The Rare Coins of the Republic of India

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    Coins don’t have to be really old, to be prized. Collectors and numismatics enthusiasts will pay through their nose for coins that are rare, no matter when they were minted. Here are 5 of India’s most prized coins. Some of these are commemorative coins, that haven’t been circulated.

    1. Mule coins by Patrick Brindley (1949)

    In 1949, a set of pattern coins were designed by engraver Patrick Brindley. The Pattern coins are typically minted during a major revamp of the coin’s designs. They are minted so that relevant decision makers get to see the actual coins before the design is adopted and put into general circulation. If their design is rejected, these coins are not put into circulation, and so are referred to as pattern coins.

    After India’s independence in 1947, there was a need to introduce new coinage for a new nation. New coins were issued in 1950 when new designs were introduced. No coins were stuck in the year 1948 and 1949. However in 1949, engraver and artist Patrick Brindley designed 8 coins ranging from 2 annas to 1 rupee. It is not known whether final dies were actually prepared for these patterns, or whether the master matrices were used to strike the coins. For various reasons each of the 1949 patterns was rejected, leading to other designs being introduced in the following year.

    One such set of pattern coins surfaced at the Baldwin auctions in London and was sold for £ 52,000 in 2013.

    2. Jawaharlal Nehru Comemorative Coin (1964)

    Following the death of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in May 1964, the Bombay mint issued the first ever commemorative coin in his honor. Commemorative coins had never been minted before and it set a new precedent. The Jawaharlal Nehru commemorative coins were of the value of 1 Rupee and 50 paisa. They were issued on 14th November 1964. Both the coins were made of pure nickel and they bore the bare head of Nehru to the left and the name Jawaharlal Nehru above and 1889-1964 below; the reverse had the Ashoka pillar capital emblem on the top and the value in numerals below. The 50 paisa coins were of two types. One had the name of Nehru in English and other in Hindi on the obverse. These mint condition coins were sold for Rs 65,000 in 2011.

    3. Brihadeeswarar Temple Commemorative coin (2010)

    In 2010, RBI issued a Rs.1000 coin. This was done by the Reserve Bank of India to celebrate 1000 years of the famed Brihadeeswarar Temple in Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu . The famous Brihadeeswarar Temple was commissioned by the great Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 CE. Given the fact that commemorative coins like this are uncirculated, these ‘commemorative’ coins have mirror finish on the surface and so get additional value. RBI issues advertisements in leading news papers prior to the release of commemorative coins. One can buy a commemorative coin from online Mint portals or at RBI counters on working days.

    4. Rs. 2 experimental coin (2014)

    In 2014, the Indian government issued a Rs 2 Experimental Pattern coin, which was in Braille. Experimental coins are minted on trial basis after which it is decided whether the coins will be distributed in public or not. This coin, however, was never issued. The coin has the Ashoka pillar on the obverse and the value written in the reverse of the coin. Also the reverse has the words EXPT on it and Braille script. The coin was never circulated and is extremely rare. A coin like this was sold at the Classical Numismatics Gallery in Ahmadabad for 40,000 rupees.

    5. 50 Paisa Cancelled Coin (1985)

    In 1985, a 50 paisa coin of steel was minted from the Bombay mint. However, it was officially canceled by the mint and the design was never circulated. The coin has vertical marks of cancellation and is extremely rare. This particular coin was sold for Rs. 70,000 at the Classical Numismatics Gallery auction house.


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