BRITISH INDIAN COINS TO MAKE NUMISMATIC HISTORY

Baldwin’s are delighted to present part two of the most impressive collection of Indian coinage ever to be sold by public auction. Due to be held on the 31 May at the CIPFA Conference Centre in London the auction will contain 291 lots of Patterns and Proofs of British India, the Presidencies and the Indian Native States.

1839 Silver Pattern Rupee

1839 Silver Pattern Rupee


Lot 796, a Silver Pattern Rupee of 1839, crafted by an unidentified Indian engraver at the Bombay mint, is perhaps the most important piece of the entire collection. Very little is known about the coin with Pridmore only able to add that it was submitted to the Supreme Government in 1839, but rejected. The only additional information that can be derived from his writings on the History of the East India Company is that the engraver at the Bombay mint in 1838 was Jewram Shamji. An early 20th century catalogue of the coins in the Calcutta mint states that two of these patterns reside there but it is unknown if they are still in-situ at the museum. This auction offers a superb opportunity for the buyer of the coin to become part of numismatic history as the owner of one of the most important coins of British India. This impressive coin carries an estimate of £60,000 – 80,000.

In amongst the other items in the sale are some of the most exciting offerings from the British Indian series ever to have been offered at public auction. Lot 748, a 1904 Copper Pattern ½-Anna, is one of only three examples known to exist. Of the three, lot 748 and a second specimen, from the Norman Jacobs Collection, are the only two available to private collectors. The third is housed in the Calcutta Museum. The minstmaster was clearly thinking ‘outside the box’ when he created this pattern, the Rupee die was available as the obverse but a completely new and fresh reverse was made to strike this 31mm coin. This rare opportunity to own a coin of this caliber, in this condition, accounts for the estimate of £20,000 – 30,000.

Lot 849, a 1941 Silver original Pattern Dollar, is the pattern photographed in the Stevens & Weir book, The Uniform Coinage of India 1835-1947. In the cataloguing of the coin Baldwin’s specialist Randy Weir describes it as “exciting just to look at.” The patterns were produced because of a shortage of silver during the Second World War and with thoughts of making commerce easier by producing a higher denomination coin. It was also felt that it might be possible to only put 2-Rupees worth of silver into a 2 ½ Rupee coin. Around the same time the mint decided to reduce the amount of silver in their coins and it is thought that perhaps they believed this additional currency would be too much for the public to bear. David Fore and Randy Weir spent twenty years trying to obtain one of these proofs and, according to Weir, ‘’couldn’t stop smiling for a week” once it was located. This attractive and historic piece is estimated to sell for £30,000 – 40,000.

Formed over twenty five years by a passionate collector of Indian coins, and a specialist with the diligence to locate the best examples, this collection is the culmination of a quest to build a monumental collection of the finest British Indian coinage. The collection in its entirety contains over four thousand coins, of which, between 300 and 400, were formerly in the world famous Fred Pridmore collection, which was catalogued by A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd and sold by auction by Glendinings between September 1981 and October 1983.

Part one of this collection has been sold today as part of a three day Baldwin’s auction extravaganza alongside part three of the Bentley Collection of British Gold Sovereigns and The Horus Collection of Islamic coins. The auctions will take place in London between 7 – 9 May and catalogues are available online at www.baldwin.co.uk/sales-calendar. Part three of this collection will be sold on the 26 September as part of Coinex, the UK’s largest numismatic coin convention.

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