The finest early Mohur of Muhammadabad Benares struck under the auspices of the EIC in private hands East India Company, Bengal Presidency, Benares Mint: First phase, gold Mohur in the name of ‘Shah ‘Alam II (1173-1221h/1759-1806), 1192h, yr 18 [1778-9], sikka zad bar haft kishwar saya fazl ilah hami din muhammad shah alam badshah [defender of the religion of Muhammad, Shah ‘Alam emperor, shadow of the divine favour, put his stamp on the seven climes], fish and sun symbols, differentiating or darogah mark B, rev. zarb muhammadabad banaras sanah 18 julus maimanat manus [struck at Muhammadabad Benares in the 18th year of his reign of tranquil prosperity], 10.89g/10h (Prid. – [not in Sale]; Stevens 7.2; Stevens website image 1625, same dies; KM. 13; F 1534). Small test mark on obverse at lower left, otherwise extremely fine and well-struck, retaining original brilliance, exceptionally rare, perhaps only one other known of this early date £2,000-£2,600 --- Provenance: Bt in London June 1984. Owner’s ticket and envelope. The Company first acquired Benares (present day Lucknow, or Varanasi) in 1764, but it was not until 1775 that it took more permanent possession. Responsibility for the currency, which had been reformed in 1767, was given to the rajah, Chait Singh (†1810) in 1776 (year 17). Production of gold coins was intermittent, but silver was struck in large quantities in each year down to 1805, although the last few years were marred by an internal investigation into corruption and malpractices by the darogahs (officials). These were unproven by the Calcutta Council, but control of the mint eventually passed to Dr Thomas Yeld, who enjoyed a lengthy career as mint master until the Benares mint closed in 1829
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