Politics

RADHANPUR HALF RUPEE (8 ANNAS) A NAZARANA MULE

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A half Rupee of Radhanpur, probably issued at the time of the coronation of Bismillah Khan but having the date on one side of his predessesor - Zoravar Khan.
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  RADHANPUR HALF RUPEE (8 ANNAS) A NAZARANA MULE?  By Amit Mehta (Ahmedabad)   I recently came across this Half Rupee of Radhanpur dated AD 1872 / AH 1291 listed in the name of Zorawar Khan for sale in one auction. My attention was drawn to this coin as the name of the ruler was clearly Bismillah Khan but the date on the obverse was a date which would fall in the reign of his predessor – Zorawar Khan. Though the condition of the coin was not very 'collectable', I decided to acquire it.   Obverse Reverse   Coin Details:  Semi-machine struck Silver ½ Rupee coin having diameter: xx mm. And Weight 5.30 g.  Obverse Legend: (read top to bottom): 'Mallikah Mu'azzamah / Kwin Victoria / Zarb Radhanpur / 1872'  Reverse Legend: (read bottom to top): 'Sanah 1291 / Nawab Bismillah / Khan Bahadur Babi / Hast Anna' Discussions with Mr Jan Lingen yielded a possible reason. He believes that the mint, in a hurry to mint coins in the name of Bismillah Khan at the time of his accession to the throne, used an old (and probably unused) obverse die of 1872 AD, which only carried the States name and combined it with a new reverse die, bearing the name of the new ruler for the first issue of his coins in AH1291. The old reverse die in the name of Zorawar Khan could not have been used as it would have had the latters name on it. The last recorded date on a 8 anna (½ Rupee) for Zorawar Khan is AH 1289 / 1871 AD. Half Rupees struck in the name of Zorawar Khan and bearing a later date combination have not yet come to light. It is likely that a die may have been engraved for minting coins in 1872 AD but may not have been used. In a rush to strike coins necessary for 'Nazar' or presentations during the coronation ceremony of the new Nawab, the mint master may have been tempted to use this (almost) unused die, pairing it with the newly engraved reverse.  The following picture of a similar coin shows the die condition of the obverse die of 1872 AD. It was a custom then, to mint special coins for the ritual of 'Nazar'. This was a protocol observed when a 'lesser' or lower ranking official was received by a 'greater' or higher official and a small monetary gift was given by the lesser official to the greater official to acknowledge the gratification of his sight. It is likely that this coin was minted as a presentation issue or as a 'Nazarana' at the time of the accession celebrations of the new ruler Bismillah Khan who ascended the throne after the death of Zorawar Khan on the 9 th  of October 1874 AD. As can be seen from the following figure, this coin uses the (maybe unused) obverse die dated AD 1872 of Zorawar Khan (who ruled from AH 1241 to AH 1291 / 1825 – 1874 AD) and paired it with the newly engraved reverse die dated AH 1291, engraved in name of Bismilla Khan (who ruled from AH 1291 – 1313 / 1874 – 1895 AD). Below are the images of Half Rupees of Zorawar Khan dated AH 1288 / 1871 AD (since no image of any half rupee dated 1872 AD has yet been recorded though Rupees of this date are known) & Bismillah Khan dated AH 1291 / 1875 AD to confirm this theory. This hurry to mint coins necessary for the 'Nazar' or presentations at the time of the coronation ceremony of the new ruler - where the mint master used a readily available die of AD 1872, pairing it with a new die of AH 1291, created an extremely rare mule 'Nazarana' coin.   PS: Coin images from the net are used for representational and educational purposes only.  
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