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Ancient India

Prior To 1857

Pre-Colonial India & Princely States:

The decline of the Mughal Empire commenced soon after the death of Aurangzeb. For a while, the military successes of the Marathas gave rise to the feeling that they would fill the vacuum left by the Mughals and don the imperial mantle. This was not to be. In the anarchy that followed, regional forces tended to reassert themselves and states with ancient antecedents, many of which had been independent during Medieval times, like the states of Rajputana, re-emerged. The dilution of central authority prompted Provincial Governors of the Mughals, to assume independence (e.g., the states of Avadh and Hyderabad). The turbulence of the times also gave rise to Military Adventurers who through force carved out kingdoms for themselves, like Scindia (Gwalior), and Hyder Ali (Mysore). Finally, there were 'states of convenience', - titular states whose ruling dynasty was supported either by the British (e.g., the Wodeyars) or the regional hegemon in the interest of high politics. When the British Crown took over the administration from the East India Company in 1858 there were over a hundered Princely States which were issuing coins nominally in the name of the Mughal Emperor. With the deportation of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah to Rangoon, the native rulers gradually replaced the Mughal superinscriptions on their coins with the name or portrait of the Queen of England as an expression of acceptance of British supremacy. Some coins like those of Mewar inscribed the word 'Dosti London' i.e. 'Friends of London' on their coins. The British over time curtailed the rights of the the Native States to strike their own coins. Representative Coinage of some of the States are depicted below.

The Maratha Confederacy :

While the Marathas have had a long history, they came into the limelight in the seventeenth century led by the charismatic leader Shivaji. The Maratha Confederacy consolidated itself after Aurangzeb's death in 1707 AD. Their military successes saw them overrun most of India by 1738 AD. The Marathas were set to be the only power in India to take on the Imperial mantle and build an Indian empire. Their fortunes suffered a setback with the battle of Panipat in 1761 AD. They, however, retained their hegemony over the Deccan till the end of the century. With the decline of central power, Maratha families established the states of Baroda, Gwalior, Indore, etc. As regards coinage, Shivaji first issued coins in 1664 AD when he assumed the title of Raja. Coins were again issued to commemorate his coronation at Raigadh in 1674 AD. These coins are rare. Maratha Mints and coinage were consolidated around the middle of the eighteenth century. Three types of Rupees were in circulation during this period, viz., the Hali Sicca, the Ankushi rupee which was the standard rupee of Pune, and the Chandori rupee which was on par with the Ankushi.

Chatrapati Shivaji Bhonsale
1630-1680 AD
Maratha Dynasty
Copper, half Paisa, commonly known as Shivrai
Minted at Satara
Weight: 8.8 gm

Chatrapati Shivaji Bhonsale
1630-1680 AD
Maratha Dynasty
Copper, two Paisa
Weight: 16.8 gm


In the name of the Mughal Emperor Nasir Al-Din Muhammad
silver, rupee,
Minted In Bombay, 1728

In the name of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II
silver, rupee,
Madras (struck in Arcot from 1759 to 1806 with frozen regnal year 6)

I Also Have Kutch Coins From The State Of Gujarat. Some Are Silver And Some Are Bronze, If Anyone Has Any Information About These Coins, Please Do eMail Me And Give Me The Details.
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