapatnam. The coins were in type a continuation of the native coin-type introduced about AH1103 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir and struck at the mint at Masulipatam.
After Masulipatam was ceded to the French in 1752, the same coin-type continued. Also after the British in April/May 1759 captured Masulipatam from the French, the same type of copper dub was continued until the mint at Masulipatam was fianally closed on 1 July 1808.
About the English mint at Vizagapatnam is very little known. It commenced striking dubs in 1797. Depending on the supply of copper, the Mint remained active till 1809, when it was closed.
The dubs struck by the Dutch in their mint at Jaggarnaikpuram in all probability whereof the same type as those of Masulipatam, which is also affirmed by Dalrymple´s quotation.
According to Pridmore, the Dutch established a mint at Bimlipatan under authority of a grant from the Zamindar of Vizianagram.
With the return of the Dutch factories in India in 1818, in accordance with the London Treaty of 1814, the right to strike gold, silver and copper at Bimlipatam was one of the privileges claimed by the Dutch. The British counterpart agreed with it as he mentions in the margin of his report:
""It appears that the Dutch coined copper at Bimlipatam up to AD1794. The cowls af the Raja of Vizianagram, copies of which have been received from the Collector of Vizagapatnam, since the report was prepared, mentioned the mint as one of the privileges.`
There is, however, no evidence that minting activities were revived.

Not much attention has been paid regarding the copper dubs and the only extensive article about this subject was published in the J.N.S.I., vol. XXX (1968) p.162-166.
Except for a few coins, which differ slightly in design, all coins have as their mint-name: Machhlipatam. No coins have been observed with mint-name Vizagapatnam, Bimlipatam, nor Jaggatnathpur or Jaggarnaikpuram.
If all these issues of the different mints were of the same stamp as Dalrymple says, it will be very difficult if not impossible to differentiate between the issues of the different mints.
During a certain period of the British administration, dubs with a prominent M (for Masulipatam) were produced. The last observed date for a Machhlipatam dub is AH1222-47 (1807/08), which is the same year that the mint at Masulipatam was closed.


« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 12:12:55 AM by Oesho »

Offline Salvete

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Even when I wake up, I will certainly have nothing to add to this material, Oesho.  I have copied and stored this reply with my other notes of Masulipatan, because it has extra details to those I already have, and I thank you for such a brilliant and complete reply, Mr Library-head  ;) .  Importantly, you have not suggested that there is any way to tell most of the dubs apart except by date.  The opening date for the mint will be useful to many readers, including me, because it makes it clear that there were no coins dated before AH 1103.  This may be noted elsewhere, by A N Other, of course, but would not carry as much weight of authority with most of us as a statement by you to that effect.  Again, many thanks.  We may have recourse to this subject at some future date, but for now, I, at least, am satisfied.

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline Oesho

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Dear Salvete,
The above text would require days of research, if not longer. Fortunately I had already done this and the above text is a synopsis of it. The whole article could be read in the supplement to the ONS Newsletter 161, Autumn 1999: Jagannathpur (Jaggernaikpuram); a Mint town of the Dutch East India Company, p.5-14.

Offline Salvete

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Thanks for the reminder, Oesho.  I had forgotten that you also dealt with coins of Masulipatan in the Jaganathpur paper you read on that day.  It all seems like so long ago now.  Ken was also there, singing the praises of Shailen, The Fount of Knowledge.  I will take another look at that paper in the next few days.

Thanks again.

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline Figleaf

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Enjoyed that, Oesho. Thanks!

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