One of the most spectacular Indian silver coins ever struck: Prinsep’s Pattern Double-Rupee, 1784 East India Company, Bengal Presidency, Pulta Mint: Prinsep’s coinage, silver Pattern Double-Rupee in the name of ‘Shah ‘Alam II (1173-1221h/1759-1806), 1198h, yr 26 [March-November 1784], naming Murshidabad, unsigned, sikka zad bar haft kishwar saya fazl ilah hami din muhammad shah alam badshah 1198 [defender of the religion of muhammad, Shah ‘Alam emperor, shadow of the divine favour, put his stamp on the seven climes, 1198], rev. zarb murshidabad sanah 26 julus maimanat manus [struck at Murshidabad in the 26th year of his reign of tranquil prosperity], edge united east india company J784, 6-point mullet punctuation, 34mm, 23.51g/6h (Prid. 346 [Sale, lot 674]; Stevens 3.1; KM. Pn9). Usual die flaw in centre of reverse, otherwise extremely fine and toned, of the highest rarity and one of the most spectacular Indian silver coins ever struck [certified and graded NGC PF 63] £30,000-£50,000 --- Provenance: F. Pridmore Collection, Part II, Glendining Auction (London), 18-19 October 1982, lot 674, ticket. Owner’s ticket. It is believed only three other specimens are known: 1). SNC (London) November 1979 (10406), ex R.J. Ford Collection, A.N. Brushfield Collection (lot 137) 2). Private collection, North America [believed to be the Pridmore and KM. plate coin] 3). Stephen Album Auction 25, lot 1302, ex P.J.E. Stevens Collection (Stevens website image 1516), ex Taisei/Baldwin/Gillio 29 (lot 443), ex Taisei/Baldwin/Gillio 24 (lot 654), mount removed from reverse. John Prinsep’s series of silver patterns were struck in late 1784 in an attempt to convince the Calcutta Board to let him produce a new silver and gold coinage for Bengal, using equipment at Pulta that, if necessary, he was prepared to instal at Calcutta as it was far superior to anything that Calcutta possessed. At the same time the Board was in serious dispute with Prinsep over the coinage contract he had been granted in 1780 and they were trying to terminate. In January 1785 James Paxton, the Calcutta mint master, resigned and, in an attempt to win the appointment, Prinsep presented the Board with a small number of 1784-dated pattern coins that he requested be sent to the Court of Directors in London, which they were. But Prinsep was passed over for the post of mint master in favour of Herbert Harris (†January 1810), who travelled to Pulta in April 1785 with the aim of transferring Prinsep’s equipment to Calcutta. Failing in this task, he did acquire for himself a set of the silver patterns – perhaps Prinsep’s own set – and, being an evident admirer of them, it is likely that they were instrumental in influencing the new Calcutta coinage of 1790
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