Silver 1/2 rupee of the British East India Company, struck in the name of William and Mary


British Museum

British Museum

Silver, gold and copper bullion imported into Mughal India had to be refined and minted into the currency of the Empire. The Mughals thus effectively supplemented the limited resources of precious metals available within India itself. There was such a high demand abroad for silk, textiles and spices that enough foreign gold and silver entered India through trade to meet all the Empire's minting needs.Initially, the British settlement at Bombay supplied foreign coins as bullion to be coined into Mughal rupees, and from 1672, struck their own silver, copper and tin coinage, with European designs, for circulation within the areas of East India Company influence. In order to achieve a wider circulation of their coinage, the Company needed to mint coins with Indian designs that were readily accepted beyond their sphere of influence. Accordingly, in 1693-95 they attempted to introduce a Mughal-style rupee, with Persian inscriptions. This was struck in the names of the British monarchs, William III and Mary, and dated year 4 of their reign (1689-1702). However, the unauthorized coins citing 'the name of their impure king' incurred the wrath of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb (1658-1707), who forced the Company to discontinue them.

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  • Title: Silver 1/2 rupee of the British East India Company, struck in the name of William and Mary
  • Date Created: 1682/1682
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 11.520g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1986,0931.1
  • Production place: Minted in Mumbai
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Authority: Issuer British East India Company