Silver rupee of the East India Company

Calcutta, India, AD 1835

A British colonial coin with the name of a traditional Indian coin

The word rupee is an English version of the Hindi word for a silver coin, rupya. The rupee has been the standard coinage of India since it became part of the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century. The eighteenth century saw the collapse of Mughal power, resulting in a variety of coin standards and rupees issued by several regional rulers.

This silver rupee was minted in the Calcutta New Mint for the English East India Company in 1835. The Company had had growing trade interests in India since the 1600s, when it was given a British monopoly to trade in spices from the region. It began issuing its own coins in India in the 1640s, and from about 1750 was producing silver rupees. In the late eighteenth century coins struck in Britain were introduced in India. In 1835 the construction of the new Mint at Calcutta meant that all of British India could be supplied with a uniform coinage of British design, with the rupee as the principal silver coin.The British monarch's head remained on the rupee until Indian independence in 1947. The last British rupees were struck in nickel rather than silver, and the coin has continued to be struck by independent India in nickel, cupro-nickel, and latterly, stainless steel.

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More information


J. Cribb, B. Cook and I. Carradice, The coin atlas (London and Sydney, Macdonald Illustrated, 1990)

F. Pridmore, The Coins of the British Com-1, Part 4: India. Vol.1: East India Company Presidency Series (London, Spink, 1975)


Diameter: 30.000 mm
Weight: 11.630 g

Museum number

CM 1922-5-22-15


Bequeathed by Miss C.F. Raper


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