Mughal Coins

The Mughal era is well know for the iconic architecture built during the time, but on the opposite end of the spectrum of scale, Mughal coinage and numismatics had a significant and lasting impact on the culture and economics of the subcontinent. Between 1526 and 1857, the Mughals consolidated the monetary systems across the region. The introduced a uniformity of coinage and denominations which was adopted by other neighbouring kingdoms and continues to be influential well after their time. The Sarmaya story is intricately woven with Mughal coins and numismatics in general. Coins remain a significant part of our collection and we do like digging into the subject in great detail. Read our guide to Mughal coins as a good starting point.

Reading between the lines

From medieval coins to colonial-era photography, we bring a diverse array of objects from our collection that reinforce the arguments made by Saubiya Chasmawala’s art

Kam Bakhsh, Silver Rupee of Haidarabad Dar ul-Jihad Mint

After Aurangzeb’s death in the year 1707, a war of succession emerged among his three surviving sons. Muazzam, the Governor of Kabul, Azam, the Governor of Gujarat, and Kam Baksh who was the Governor of Deccan, fought each other for the throne. Towards Ahmednagar, Azam had proclaimed himself emperor while on the other hand, the… Read more »

A Story of India in 12 Silver Coins

A rebellious empress, a great ruler of the south, a British queen taking the reins of a colony in revolt. Travel through time and discover Indian history through twelve exceptional silver coins

Jahangir, Silver Coin of Agra Mint

Among the Mughals, Jahangir was undoubtedly the greatest patron of the arts, the man with The Eye. To him, even an object of prosaic commerce like the coin deserved to have beauty poured upon it. Jahangiri currency encompasses a remarkable variety of coins with interesting calligraphy and portrait designs. Because he was passionate about poetry,… Read more »

Akbar, Copper Tanka of Ujjain Mint

Ujjain has been a prominent urban centre stretching back to 600 BCE. In ancient India, it was one of the most important hubs connecting all the major trade routes, including those from Pataliputra (Bihar), Shravasti (Near Sopara in present-day Maharashtra) and Bharuch in Gujarat. Ujjain was the capital of power and learning, from where the… Read more »

Nur Jahan, Silver Rupee Coin of Agra Mint

This coin is symbolic of both the power and the precariousness of a queen’s role in an empire of men. Nur Jahan was the twentieth wife of Jahangir and especially favoured by the emperor. This placed her a unique position for a woman of her time and she used it to influence Mughal politics and… Read more »

Muhammad Shah, Silver Rupee of Kolhapur Mint

In the years following Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, the lustre of the Mughal empire began to dull. Territories shrunk as three emperors came and went, dispatched speedily by enemies and influential noblemen. But even in these uncertain times, one managed stay on and reign for 29 years. Roshan Akhtar Muhammad Shah, popularly known as Rangeela,… Read more »

Aurangzeb, Silver Coin of Gingee Mint

Gingee was a formidable fort in southern Arcot in the erstwhile Carnatic region. It was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1677 and remained in the hands of the Marathas until 1698. In this year, Shivaji’s son Rajaram Bhosle I ensconced himself in the fort in response to Aurangzeb’s advancing armies in the kingdom. Mughal… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Coin of Elichpur Mint

Elichpur has an interesting place in history. The city today known as Achalpur in Maharasthra was for long a bone of contention between a revolving group of players including the Delhi Sultans, the Mughals, the Marathas and other kingdoms. Elichpur makes an appearance in medieval texts for the first time in 1269 CE, when Alauddin… Read more »

Akbar, Quarter Silver Rupee of Lahore Mint

This quarter silver rupee weighs 2.74 grams—a silver rupee during Akbar’s reign would weigh between 10 to 11 grams. In addition, this is an Ilahi type coin, which means it’s dated in the Ilahi era as opposed to the more Hijri era favoured by Islamic rulers. Din-i-ilahi was the faith founded by Akbar in  AH… Read more »

Babur, Shahrukhi Coin of Badakshan Mint

Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty was a descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan—and he didn’t want you to forget it. One of the ways in which he pledged his allegiance was by introducing the Shahrukhi denomination of coin to the Subcontinent. Shahrukhis were flat, round silver coins first issued by the Timurid ruler… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Coin of Ahmedabad Mint

This silver coin seems to have been struck on an existing Nazarana coin. The word Nazarana is derived from the Persian ‘nazr’ and means a presentation or tribute. On special occasions, Nazaranas or Nazars were presented to the king. People would order and buy these coins from the mint when they wanted to make a… Read more »

Aurangzeb, Silver Coin of Chinnapattam Mint

The emperor of Hindustan from 1658 to 1707, Aurangzeb was driven by a coruscating ambition. The Mughal empire burgeoned to its maximum size under his reign. However, he was a conservative when it came to coin design. Read more about how the personality of an emperor got imprinted on the coins issued by him in… Read more »

Shah Jahan, Silver Nisar Coin of Burhanpur Mint

Nisar coins are named for their main purpose, ie scattering into the crowd by royalty. They were deployed for occasions that demanded ceremonial generosity, like at investitures, weddings or grand entrances. These coins were particularly lightweight. In addition to the regular gold, silver and copper coins, Shah Jahan released unique silver Nisar coins to present… Read more »

Jahangir, Silver Rupee

Jahangir issued many gold and silver coins with poetic verses on them and was the only Mughal emperor to bestow the right of coinage to his royal consort. Read more about him in our Mughal Coins guide.

Jahandar Shah, Gold Mohur Coin

Jahandar Shah was the son of Bahadur Shah I and ruled for a very brief period. After their father’s death on February 27, 1712, he and his brother Azim-ush-Shan both proclaimed themselves emperors and waged a succession fight. Jahandar Shah issued coins and reintroduced couplets inscribed in gold, silver and copper. He issued coins with… Read more »