Learning to Decipher the Copper Coins of Akbar Part VII: The Coding System.

Since the introduction of our colour coding system coupled with further coding initiatives and research in our continuing works published by Manohar Publishers there has been some "copying of style" but generally without substance. The colours used on the main elements such as the rulers name, mint name and mint epithet have the same colours throughout any series as do the dates written in various forms.

It is from here that one can see the FULL inscription on the coins and the variations, over time, to those inscriptions not just within one ruler but within each particular mint of that ruler. Each change is coding step by step.

This presents specific opportunities to collectors and researchers in that patterns of change across mints, rulers and empires can be now researched. There has been for some considerable a disregard at many levels for the actual information held on the coins of the great sub continent especially hand struck coins. The tendency to collect "pretty" looking coins without regard top the completeness of the strike has aided in the down grading of the often exception care and rigorous controls that were taken over coin minting.

In our work we therefore have specific inscriptions colour coded and also changes in "style" or inscription at the mint level. The coding levels are then.

1. Dynasty

For example Mughal, Delhi Sultanate etc.

2. Ruler/Coin Issuer.

Each ruler of the official line is coded as well as issues by others such as rebellion issues etc.

3. Mint

Each mint has a specific code.

4. Each Coin Type Within the Mint Has a Specific Code.

Each change in style of the coin by mint is followed so a whole collection can be built up of coins specific to that mint.

5. Each Metal Type has a Coding Sequence.

This falls within the series of number sfor the actual coin size.

6. Each Coin Size Has a Code.

For Akbar this becomes very important. Initially in general the coins follow the lead from the issues of the Suri inter regnum. We then move into new series that are actually named. For example we have the Tanka, Tanki etc. But some confusion starts because the word Tanka is used for both silver and copper coins. If we look backwards in time to both the Suri inter regnum and the various Delhi Sultanates and other kingdoms there are a series of weights and metals used for various coins.

In various publications the standard weight term especially for copper and billon (generally a mixture of silver and copper in varying proportions) is the rati. The rati is a weight derived for the actual proposed weight of the rati seed. Although it is acknowledged that weights can be standardised by the issuing of specific weight standard objects such glass and metal over a series of different kingdoms the actual weight called a rati may not have been standardised. Others weights for example such as the maund certainly were not.

Although if a coin is essentially of copper the final "purity" of the metal is not significantly important. The purity or fineness of the metal in gold and silver coins is certainly highly important in these times. Not only then do we have weight but also purity. Weight can be easily measured (or compared) by a simple balance and purity by a test that did require some training but was also extremely accurate for the time.

When we record coins instead of calling them by the current common names used for the copper coins we will use a standard weight within the series and call it an UNIT. Units may have multipliers (larger denominations) and dividers (smaller denominations).

Within each metal therefore it can be assumed that multipliers and dividers have a value equal to part of the standard unit they relate to. We now need to approach in a careful manner the relationship between the weights of the copper coins (the subject of this series) that were produced during the reign of Akbar. It has been established that we can accept the exchange rate of 40 dams to the rupee.

Double Unit: 40.8 grams Tanka

Unit: 20.4 grams. Dam (sometimes called a Tanka)

Four Fifths Unit: 15.8 grams

Half Unit: 10.2 grams

Two Fifths Unit: 7.8 grams

One Quarter Unit: 5 grams

One Fifth Unit: 4 grams

One Eighth Unit: 2.5 grams

One Twenty Fifth Unit: .8 gram

There are a number of other possible dividers of the unit but this shows the sequence across the whole reign. From this we see an interesting occurrence. The two fifths unit (Do Tanki) becomes equal to a one hundredth of a Rupee. The one twenty fifth unit becomes one thousandth of a Rupee. The accounting and money was decimalised. But we also see that the Tanka was one twentieth and just as 20 shillings equalled one pound English so 20 Tankas equal one Rupee.

Note: Before we continue several minor errors in these presentations need to be corrected. One final section on the mints will be presented and then the Web page on this subject will be fully activated as will a new initiative.

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