written by Sanjay C. Gandhi


originally drafted 04/28/2012

last Revision 08/14/2016

*This information was cited from a number of sources:

Vikram Deshmukh, Major Fred Pridmore: The Coins of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Dick H. Leavens (Rupee Circulation in India, The American Economic Review, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Mar., 1941) pages 87-90), Stephen A. Corvin, Yashoda Singh, Krause Publications, NGC, PCGS, silver-investor.com, Wikipedia, and Google.

08/14/2016 3:47 PM EST*

I had written this a little over four years ago from the date/time stamp above. Since then technology has changed, now I can make this post more picture friendly, and display it in a way that is a bit easier to read as well. Some corrections to the post have been made, I added some thoughts here and there as well. Most of what was originally written when this was posted remains intact and I will continue to update the posting as well. I also no longer have a financial position within this coin either, thanks for reading my coin conjecture, enjoy, and please feel free to leave comments.


.I N D I A.

There are many stories surrounding the 1939 India One Rupee coin, and nobody knows what to believe including myself. Some stories have been made up with a mixture of slight truths, and half-truths. I have gathered facts, fallacies, supporting data, and my own arguments to provide a clearer picture of what probably is closer to the truth for this dated coin. I believed many of these “facts/stories” at some point in time because it’s all I could find. But slowly these so called “facts” didn’t make sense to me.

Nobody (including myself) took the time to do a comprehensive work for this specific date, and the same false/innocent ignorant stories have been circulating for many years. Maybe some have known these facts, but never shared their thoughts with anyone but a few. Maybe free range chickens prefer a 401k plan, dental plan, full hour lunch break, and a health benefit plan before they become a Burrito at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Who knows? A majority of the following data has been available since 1975 which Pridmore scattered like a puzzle in his works for an individual to draw his/her own conclusions.

Here are some fallacies I want to dispel immediately, but read on to get a clearer picture-

1938 India Rupee Reverse

Fallacy: The 1938 One Rupee dated coins were minted in 1938-

Argument: How is this possible if the finished Type II (Large Head or Low Relief) Obverse dies were not delivered to India from Great Britain until late 1939?

Fact: The 1938 One Rupee dated coins were struck in 1940, and a small quantity of them may have been struck at the end of 1939.

Fallacy: The 1939 One Rupee dated coins were minted in 1939 throughout the entire year-

Argument: How is this possible if the 1938 One Rupee dated coins were the first to be struck in late 1939 or starting January 1940?

Fact: The Rupee coin was approved for standard circulation beginning January 1940 by the British Government. The 1938 One Rupee dated coins were the first to be struck in 1940, and the 1939 One Rupee dated coins were struck thereafter.

Fallacy: India’s silver shortage of 1939 (September prices spiked by 15%) was the cause of the recall or withdrawal of the 1939 One Rupee dated coin(s).

Argument: How is this possible if the 1939 One Rupee dated coins were minted in 1940 or after the 1938 One Rupee dated coins, and again the 1938 One Rupee dated coins were minted before the 1939 One Rupee dated coins in 1940 sometime?

Fallacy: There were 2.2 – 2.5 million 1939 One Rupee dated coins struck for circulation-

Argument: If the above is true then where are all the coins today? Hoarded?

Fact: The mintage was a “planned” or “proposed” mintage by the Bombay Mint which was common practice for many years.

Fallacy: The British government went to people’s homes to collect the 1939 One Rupee dated coins in ~1939~

Argument: Again. How is this possible if these coins were minted sometime in 1940?

Fact: 1938 One Rupee dated coins were not “officially” released for standard circulation until January 1940.

Second Head used for the India 1939 Rupee

The British Government stopped minting the 1922 One Rupee dated coin in 1923 according to the mint records, and never authorized another One Rupee coin for circulation until 16-17 years later as an order issued by the British Government. Meaning that the British Government had not resumed production until January 1940 or late 1939 when the 1938 One Rupee dated coins were minted/released. The only reason new coinage resumed in 1939 was because of the increase in commerce in India from World War II.

The majority of the 1938 One Rupee dated issue was minted in the year 1940, and “a small quantity 1938 dated coins were minted in the end of 1939” as noted by Major Fred Pridmore. It was not possible to strike the 1938 One Rupee dated coin with the Type II obverse any sooner than late 1939 at the earliest date. I believe the 1938 One Rupee dated coin mintage was issued in its entirety, but not true for the 1939 One Rupee dated coins. Consider some of the following data which may be above as well:

*Type I = First Head or High Relief obverse*

TYPE I First Head

Type I obverse dies were only used for Specimen/Proof/Restrike/Presentation issues for the 1938/1939 One Rupee dated coin(s), and these dies were never used for the circulation Rupee strikes. These dies were sent to India in July 1939 by mistake, and had poor striking capabilities.

*Type II = Second Head or Low Relief obverse*

TYPE II Second Head

Only Type II Obverse dies were used for the 1938/1939 One Rupee dated circulation coin(s), work commenced for the new dies in August 1939, and The Type II obverse dies were not delivered to India until late 1939 from England because they had to be reworked. Possibly some of the 1938 One Rupee mintage was struck after these dies were delivered late in 1939 to be released January 1940.

Earlier I mentioned “planned” or “proposed” mintages. Let’s look at the following mintages:

1906 Bombay One Anna 200,000
1938 Calcutta 1/2 Pice 11,161,000
1911 Bombay One Rupee 4,300,000
1911 Calcutta One Rupee 5,143,000

The 1906 One Anna and 1938 1/2 Pice were never minted for circulation, and may be found in proof/restrike/pattern issues only. Meaning the mintage was “planned” or “proposed”. Why wasn’t the 1938 1/2 Pice or 1906 One Anna struck for circulation? Answer: Maybe we should ask the chickens on the free range? We do know that everyone that was alive in 1911 that had first-hand knowledge about the 1911 One Rupee dated coin is dead. Anyways, it’s purported that 700,000 pieces were released; the remaining coins sitting in treasuries were melted, and withdrawn.

The Bombay Mint and Calcutta Mint started producing the 1911 One Rupee dated coins in July, and the coins were delivered to both Calcutta and Bombay banks in the meantime for distribution before December 12th 1911 for “official” public release. My point is that in a period of 5 months the mints minted at least 700,000 pieces, the rate minted per month we don’t know, and this was work by two mints working in conjunction with one and other.

Both mints started production 5 months ahead of the official public circulation/release. Now this implies that 1911 One Rupee dated coins were going to be minted well into 1912, and the mintages were known well in advance. Hence the above mintages would be “planned” or “proposed” for both 1911 B and 1911 C coin equalling roughly 9.4 million. January 23rd 1912 the 1911 One Rupee dated coins were officially withdrawn from circulation as ordered by the British Government because of a merchant mutiny against the newly minted coins, and those rumors were spread by the merchants themselves.

However, that’s another story for another time, and 1911 One Rupee dated coins are somewhat readily available in present day. People probably did save these coins as souvenirs because this was the first year of a new design, supposedly controversial, and they may of started hoarding what was being withdrawn. It’s easier to want something more when someone wants to take it away from you. “Proposed” or “planned” mintages were common practice in the past, and for many years to come. Could this have changed in any year? Absolutely!

The British government had not minted a circulation One Rupee coin for almost 17 years, and the 1938 One Rupee dated coin was the first of many in the series. I believe the entire mintage was minted for the 1938 One Rupee dated coin, and the Bombay Mint transitioned into the 1939 One Rupee dated coin briefly. This 1938 One Rupee dated coin was also a “first year type issue”, and there was probably some novelty associated with keeping one or two coins as a memento.

Many of these coins landed into the hands of hoarders, jewelers/bazaars, Choksi(s) (assayer of gold and silver), neighboring countries, use your imagination please I’m using mine, and some of them never made it back to the Reserve Bank of India. A majority of the 1938 One Rupee dated coins were probably melted/withdrawn from circulation before the official news announcement was made at the end of 1940 reducing the fineness for the One Rupee silver coinage to .500

1938 India Rupee Reverse close up

Remember what the people in 1911 did? : They hoarded the Rupee coin, and they probably did the same thing with the 1938 One Rupee dated coin. Which does sort of explain why so many of them are available today, and even the window of opportunity to hoard the 1938 One Rupee dated coin was much greater than the 1911 One Rupee dated coins. The Reserve Bank of India planned to go “off” the .917 silver fineness standard, and shifted to a “Quaternary Alloy” (.500 silver fineness) with the 1940 1/4 Rupee dated coin as its first step.

British India Quaternary Alloy Composition:

50% Silver, 40% Copper, 5% Nickel, and 5% Zinc

Here are the “official” or “planned” silver fineness reduction dates :

March 11th 1940 1/4 Rupee fineness reduction
July 24th 1940 1/2 Rupee fineness reduction
December 20th 1940 One Rupee fineness reduction

Citizens of India preferred a hard asset as opposed to paper money hence the hoarding of silver for many years. People had little faith in “paper”, and it was just paper in the minds of the standard citizen. The average Desi wanted tangible silver in hand, and the government acted in late June of 1940 to combat hoarding as written by Dickson H. Leavens: “A rule was made by the British Government under the Defense of India act making it an offense for any person to acquire coins in excess of his personal or business requirements and providing that in cases of doubt the judgment of the Reserve Bank or it’s duly appointed agents as to what constitutes the reasonable requirements of one individual should be conclusive.”

Soon followed an ordinance passed in July 1940 to “issue and put into circulation 1-rupee notes. The law provided that these should be treated by the Reserve Bank in its account exactly as if they were One Rupee coins. Between the dates of March 31st 1940 (close of the financial year) and July 26th 1940 the Reserve bank’s statement showed an increase of 90,000,000 Rupee coin. But more than likely these were One Rupee notes dated 1940” as Dick H. Leavens noted in his work titled “Rupee Circulation in India.” Also these 1940 One Rupee paper currency notes were probably injected into circulation well before the “official” ordinance was passed in July as listed above. I don’t believe the actual 1940 One Rupee coinage mintage is accurately reflected in Krause because of the currency issue is part of the mintage which skews the data.

1940 India One Rupee Currency


At some point in time during the month of July 1940 the entire 1938 One Rupee dated coin mintage was completed, and the Bombay mint started striking the 1939 One Rupee coins. This was a very short lived striking in July that was abruptly halted possibly by the order sent by the Royal Mint to reduce the fineness for the Half Rupee on July 24th 1940, and the injection of One Rupee paper currency notes dated 1940 to fight the practice of hoarding.

Keep in mind there was the official rule issued at the end of June 1940 by the British Government for all three denominations. In the past during World War I : Indians never forgot what happen in 1918 when there was a threat of a massive silver shortage, and the United States sold/shipped India (the British Government) 200,000,000+ ounces of silver at approximately $1/per oz. mandated by federal law known as : The Pittman Act

The United States sold this silver to India because its citizens were trading in paper currency to The Reserve Bank of India for hard assets (specifically silver). The silver on hand was not enough to quell the demand, The Reverse Bank of India would have run out of silver in a few months’ time because of demand, and I believe this demand was primarily driven by fear = World War I.

Nowadays USA collectors that cannot fulfill holes within their Silver Dollar collections can blame previous citizens of India or the British Indian Government for the 270,000,000+ Silver Dollars that disappeared from circulation via the Pittman Act. Be thankful it was only 270,000,000, and not the ceiling of 350,000,000 set by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada.

The collectors of USA coinage were affected by the practice of hoarding and so were the collectors of Indian currency. One denomination that is highly sought after by collectors of Indian currency is the denomination 2 Rupees and 8 Annas. The banknote was only issued for two years : 1917 and 1918

I don’t know if currency was issued in fiscal years as coinage, but many of these notes were probably exchanged for physical silver by panicked citizens that had inflationary fears from World War I. Redeeming two of these banknotes would yield someone 5 physical silver Rupee coins. If the scenario did happen as illustrated it may be one of the reasons that makes this banknote not so easy to find nowadays. Widespread panic to hoard silver.


Damn Brits, and Damn Hindustani Hoarding Indians. What? I try to be politically correct. Sometimes. Statement(s) not intended to hurt anybody’s feelings, and I want that to be clear. I don’t play that $hit-

The Bombay Mint had probably minted a very small quantity of 1939 One Rupee dated coins that were more than likely mixed in with the 1938 One Rupee dated coins entering circulation. I believe that the 1938 One Rupee dated coins were finished being minted sometime in July of 1940, the mint started srtiking the 1939 One Rupee dated coins, the paper currency injection came to fruition, the “official” order came to reduce the fineness for the Half Rupee to .500 silver, and the One Rupee coin was to be officially reduced to .500 silver as we know today.

Man Alive there is a lot of stuff going in July 1940 at the Bombay Mint! At the same time I think the decision came to stop the .917 fineness for the One Rupee 1939 dated coins abruptly well before the official date of December 20th 1940, and the Bombay Mint suspended minting the 1939 One Rupee dated coins altogether.

1939 India Rupee Frosty Reverse

We are at a crucial transitory period going from .917 silver fineness to .500 silver fineness. We know that one 1939 Security Edge One Rupee dated coin survived from the supposed specimen mintage of 5 coins as noted by Pridmore, and these were “trial” pieces struck by the Bombay Mint in the “new” Quaternary Alloy. The Bombay Mint may have been tinkering with the idea of producing the 1939 One Rupee dated coin for standard circulation with a security edge, and then abandoned the idea. If the planned mintage was 150,000,000+ for the 1940 One Rupee dated coin then the Bombay Mint had to get off its laurels to mint it’s proposed mintage.

The Bombay Mint was seven months into the year 1940, and making One Rupee coins dated 1939 in the new alloy with the security edge would further delay the arduous task of producing the planned mintage of 150,000,000+ 1940 One Rupee dated coins. Part of the mintage includes One Rupee notes as well, and they would still have had many coins to strike even with the paper currency injection. Maybe this is why they never struck the 1939 One Rupee Security Edge Rupee coin for circulation, and only prototypes were struck.

By the way the 1940 One Rupee dated coin was the most massive planned mintages for a One Rupee coin since 1920. The Bombay mint liked to work with planned mintages as referenced above, and in order for the mint to produce 150,000,000+ One Rupee coins dated 1940 would arguably take some time to say the least to produce, and this mintage includes paper money that was printed as noted. They would have a good 12-13 months for production, and some of these coins needed to be ready before the official order was released on December 20th 1940 for fineness reduction.

Whatever 1938 and 1939 One Rupee dated coins had been minted were probably withdrawn from circulation over time up until the withdrawal order dated December 20th 1940, and thereafter as well. But we know now in hindsight that The British Indian Government could melt down 1,000 .917 silver fineness Rupee coins, produce 1,834 .500 silver fineness Rupee coins, and maintain the same value. Wait? How does that work, and how is it worth the same value? Maybe we should ask the same questions to the Federal Reserve within the United States or most of the World Central Banks for that matter.

1939 India Rupee Obverse

I speculate the 1939 One Rupee dated coin was struck for one or two days at most. I can never prove unless I have concrete mint records or I use Marty McFly’s DeLorean from the movie Back to the Future to go back in time. But, if more 1939’s were struck then I ask : Where are they? Are they hoarded? Still? How can you hoard something that can’t be hoarded? They did circulate, and circulated for many years until slowly the coins migrated to the Reserve Bank of India’s treasuries where they were withdrawn from circulation with all the other .917 silver fineness coins.

It was easy to identify what was .917, and what was not. Most examples we see of the 1939 One Rupee coin are the “Reeded Edge” coin which is generally found in XF/AU (American standard grading) or poorer quality. Anything with a Reeded Edge was .917, and anything with a Security Edge was .500 There was a 1939 Security Edge One Rupee dated coin that surfaced in VF condition, and it had survived years of wear before somebody pulled it from circulation many years ago.

The sole reason the coin may have survived many years of the .917 silver melts may have been because of the “Security Edge” itself. Those coins that had the security edge were easier to identify to keep them circulating through the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary system, and whatever didn’t have a Security Edge was melted/recoined.

I have seen a few examples myself of the 1939 One Rupee dated coins, most of the coins from my experience were XF, AU/Almost Uncirculated (including cleaned examples), and UNC condition. I always wondered why the reverse was noticeably shinier than the obverse on some examples or why the reverse exhibited a semi proof like finish.

1939 Rupee Reverse slight Proof Like finish likely from an early striking

Why didn’t the obverse compliment the reverse? This does not mean that all 1939 dated coins will exhibit these qualities in AU grades, and I have seen business strikes as well without the shiny reverse. But, i’ve seen a few examples in hand that have noticeably tight polished lines or “die lines” on the reverse, they were very fine and fairly vertically uniform, and not so raised. Is this a characteristic of a newly prepared die? I believe so, and this coin has a semi reflective proof like surface as evidenced by the reverse.

My belief and 100% concrete evidence will vary very greatly. I have no proof except the coin in hand, and a few others that I have seen with my own eyes. But, if we do see these characteristics on AU or better 1939 One Rupee dated coins it could point to a very limited striking. Maybe even less than I propose below.


 The 1939 reverse die was poorly engraved or poorly prepared to provide full strikes suggesting a number of possibilities, but the die(s) still had to be polished/prepared producing a better proof like surface on the reverse than the obverse during the first few hundred strikes. Some of the cleaned examples will show these qualities because the reverse die may have been prepared with more care than the obverse die, and the obverse die may have been the exact same die from the 1938 One Rupee dated coins.

There is less “smoothness” on the reverse with the high points closer together, almost proportionate height, and tighter detail. These characteristics would somewhat shield the smooth surfaces from taking “one on the chin”. But keep in mind that the smooth obverse fields on these coins are always prone to contact marks, scratches, and nicks.

1938 India Rupee Obverse

The reverse could sustain much more wear because of the intricacy of the design and the high points were curved/rounded. The obverse was frozen for four dated years : 1938, 1939, 1940, and 1941. Many collectors will recognize for the previous dates that the obverse for this One Rupee coin series is always struck with more detail than the reverse with the exception of 1941 being a reworked reverse.

The reverse is an interested subject for this coin/series as well. From my observations I’ve noticed a tiny raised diamond test mark on the reverse of the 1939 One Rupee located between the “N” and “D” within the word “I N D I A.”  The Bombay Mint used marks that were incused into the die to test the hardness of the die from 1936, and onward(s) sporadically. They also used them on some restrikes in different positions, and places.

I found the diamond mark on the 1939 dated One Rupee coins in three different positions: one dead in the center between the “N” and “D”, one nearing the “D” close to the top, and the last one like the last one but further away from the “D”. Confused by that last bit of the sentence? I was, and then I read it again. These test marks suggest that there were at least three working reverse dies from only what I have seen or experienced.

Sooner or later the test mark would disappear as more blanks passed through the die unless it was “freshly” prepared. It’s hard to locate the mark with the naked eye unless the pictures are really big, and even then it could be difficult to locate. I have personally seen the “diamond” in the identical position on two coins with semi proof like reverse finishes, and two additional coins (fresh reverses) with a “diamond” nearing the same position. If somebody could determine the rate at which the diamond would disappear from the die it would shed some additional light on the actual mintage. But, we would still need to determine somehow how many working dies were being used to get an even clearer picture.

The diamond test mark would be near this position as noted with the asterisk without the aesthetic interruptions:

.I N*D I A.

1939 Rupee Reverse Diamond Test Mark

The diamond test mark would look something like this sized about a third of a grain of iodized salt and can be seen in the photo above.

British India Coins of India were always struck in the following manner: The reverse die was stationary, and the obverse die which was the moving part come down on the planchette with many metric tonnes of pressure. From my experience the reverse is generally more defined than the obverse for the British India series. But that will not be true always, and especially for the 1938, 1939, 1940 One Rupee dated coins.

The same design obverse dies that were used for 1938 One Rupee dated coins were used for 1939 One Rupee dated coins as well. I’ve found some 1938 One Rupee dated coins with a sharp diamond test mark located somewhere between the first “R” in the word “EMPEROR”, and the back of King George’s head nearing the center of his hair.

The obverse diamond mark can be in a number of positions within the “fields” or smooth surface of the coin, but are generally located within the area as described above. The 1939 One Rupee dated coins I have seen have had this test mark on every coin, in three positions, and they are all “mushy”. I don’t see any evidence on this pictured coin pointing to any polishing or re-polishing of the obverse die. I’m suggesting that it would have been very easy to leave the 1938 obverse die in its place, replace 1938 One Rupee reverse die with the 1939 One Rupee reverse die, and resume production without a hitch. More than likely the same obverse dies that struck the 1938 One Rupee dated coins were used to strike the 1939 One Rupee dated coins as well.

Shouldn’t we see both diamond test marks having the same “newness” if the obverse/reverse were both newly prepared dies on a 1939 One Rupee dated specimen? Furthermore, you will find a majority of the 1939 One Rupee dated coins with a slight tilt die axis on the reverse about 5-7 degrees to the left as shown. Also, I have seen some 1938 One Rupee dated coins as well with this almost identical die axis. Check to see if any of your 1938 One Rupee dated coins have a die axis. Is this die axis a pure coincidence or was “a” die or multiple dies switched out in the same position during the end of the 1938 One Rupee dated coin striking which probably transitioned into the 1939 One Rupee dated coin(s) striking?


I speculate that the actual number of coins struck for the 1939 One Rupee dated coin was between 7,500-10,000 coins, and the survival rate is 1%-2%

What do I believe survived?

~200 coins or less~


~only 1 time 9 will 3 tell 9~

Here is what’s graded by NGC so far up until 4/23/2012:

XF45 AU50 AU55 AU58 MS61 MS62 MS63
1         1         1         2        1         1        1

Here is what’s graded by PCGS so far up until 4/23/2012:

XF45                                                                 MS64

1                                                                          1

In the last three years I have seen the population reports with numerical value/grades increase from NGC by 2 coins. There is an MS 64 graded by PCGS recently, and three coins graded by ANACS. There are around 16 coins in Third Party Graded holders to my knowledge. This coin is a tough coin to get in general, and in the last 6 years there have been only 5 coins that were in AU+/UNC condition from 2006-2012 purveyed mainly by one auction house.

Most of the UNC examples we have seen have been sold via auction in the last few years. I believe some Englishmen may have saved some examples as novelty, and those are the better examples we see nowadays. Not many but a few UNC examples made it to the USA coin market over the last few decades from across the pond.

I know of at least three that have been in slabs: MS 61, MS 62, and MS 63 at NGC which have been in the population report for the last 5+ years. My point is that in the past six years I know of only 7-8 examples that are UNC coins. A few auction houses in India have sold an additional six examples which were in poor condition over the past 2-3 years.

If one compare’s the poor quality examples sold in India to those examples sold abroad. The examples sold abroad were selling at incredible bargain prices because of the superior quality. There are only 14 public records for this coin in the last 6 years from the date these words were written in late April 2012.

I don’t have firsthand knowledge of any private transactions (other than my own) from the past, and that could very well skew my data. This coin has not shown up very often in auction from my past experience, and that will slowly change I suspect going forward. Maybe a hoard may be found? Maybe December 21st 2012 this hoard will show up courtesy the Mayan Calendar. But, then again I have a financial interest in this coin, assumed the risk of buying this coin, and a hoard would spell disaster for me/those that have taken on this risk.

1939 Rupee Reverse slight Proof Like finish likely from an early striking

I don’t believe there are “thousands” of 1939 One Rupee dated coins as claimed by an auction house many years ago in India. If there are thousands of these out there in the market-place, then why have we only seen 4-5 UNC examples publicly trade in the past 6 years? It sure as hell isn’t because the price is low or there is no demand for the coin. The auction houses in India have been selling poor quality examples for many years now. Maybe that’s all that has been available in the market-place and consumers have been sporadically buying them when available.

But that will change in due time since the collector/investor/hobbyist will demand better quality going forward for India coinage. This is a natural progression for a market that is growing, and maturing at the same time. The next few years may show us how many 1939 One Rupee dated coins are out there in the marketplace. Everybody wants to make money: selling one of these coins could make you money, depending on when you made your purchase, and if you want to sell.

The question is who is going to show us the demand curve first, and sell? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile happy hunting a :









*additional thoughts to consider from my responses

“Thanks for reading the story, and many others contributed as well.”



“I’m glad you enjoyed the reading. The story is very open to think many possibilities through, there are many facts, and I leave much up to the reader. Thanks for the feedback.”



“Thanks for the feedback, and i’m glad you find the info useful. I have never seen a 1939 Proof, and I don’t know if it exists or not. You may want to check around on the web for an image. Thanks. Sincerely, Sanjay”

“1940 One Rupee notes were issued in quantity of 90,000,000, and counted as silver coin. The total mintage for the 1940 One Rupee coin is 150,000,000 according to Krause. In actuality it’s 60,000,000 coins or less. 1941’s mintage may be even less than listed as well, and from experience 1940 and 1941 are almost impossible to find in Gem BU grades.
1943 is equally tough or tougher, and the 1943 mintage is completely erroneous as well.

1944 was the height of World War II, and the mints probably stopped minted 1943 dated which were more than likely struck in 1944. This was common practice as the fiscal year overlaps into the next year. Hence minting into the next year, what I describe for 1939 is that it may have started, and stopped almost immediately. Why I don’t believe it was fully struck is because it has the identical mintage to the 1911 1/2 Rupee, but one will find those in either complete crap grade or Gem BU. Someone pulled a few of those out of the mint, and knew the scarcity. People were well aware of scarcity, and I don’t really think anyone had time to pull a few pieces of the 1939 Rupee. The decisions must have been made so quick, and I think they just stopped after a very short stint of minting. Whatever was mixed in with the 1938 bags or rolls is what got distributed, and that was just by chance.

The 1911 1/2 Rupee mintage I believe was struck fully, stored, more than 1939, and not distributed. The 1939 Rupee mintage struck in it’s entirety?

I am not a buyer-

Someone specifically at the mint pulled out over 15 BU/GEM examples of that date. You have a better shot at finding a bu/gem example than an AU example. Can the same be said for the 1939 Rupee date? No. Ask the collectors or view the population reports. Both can confirm the above speculative info. The thought of debasing the silver Rupee was done months before it was to be actually done, and it was a last minute decision I believe. There wasn’t anything to melt, and whatever escaped from the mint was probably mixed in with the 1938 Rupee bags or rolls.

I am still convinced the mint kept the same obverse working die from 1938 dated Rupee, and replaced only the reverse. The 1939 dated Rupee reverse is off by a few degrees to the left almost identically as the 1938 dated Rupee reverse. They were in a hurry. In addition there is no “test diamond mark” behind George’s head which is usually indicative of a new die. Those diamonds were used to measure die wear. But. I have never seen a full diamond behind the head of George on a 1939 dated Rupee.

What’s very fascinating to me is that the “Reverse” has a fully visible test strike as I have described in the article-

The decision to come off the .917 silver standard for the Rupee was a rash decision, and wasn’t supposed to happen until later in the year for the Rupee. The mints had already made a decision as mentioned in the full article. The mint struck the Security Edge 1939 Rupee, and completely abandoned the 1939 .500 silver debased striking. Why? Because they were probably well into the year to start striking 1940 dated coins. This is what I believe. In addition to what I believe, they could not get the Security Edge application correct. The British Government had to fly people out a few times to properly calibrate the edge, and that was after this striking I think. They still didn’t get it right.

Anyways, collectors will find 1942,1944, 1945, and 1938 Rupees by the boatloads. 1938 was hoarded for sure, and the debased issues were struck in gargantuan quantities. Try to find 1940, 1941, and 1943 in Gem Bu condition. Good Luck. I’m still looking. But collectors are brainwashed by 1938 for some reason that it is “scarce”.

During the debasement The Pittman Act money was due as well after the war. Someone can research when the Pittman Act repayment was actually due, and I’m fairly certain it was in the 1940’s. The Indian British Government starting debasing silver with the 1939 Rupee issue as the 1939 Security Edge Trial indicates. That issue was .500 silver, and not the fineness of .917 as the original issue 1939 Dated issue.

They had to return $270,000,000 to the good ole USA via The Pittman Act that they borrowed 20+ years ago-

Where should they take the money out from? The British Treasuries? Nope-


Debase the Rupee, and send the silver back to the UK. There was political unrest, and the British Government knew their time was up sooner or later, and they started operation : Debase

Inject half the silver in the form of coin, and flood the People with the “frozen” year 1940 One Rupee Paper notes which were not even close to par in lieu of the hard asset of silver in terms of value.

But they pulled it off-

Very quietly-

From 1940 to 1946 can one imagine how much silver was sent to England via the Reserve Bank?

and then India gets it’s Independence shortly thereafter-

think they cared about silver?

or freedom?




*additional thoughts

“Thanks for sharing the information with us, and your thoughts. I always suspected that the 1936 India denominations were “frozen” strikes or years. There are so many of them available in great quantities, there were no circulating coins dated 1937, and as you pointed out that most of these coins were not struck until after the order was noted. Similarly Pridmore does mention that a small quantity of 1938 coins were struck in late 1939. 1835 very well was frozen I suspect but only up until mid 1837 when William passed, and 1840 Divided Legend was struck in mass quantity probably up until 1862. 1840 Continuous Rupees I’m not so certain about as they are more difficult to find than Divided. I am starting to believe they stopped making them in 1850-51 or so when the Divideds were first struck. Makes sense to me, thanks, and regards-”


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