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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton IX, Lot: 1700. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 January 2006. 
Sold For $4500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

INDIA. Mughal Empire. Nur al-Din Muhammad Jahangir.1605-1628. AR Half Rupee (5.69 g, 9h). Ajmir mint. Dated AH 1032; RY 18 (1622/3 AD). "The coin becomes light of the world" / Legend with regnal year and mint above; palm symbol. Wright -; cf. Hull 1484 (rupee); BMC -; cf. KM 145.1. EF. Fine style, two small punch marks, struck on a broad presentation flan. ($5000)

The Mughal emperors had quickly discovered the propaganda value of coinage. Their use of poetical allusions to the glory of the emperor brought numismatic calligraphy to its greatest height of exuberance. They also understood the symbolism of magnificent gifts from the potentate to valued civil servants, honored guests and even the power populace. Jahangir began the tradition of nisar, or "scatter" coins, small denominations to be distributed to the people on ceremonial occasions. We also begin to see coins struck on specially prepared flans, with full legends and ornamentation visible, for presentation at court affairs. These would evolve into the nazarana presentation and coronation pieces struck for the later Princely States. And finally, Jahangir ordered the striking of the largest coins seen in the medieval world, as awards to loyal servants. One example survives of the largest of these massive pieces, a 1000 mohur ingot weighing almost 12 kg. These served as handy reserves of bullion, subject to recall if the imperial coffers grew low. Only a few scattered remnants of these glories of the Mughal court have outlasted the collapse of the empire.