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THE DAVID FORE COLLECTION – 1839 Rupee Breaks Record

THE DAVID FORE COLLECTION 1839 Rupee Breaks Record Becoming the First Silver British Indian Coin to Sell for a Six Figure Sum

A packed auction room and sixty one online bidders competed to buy a piece of numismatic history last Friday, in the second of three auctions that see the David Fore Collection of coins of British India going under the hammer. The auction totalled a fantastic £1,317,600 (inclusive of Buyer’s Premium) and takes the total of the 1092 lots sold far to £2,181,365, with a further 1200 lots to be sold in the third and final part of the collection.

1839 Silver Rupee
1839 Silver Rupee

The jewel in the crown of the David Fore collection was lot 796, which sold through this auction. The exquisite 1839 silver pattern Rupee was the first Indian Rupee with a portrait made by an Indian engraver and was crafted at the Bombay Mint. 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 wonderful piece was the first silver British Indian coin to sell for a six figure sum and it made £132,000 against an estimate of £60,000.

Baldwin’s British Indian coin consultant and principal cataloguer of the David Fore Collection, Randy Weir, commented after the auction:
“Steady growth in the Indian economy has produced a buoyant market of new collectors willing to pay top prices for rare and quality items and Baldwin’s are uniquely positioned to offer them, having operated at the forefront of this emerging market for the last twenty years.
I put estimates on these coins that reflect the rarity of the pieces with items being one of fewer than ten known examples and, knowing the strength of the market, I felt justified in putting estimates on coins significantly higher than they have sold for in the past. The 1839 Rupee is one of those coins that just speaks to the collector. We had three or four buyers we knew would be prepared to pay a six figure sum for this coin.

Our top estimate of £1,000,000 for this sale was still exceeded by some £300,000, confirming the strength in the market that I felt would be there. Coins sold to collectors around the world, and I am convinced that the items these collectors bought from this collection will seem like bargains in the years to come as the Indian market really starts to mature.”

The internet proved to be an invaluable tool providing bidders from all over the world with a platform to logon and bid live using the service provided by 37% of the total lots were purchased online, contributing 23% of the total hammer price. Lot 795, an 1835C gold proof set of the currency coins (the Rupee, ½ Rupee and ¼ Rupee) sold online to a European buyer for a staggering £80,000.

The third part of this fabulous collection will go under the hammer on the 25th September as part of Baldwin’s three days of official Coinex auctions. It will be closely followed by the auction of the first of two parts of The Arielle Collection of British Colonial Coins on the 26th September. More details of all Baldwin’s forthcoming auctions can be found online at