A narrative on production and minting techniques in the Mughal Empire. This includes specific XRF testing results on the silver coins of Shah Alam I during testing of a large number of coins organised by Arthur Needham at the Ashmolean Museum.
Some years ago a paper was published by Barry Tabor on a visit to the location of the mint site at Daulatabad. Our group conducted specific investigations prior to the republishing of the article. The research included specific interaction with various authorities, mapping arrangements and non invasive scientific testing.
Given that much of the work done was outside “normal” numismatics and more into metallurgy the findings and methodology are perhaps outside the scope of current numismatics.
However given that we know a mint exists at Daulatabad. We have researched the location and will now await confirmation from other parties that the site we have researched is in the fact although we have evidence to note that the site was in fact used as the mint at some stage.
So we also know that there is very little basic research achieved into the actual location and design of such mints. Our efforts have been to at least set an investigative benchmark.
The research was brought into question when some photographs were posted for comment of a social media site. The article that our initial research was based on was posted and doubts expressed that it was not a mint but perhaps a bath house. In following conversation the claim was debated but it remains. Noting that this is not the first time research that we have been associated with has been queried (unsuccessfully each time although pieces of the work have appeared later without reference to us as expert research) it is still necessary for us to regather and review. The person making the suggestion that it is not the mint site made no effort to request from us what evidence we had now to support our researched. It was a bland statement.
Unfortunately it needs to be reviewed and will be reviewed carefully.
- Daulatabad had a mint.
- Research shows (including advice from relevant authorities) that the site nominated is correct.
- Specific research techniques not normally used in numismatics were used to gain information.
- Scientific analysis (non invasive) has shown the site nominated was used for a mint at some stage.
- The research or at least the primary paper has been rejected by an expert in numismatics based on no concrete evidence for rejection.
- It is necessary for us to take further time and expense to check on the rejection.
It will be expected that the relevant authorities who have provided us with information, if it is incorrect, will retract and issue a formal correction.
It is understandable why many researchers leave such research when almost at whim anything can be challenged. Be brave work on and publish. There are reasons why even basic research (such as this) has never been fully attempted and some of those reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the research. New areas will be investigated despite what may be thought by others and the newest technologies used in the hands of world experts.
Keep researching folks!
There has been a short hiatus in the continuing of this theme.
In the next few days the key post will be made. The questions to be discussed;
CAN A COIN BE GRADED THAT CANNOT BE FULLY ATTRIBUTED?
CAN HAND STRUCK COINS REALLY BE GRADED?
Buy our books: Click the link below.
Following some last minute crucial coin finds the book is slightly delayed. The print date is now locked in and it will be released in late June.
Approximately 355 pages in full colour and hardbound to international standard.
Please view the video attached. It starts a discussion on what is really to be seen on Indian coins. Especially those described in numismatic literature as ‘Islamic Coins”. It is time to examine the coins much more closely than has been generally done. Let us venture into the world of symbolism and display. It was for those who needed to understand what the ruler was telling on his coins. The understanding was not there for all to see, but it was certainly there for those in the major power base to see and to take note of.
Just a short note on another matter.
There have been a number of questions raised about some highly specific advice given on this blog on coins storage and the treatment of bronze disease. In many matters the mass availability of social media has led to many opinions on many matters being made available. On this blog we utilised the opinions on coin storage and bronze disease treatment from the genuine world experts and these have been peer reviewed. Although as a group we probably have the necessary personal experience to comment in these areas (and in future some other highly specific areas) it will always be our policy to seek out information from the best in the world. Feel free to comment on these articles if you wish but please remember the calibre of the writers. They are WORLD EXPERTS not experts in their own world.
Epigraphy: The study of inscriptions (without being overly technical).
Shown above is a page from our first book. It shows the overlay colour coding used in all of our works. The same colour is used to demonstrate the words across all the series. The coin issuer’s name with be in red, the mint in green, the mint epithet, if present, in blue etc.
On this superb coin we have practically all of the relevant information available on the coin. The ruler’s name is clear, the mint and epithet can be deduced without problem and importantly the dates are seen clearly. So we have all the information of historical importance.
But what if, like many hand struck coins, one of these important pieces of information was missing or unclear? What if a Regnal Year was missing or the actual date of issue or even the mint name? We then have a coin that is incomplete. So can this coin be actually graded? If it can be what are we really grading?
These are the primary questions placed before you. Because surely also if the information is incomplete on a coin then no matter what the perceived grade is an incomplete coin must be worth less than a complete coin no matter what the grade is of the complete coin!
This minor diversion from the main is caused by what was discussed in the introduction.
In our work, both published and unpublished, there are certain coins that a very rare and it is difficult to gather enough coins together to adequately describe exactly what is on the coin. So does this mean that any coins should be graded.
The answer is a qualified no. Or perhaps a qualified yes. Coins that cannot be fully attributed should have a grading notification that advises of this fact.
This also has an effect on coin values if we are astute collectors. A coin that can be fully attributed regardless of the ‘condition” should be valued higher than a coin that has missing attribution points.
This is something to think about as we move along in this series.
Coin epigraphy is undervalued as a source of knowledge and attribution in hand struck coins.
IT IS ABOUT TIME THIS SITUATION WAS CHANGED.
Our files are now closed for the Jahandar Shah book on all coins.
Yes it took a little longer than expected but we needed to address positive a negative criticisms of our first offered in the new style of showing translations of coin legends.
We got a number of laughs out of one or two of the negative criticisms. Still trying to understand how it can be suggested that when just about every ruler in the western world has a myriad of books and reports written about them that it was too much to expect special publications about the coins of the Mughal rulers. I guess the same people expect close attention to be paid to every little minor change with their favourite coins but close enough is okay for major Indian coins. However we have tried to take note of and accommodate all of the advice received.
To our 349 helpers we thank you without reservation. To the universities and major libraries that have made our life much easier a special thanks. All but four of the major institutions we contacted helped us with our coin requests without charge. For a specific photograph we have made a long term very favourable arrangement with another. To the four who decided that because we were not university staff or attached to a university that our research was somehow unworthy and as a consequence we needed to be charged exorbitant sums of money to obtain a photograph for either attribution or publishing sorry we won’t be doing that. We note the bias, it was expected. Thankfully most great institutions have noted that the world has moved on a little.
So the research on Jahandar is closed as is the research on the next seven books other than highly specific sections where errors have been noted in previous publications.
We thank our publishers for their continued absolute support.
A recent private trip to India cemented our long term goals.
We are about to enter a new era of discussion and contact with our helpers and others who have a great love for the coins of the great Indian sub continent.
It is with great pleasure that we announce our FIRST top level award to Alfaaz Hussain for his finding of a Rupee in the name of Shah Alam I Bahadur for the new mint of Fathabad Dharur (various spellings). The coin was personally sighted some eighteen months but checking though the necessary documentation and the finding of a second example confirms this outstanding find by an outstanding researcher and collector.
It is hoped that on the next visit to India by Arthur Needham that a personal public presentation can be made.
There are fewer greater joys in research to discover that someone has found a new mint for a ruler we are working on, or perhaps I should say practically finished until this was publicised a few days ago. So an exceptional collector showed the mint of Junagarh for Jahandar Shah. A few new pages need to be added and other work reviewed to see the context. Brilliant work by the finder.
It also shows that even in a great series like the Mughals new finds are available to the conscientious researcher and collector. The value of this coin is probably much less than it should be but perhaps one day justice will prevail.
In reviewing the comments of our first offering in this long series we looked the many positives and the few negatives. We have added a few new sections to aid collectors and researchers thanks to progressive people. However we also needed to look at our translating of the legends (including the couplets) because of comments made from one source. For those who wish to write one or two books this is an easy task, a quick review and perhaps a change. However when the series proposed is many, many books covering many centuries there is a necessity that a trend in translating once started can stand the test of time and be utilised for the whole project noting, of course, that various changes in emphasis may take place over time. In the fullness of time my co-author, Mohammed Tariq, will write a much fuller report on this.
What can be said that this long review and reworking of many different phrases and word use combinations has strengthened our resolve to pursue the course that we set in our first book. If anything our resolve has strengthened so much that tougher stances have been taken on some highly specific translations. The first of this will be seen in our Jahandar work.
Our wonderful publisher, Manohar Publishers of Delhi, has recently reinforced their commitment to publishing an expanded range of our work. In my case I now to live until at least 110 but who knows what might happen.
Our group takes each comment about our work seriously and adjustments if necessary will be made should they be necessary.