An 1835 East India Company one Mohur is among the standout lots in our Numismatics auction—read on for the story of this extremely rare coin.
THE EAST INDIA COMPANY
The British East India Company was founded by Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600, with the objective of expanding trade with Asia and India. Financed by some 200 British investors and merchants, the initial goal was to capitalize on rare imports including spices, tea, and textiles like silk and cotton. The Company soon transcended its role as a trading body, becoming involved in imperial politics and policies while, at its height, also controlling around 50% of global trade.
The Indian subcontinent was particularly dominated by the East India Company, with its dominion extending to governance and taxation. The Company’s reign in India lasted nearly three centuries, at one point controlling an area larger than did England itself.
During this period, the Company sought to create its own coinage, which could be used across its diverse territorial holdings. By the 1830s, all competing mints were controlled by the East India Company, and by 1835, the Company was producing a uniform coinage with standard weights and designs. Copper, silver, gold and tin coins were struck.
The gold coin was called a mohur, derived from the Persian word muhr, translating to “seal” or “signet ring,” echoed in the Sanskrit word mudrā, also deriving from the word “seal.” The mohur coin was technically first introduced by Sher Shah Suri in India between 1540 and 1545—before the East India Company arrived—along with silver rupiya and copper dam.
Under the East India Company, it was the silver rupee which served as legal tender. The gold mohur was kept out of daily circulation, and its value floated according to the metal market. Mohur production began in 1835, continuing for a year—though the stamped date stayed the same. The price of gold and silver that year was such that the Company incurred a loss on its currency production, meaning that very few coins were minted. Both one mohur and two mohur coins were made.
Today, mohur coins are highly sought after by collectors, due to their historical relevance and rarity. Only a handful remain in existence. Consider too that the mohur was not issued by a nation, but by a corporation—one which controlled India’s circulating money until 1858.
About the auction:
Online from December 3–8, our Numismatics auction features a wide selection of gold coins from Britain and around the world, including an East India Company 1835 One Mohur and an American MCMVII 1907 wire rim double eagle. There is a large selection of Canadian bank notes and chartered bank notes, most in excellent condition, featuring three 1937 Osbourne/Towers $10 with consecutive serial numbers (Unc) and a French edition 1935 $5 note, together with a variety of ‘Devil’s Face’ issues.
Please contact us for more information.
Sunday, December 04 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, December 05 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Tuesday, December 06 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm