Electrotype copy of gold 200 mohur of Shah Jahan
Original: Mughal dynasty, AH 1064/AD
From Delhi, India
One of the largest coins in The British Museum
The largest Mughal gold coin ever made was a 1000 mohur of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (reigned 1605-28). Contemporary observers record that gold mohurs were struck in multiples up to 100 and higher, for storage in the imperial treasury. Several other Mughal emperors also stockpiled the treasury with gold and silver ingots in the form of enormous coins, partly as a precaution against theft. Some of these were presented to ambassadors and thus survive.
A gold 200 mohur of Jahangir's son, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-58), minted at Shahjahanabad (Delhi) in AH 1064 (AD 1653) was found at Patna in Bihar, north-east India, in the eighteenth century. It subsequently disappeared, but this is one of a few copies that are now known. The Arabic inscription on one side says that the coin was struck by Shah Jahan, 'the protector of the faith [who] is second in command [after God] of the constellations [and who minted the coin in gold] so that the rays of the sun may illumunate the face of the moon'. The other side gives the Islamic profession of faith (the shahada), mint and date, encircled by an inscription citing the achievements of the first four caliphs (rulers) of Islam: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali.
Shah Jahan is now best known, not for his gold coins, but for the Taj Mahal, the palatial mausoleum he built for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
, 'Sale of two giant Mohur coins' in Auction catalogue 8th (Hapsburg, Feldman S.A., 1987)
J. Orna-Ornstein, The story of money (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)