By Dr. Richard S. Appel – UniqueRareCoins.com ……
On December 31, 1600, Queen Elizabeth (later the first) of England bestowed a Royal Charter upon the East India Company. Its original mission was to expand Great Britain’s trade with Asia, and India in particular. It was first financed by about 200 British businessmen and merchants to exploit the known world’s highly lucrative import trade. Primary early imports included silk, spices, cotton, peppercorns, salt, and tea. Later, they facilitated and supplied the opium traffic to China.
At first the East India Company had to overcome great competition from the Dutch and Portuguese who then dominated the world’s commerce. After successfully achieving this goal, they acquired great wealth and power. Little known to most, the company grew to control 50% of the earth’s global trade.
As the company evolved, it was responsible for forming aggressive armies it used for conquest. After landing on Indian soil, they ultimately controlled, governed and taxed virtually all of India.
Incredibly, the East India Company’s reign lasted nearly three centuries before ending in 1874. During this time, they enlarged their armies and expanded their reach. At its peak it became the undisputed ruler of a vast part of Asia and the Middle East. In fact, it controlled an area far greater than Great Britain did itself. The company was to become the largest and most powerful non-government enterprise the world has ever known.
During their dominance of India, the company established their own coinage. They initially built a mint in Bombay in 1672. At first they competed against a number of regional mints but, because of their control of the country, in 1835 they absorbed the competition. The largest of these belonged to the Mughal Empire and the directorates of Marathas and Rajputs. Despite the fact that the East India Company was a non-government entity, after it consolidated India’s existing mints it became the sole issuer and controller of India’s circulating money until 1858.
Gold coins are typically a country’s highest valued coins. Historically they reflected the affluence, power and prestige of their parent nations.
Significantly, most countries throughout history were too poor to issue gold coinage.
The East India Company produced coins made of copper, silver, gold and even tin. Their gold coins are called Mohurs. They were issued in very limited quantities in 1835, in one-Mohur and two-Mohur denominations. Both of these coins are quite rare, extremely desirable, and only a handful of each remain in existence. One-Mohur coins were produced as business strikes and proof restrikes, and most two Mohurs were coined as proofs.
Since their minting, most of these intriguing, storied coins have been lost, destroyed or melted. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) has certified only 10 examples of the one-Mohur coin, and 30 of the two-Mohur denomination. PCGS has graded 15 one-Mohur coins and four two-Mohur examples.
Gold Mohurs are greatly coveted worldwide because of the great significance they represent to both historians and numismatists. Several are displayed in important museums. They were produced by an enterprise that at its height could have been a nation in and of itself. The East India Company ruled an enormous land area the size of which few nations have ever possessed. The intriguing history surrounding these beautiful coins reflects a segment of man’s time on earth that is rich with stories about a mouse in name only that truly roared.
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About Dr. Richard Appel
Dr. Richard S. Appel has been a numismatic expert for 50 years. He offers his personal services as a rare coin broker or rare coin consultant to both beginner and experienced consumers alike. Please visit, or contact him at his website www.uniquerarecoins.com. He can also be reached by phone at (800) 782-2646. For a modest fee he will treat every purchase or sale of your coins as if they were his own, and will negotiate the best possible prices on your behalf.
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