The 1970 One Rupee Coin : Circulation/Business Strike

I haven’t read much about the 1970 Rupee coin because there simply isn’t much to read. Krause lists the 1970 Rupee coin mintage as “included above” within the 1962 Rupee business strike mintage which is roughly 3.2 million. There is no official data that is publicly available for the 1970 Rupee coin to my knowledge. We do know that the mintage for the 1970 proof issue is between 2,900 and 3,100 sets which includes the Rupee coin. We also know that between 1971 and 1974 there was no Circulation/Business strike for a One Rupee coin.

All of the “so called” business Rupee strikes between 1971-1974 are after market fakes or fantasy issues. They were never minted for circulation. Ever! The 1962 Rupee was probably a frozen year for at least two years, and minted into the year 1964 in anticipation of the Commemorative Nehru Rupee. But keep in mind that the 1962 Rupee was “re-struck” as part of the 1967 strip pack set, the 1967 Proof Set, and the 1967 Uncirculated set. What is interesting is that the 1970 One Rupee coin makes three similar guest appearances in: Proof, Strip Pack, and a Business/Circulation strike as well. One of the reasons the 1970 Rupee may not be readily available in present day may have been because of the brief perceived worldwide Nickel shortage of 1969.



The price of Nickel remained somewhat consistent between the years of 1957-1966 per pound at a median price of .77 USD The first year the commodities market saw a median increase per pound in Nickel was 1967 to .88 USD, and then the following years are applicable in lieu of median price: 1968 .95 USD, 1969 1.05 USD, 1970 1.29 USD, 1971 1.33 USD per pound. There are three primary reasons for year over year increases in Nickel prices : growing global stainless steel demand, The Vietnam War, and of course speculation. On November 21st 1969 the price of Nickel stood at a record $7.70 per pound! This was a 500%+ increase in price from a year ago, and the worst Nickel shortage since World War II The United States fervently was scrapping metal for Nickel to fulfill domestic demand, and secured an ample supply sometime in 1970. Somebody at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI/Government) possibly elected not to buy additional Nickel supply in 1969 for the 1970 mintages, and maybe the RBI/Government bought very sparingly.

Some of you may be saying/thinking, “The 1968 25 Paise has a big mintage, look at the mintages for the 1969 50 Paise, 1969 Gandhi 50 Paise, and the 1969 Gandhi One Rupee which are all pure Nickel.” They are massive mintages in total as we know, and the metal was probably bought in advance at favorable prices. The government had to take delivery of the metal at port, ration the metal to the appropriate mints, smelt it, prepare the dies, produce blanks, and then get ready for production/distribution. Imagine the logistics involved, and I’m sure I missed many points. Father Time. He’s always against us, and what did we do to him? Nothing. We simply exist on his watch.

The amount of Nickel on hand at the RBI’s reserve in 1970 is unknown. But the RBI did have some Nickel on hand to mint 1970 Rupees, and 50 Paise Coins. The circulation strikes were minted in small quantities, and nobody has the answers but the RBI themselves of what was actually minted per se. The only pure Nickel circulation coin produced after 1970 was the 1971 (C) 50 Paise coin which had a mintage of 57,000,000 I suspect this was a “planned mintage” as I don’t see so many of those coins from my experience, but i’m uncertain about its present day availability. In addition, the 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1974 Proof Rupees were the only other pure Nickel coins issued by The Bombay Mint.

The following 1970 coins were minted in pure Nickel: 1970 Rupee “B” business strike, 1970 Rupee “B” Proof, 1970 50 Paise “B” Proof, 1970 50 Paise “B” business strike, and the 1970 50 Paise “C” business strike.

Here are mintages from Krause

1970 Rupee (B) Circulation Strike : “included above with 1962 Rupee mintage” which essentially means unknown

1970 Rupee (B) Proof Striking : 3,046

1970 50 Paise (B) Circulation Strike : “included above with 1969 50 Paise mintage” which essentially means unknown

1970 50 Paise (B) Proof Striking : 3,046

1970 50 Paise (C) Circulation Strike : “included above with 1969 50 Paise mintage” which essentially means unknown

How many stories have we heard/viewed/watched from the past or present about coins being melted for whatever reasons over decades in India? The main reason for these behaviors were rising metal prices. “Lets melt all this stuff down, and make some ingots which we can resell for triple the price!” Sounds like a plan to me, but I would rather go to jail for stealing the “Mona Lisa.” At least I would have a good story to tell in prison, and I wouldn’t be any better of a criminal than the guy sitting next to me that got caught (s)melting coins. We both sucked at what we did hence our simultaneous incarceration. Where was I? Yes, yes, yes…coins….coins…Some of these 1970 coins have probably made their way to the smelter.

People always save(d) coins for novelty, and I’m sure some of these coins are sitting in a “cupboard” or “Kabart” as my cousins say. I can say from my experience that I don’t have many 1970 50 Paise UNC coins so I don’t have much clarity as to what is available, I am in the United States, and a collector in India may have a different experience. I speculate The Bombay Mint produced small quantities of the 1970 One Rupee coins in comparison to the surrounding mintages such as the 1962 or 1969 One Rupee coins.

1972 was the inaugural year when the RBI choose to use Copper-Nickel as the choice metal for the 25 and 50 Paise denominations which was 75% Copper and 25% Nickel for many years to come, and 1975 marks the reintroduction for the circulation/business strike Rupee coin as well with more to come. The RBI had enormous cost savings by using a fraction of the Nickel they were using previously for circulation coinage, and Nickel is a very durable metal. The metal is not as cheap as it was, the median price of Nickel from 1968 had risen by almost 50% on average to 1972, and the RBI probably bought Nickel in 1971 when the prices plummeted from the speculative bubble a few months/years back to normalized levels.


Most of the 1970 Rupee circulation strikes that I have handled are not struck very well from my experience, and on rare occasion I will find a fleur-de-coin. Nickel in general is a problem metal to strike because of it’s hardness. Any weak strikes are not tolerated in general by the metal itself, and we will see many 1962’s that are not the most stellar strikes riddled with planchette flaws in various places. I’ve seen many problem 1962’s, and those coins have been impossible for me to find in eye pleasing technical grades. The obverse is always struck weakly in the eyes, ears, face, nose, toes, whiskers, and high points in general.


The 1970 Rupee falls in the same category as the 1962’s minus all the plachette flaws. But it’s not the metal’s fault entirely for the poor strikes, and Indian Mint’s are/were notorious for recycling dies. Could a sparingly used obverse die from the 1962 Rupee be paired with a 1970 reverse die? It’s very likely or it could have been a recycled die, and a new die. Could a 1970 obverse proof die been used for a circulation strike? Possibly, but very unlikely, and if you find one it is a mule. Could the obverse die from the “strip pack” be recycled for the Proof die? Probably not, but anything is possible, and I have never seen one. The strip pack dies for 1970, and the circulation/business strike dies are both in fact the same design for the Rupee coin just as they are for 1962. This gets very confusing but this is what all of this means: The “Small Lions Obverse” die design for 1962 was used for 1970 without any changes until the 1970 Proof coins were struck which has a “Big Lions Obverse”. The “Big Lions Obverse” was used for the 1971 Proof Rupee issue as well, the mint very well could have recycled the 1970 obverse die for 1971 easily, and then the mint elected to go back to the “Small Lions” design for the entire 1972 Proof Rupee.

Here are the rough specifications for the “Small Lions Obverse” and the “Big Lions Obverse”:

Small Lions middle of the head to bottom of the pedestal base measurement: 23mm
Big Lions middle of the head to bottom of the pedestal base measurement: 24.5mm

Small Lions measurement taken from the nose tip of the left flanking Lion to the nose tip of the right flanking Lion: 14mm
Big Lions measurement taken from the nose tip of the left flanking Lion to the nose tip of the right flanking Lion: 15mm

Small Lions measurement taken from bead or bar flanking the Horse on the left to the bead or dot flanking the Bull on the right: 12mm

Big Lions measurement taken from bead or bar flanking the Horse on the left to the bead or dot flanking the Bull on the right: 13mm+


The overall differences between these obverses can be seen with the naked eye if you put them side by side, but with a quick glance it’s hardly noticeable. One distinct characteristic of the “Big Lions Obverse” is one of his engraved whiskers almost touches the bottom eyelid underneath his left eye. I first discovered these differences while looking at my 1973 Proof Rupees, and I thought I was seeing things late at night. But yes, there are two Proof Rupee varieties for the 1973 issue. How did it happen? One possibility is that The Bombay Mint used the “Small Lions Obverse” until it was exhausted, and went to the “Big Lions Obverse”. I speculate they may have ran out of the “Small Lions” dies, and used possibly the leftover “Big Lions” from the 1970/1971 dies, and probably made dies on demand when necessary. I have a Proof Rupee with a sizable die crack, and it should have never been sold in a set. These coins are the supposed cream of the crop, and flawless. It is what it is.

Is the Small Lions Obverse a muling for 1973? Tricky question. Is the Big Lions a muling for 1973? Another tricky question. The Bombay Mint used the Small Lions Obverse for the entire 1972 Proof Rupee issue, and the mint may have had every intention of using the Small Lions for the entire 1973 issue. But, the demand possibly exceeded the dies on hand, and they didn’t have enough time to make more dies. They were scrambling, and found a swift solution : Release the Big Lions Obverse from it’s cage. The Big Lions were again on the prowl sometime in 1973, and they walked the entire year of 1974 by themselves. Maybe the Small Lions and the Big Lions roamed together from the very beginning in 1973.

When did the Big Lions and Small Lions specifically roam out of The Bombay Mint in 1973 : indeterminate

The Bombay Mint issued two 1973 India Proof Set versions: a 9 coin set and 10 coin set. Both sets contain both versions of each of the coins, and it is difficult to determine which version is scarcer. Keep in mind that the 1973 India Proof set had the highest mintage out of all the 1970’s Proof sets produced for reasons unknown, and The 1974 Proof set only contains the “Big Lions Obverse” for all Proof Rupees minted that year to my knowledge. Most of the 1974 Rupee obverse strikes are a hodgepodge of quality. Some of the 1974 Rupees I have seen are really bad in the facial area, and little detail can be seen. No matter what scrutiny is mentioned within these writings we must be satisfied that these coins were minted, and give thanks to Paramount International Coin Corporation in Ohio that first brought us these coins.


Why did The Bombay Mint elect to mint Proof Rupees from 1970 to 1974 in lieu of steadily rising Nickel prices? They were making money, no pun intended, and Paramount International Coin Corporation was paying them something to buy these sets in 1970 which they were retailing at an issue price of $15 within the United States. Another reason may have been that the set may not be/look complete without the main coin: “The Rupee” The total run of Proof Rupees from 1970-1974 was about 29,000-31,000 coins, and each coin weighs 10 grams. In “ore” terms the total weight was roughly 300 Kilograms or 661 pounds which cost let’s say $1.45 Per Pound =ing $958.45 Compare this to what the RBI would have had to spend making pure Nickel circulation Rupees as they did back in 1969 which they struck about 11.8 Million.

The price of Nickel had risen sharply since the 1969 Rupee coins entered circulation, and the 1970 Rupee didn’t stand a chance of being minted in the millions or even hundreds of thousands. Sheer economics hindered a large scale 1970 Rupee coin mintage, and the 1970 One Rupee paper money option was much cheaper to produce than it’s metallic cousin.

The 1970 Rupee circulation coin doesn’t come up very often on eBay, but that is only one viewing venue, and I am mainly searching the USA site. What I do see are many 1970 One Rupee notes up for sale in comparison to the One Rupee coin. Possibly the RBI may have injected/printed more paper money to account for the deficiency of 1970 Rupee coinage because of the high Nickel prices. But that needs to be researched much deeper, and there was a similar scenario which occurred back in 1940 that I wrote about in my analysis of the 1939 Rupee.

Within the last calendar year of browsing eBay I have seen over 75 1938 One Rupee coins for sale graded/non graded in all grades. You know how many 1970 One Rupee coins I’ve seen in the last year in all grades? Less than 7, and all of those examples were UNC/BU+ within the United States only with the exception of one which was Au. The remaining examples I saw on eBay India were not as good quality as the USA examples. There were very few UNC examples, and most were Au or in lower grades. Now that’s not true about the examples I saw in the auction house catalogs from India.

These coins recently started showing up in Indian Auction houses because they now have more value than they did in the past. Maybe there is more demand, and more collectors are seeking this coin. The auction house examples were pretty much on par with the USA eBay examples in quality terms, and seeing coins in person is always advisable when you are potentially buying. How did these BU coins end up in the USA? That’s a bigger mystery than this story so far, and I have not a clue.


See how many 1970 Rupees you can find in the next year(s), and then compare it to the availability of the 1938 Rupee as well. They are two different coins with two different strikes, varying popularity, and limited supply. But I think it’s an interesting comparison for scarcity/availability purposes. What is scarce is not always on par with price or vice versa. With collector demand increasing for coins of India in general, the demand for this particular mystery date coin will build further, and only time will show us how difficult or easily the coin may be to obtain. I’ve had a difficult time finding this coin, your experience may vary, and best of luck hunting your metallic Lions. big or Small-


*I originally wrote this on October 26th 2013 2:40 PM. The writing never had the proper flow, I never made time to revise it, and I’m not really a writer. However, it’s been revised and chronologically much better than before with less mistakes as well. Just a few cut and pastes here and there with a few minute rewrites and it’s all fixed for now. Part Two I have posted as well, and it remains intact as I had originally written. I took my time with the second part, and both parts now harmoniously compliment each other in my eyes. A trip down coin memory lane can be experienced as I did many years ago. Thanks for reading my thoughts if you choose.





Tails from the Crank-

Christmas Eve 12/24/2010 I made a deal buying Chinese slabbed coins with someone on ebay, and out of this sale blossomed a so called “friendship” in the coming weeks/months. We continued to bounce ideas off of each other, observed the market closely, I always stuck to my “no reserve” strategy 99.9% of the time, and he had his “buy it now”/”best offer”. When you are in need of money like me all the time you try to sell what you can as quickly as you can to keep the cycle going. Unless of course you have money then time is on your side. Usually time is against me.

Demand was insatiable-

For Chinese coins around this time, my new buddy was a constant cheerleader about the prices infinitely rising, and was pumping prices like a kid pumping his new spare tire on his bike that went flat. In a hurry to replace his tire, and start peddling again. Seriously. This guy would sell your ass out in a New York Minute to save his own. Anyways, he had sold inventory to me when he thought prices would peak, they kept going, and he is now starting to accept my views/speculative thoughts about continued rising prices.

1949 Singkiang Dollar

Now being a strictly by the numbers guy, I translate data to confirm price action, and what price action I see forms a rising trend. At least to me this is what I conclude, and I happen to guess correctly. I’ve been monitoring some type of pricing or another since the age of 8….Yes 8 years old since 1979, and I still can’t get it right most of the time.

The prices kept rising higher and higher every week for almost 40 consecutive weeks, primarily on eBay, and even to me it’s puzzling but I go with the flow. My new found “friend” has assured me the prices in the future will surely continue to exponentially compound forever. Sound familiar to anyone that follows the British India market?

We (me and my confidant) had an opportunity to sell coins in the month June 2011 to a prospective buyer who I refer to as “X”. This buyer believes in the future of the Chinese coin market, to him it looks really bright, and will continue. During this time I had offered a coin to his close family friend who I refer to as “Z”, and the deal never transpired. But it wasn’t a completely dead deal. My friend mentioned he met “X”, he will be selling him some Chinese coins, and wanted to know if I wanted to sell my “so and so coin”. I mentioned that I had offered the coin to “Z”, and waiting for a response. He says, “F#CK Z”! His statement reminded me of a scene from the movie TRADING PLACES where the Duke Brothers have lost all their money to Dan Akyoyd and Eddie Murphy. One of stock exchange representative says, “Mortimer, your brother doesn’t look well.” (The guy looks like he’s having a heart attack in the movie)”…..Mortimer say’s with great excitement, and anger, “F#CK HIM”! This is the same selfish behavior I see erupt from my trading friend, and his close family friend is not so close to him when it comes to MONEY!

In April/May 2011 he took an interest in the India market because I had mentioned how I thought it was undervalued. We made a deal on an auction as he asked me “Will you be bidding on this gold coin or do you have any interest in it so we don’t run each other up.” I never looked at it, and casually said “no.” I mentioned I had another few lots I had my eyes on. When the guy went to the coin viewing in person he viewed 2 lots for me which I appreciated. What else would one homeboy do for another? We don’t want to “run each other up”, hence our so called “auction alliance”. These auction alliances never work by the way.

August 2011 there is a major/massive auction set to auction Chinese coins which will give us more data about the market : The Wa She Wong Collection Part Two in Hong Kong. I always need data to keep my thoughts at bay or to readjust my forecasts. Since forecasts are ever changing as frequently as the weather at times. After three hours of monitoring auction prices I realized the prices have peaked, and they are going to go down. Quickly. But on the surface it looked like a slight pullback, but my brain says something different. I conveyed my thoughts to the head cheerleader, my newfound buddy, he vehemently denied any fissures in the foundation of building a skyscraper to Mars, and living next to the Martians. I don’t argue, and keep my thoughts to myself. Why? I’m a numbers guy, and the numbers don’t lie they generally reveal the real deal. Plus he just dropped “big money” on Chinese coins to secure a deal which two weeks ago which he planned on selling in 3-7 months.

He has to believe his decision was correct. Even if it wasn’t as that’s part of the risk process. Damage control has to be implemented, and you cut your losses as quickly as possible as a trader. September, he missed one major Indian coin auction, and he knew of the “Yashoda Singh Collection” only because I brought it up, and deep down he knows the Chinese market he has been pumping is starting to quickly erode.

Kiangnan Dollar

We chatted a bit about the lots in the Singh Collection, a day before the auction he calls me, and asks me questions in a hasty manner. “What do you think about this, what is the potential, and what is the scarcity.” I revealed a few of my price points to him about a few lots which was one of the dumbest things I did. More dumbness will follow in the coming years though. Without mistakes I cannot succeed- how could I distinguish success from failure? I want to make more mistakes but just less of them at crucial times.

Now keep in mind that the Chinese coin market is in free fall, and he/we sold this guy (buyer “X”) a bunch of Chinese coins by chance at the height of the market. Out of the total dollar value of the sale my coin was about 30% or so, and remainder of the 70% were coins that my acquaintance had sold to this dude. That sale took place in June 2011, and was no small amount of money. Did we do anything wrong? No. It was a sale, and there was a demand that was fulfilled. In hindsight this guy got completely screwed as he bought at the absolute height of the market. It happen. Happen to my a year or two later. Lol!

I’m not certain how much my acquaintance had pumped the Chinese coin market to buyer “X”. The unknown is still the unknown, and forecasts are forecasts. They are never a sure thing. But now the Chinese coin market is going straight down at its peak from June, it is now September, and more damage will come. The rising sun is about to reach the horizon once again, and this time on the way down though. Not up.

Buyer X had lots of money to burn according to my acquaintance, and he is not so happy I suspect 4 months later when the prices have fallen 30% by the month of September. Who would be, and I never told him to buy my coin. I gave him a firm price, and he paid up. Now on the other end of the sale I don’t know whether the sale was hyped up or not by my buddy. I suspect it probably was because my acquaintance thinks he is a know all speculator, and at times I think the along the same lines.

But he is much more prouder than I am, and I call it like I see it. You have to believe in your ideas because belief is the only thing someone cannot take away from man. But there comes a time when ego starts driving that chariot, you got to get back in the drivers seat, un lodge ego from taking over the journey, and put ego in check, and throw it in the passenger’s seat.

Here is what I think happen : For “my buddy” to get back in the good graces of “X” he has to give him something. Essentially make him feel that part of his money has been replenished or “recovered”. Now I suspect I have been the “fall guy” for this guy losing his shirt somewhat. My acquaintance probably blamed me, and maybe mentioned: “I have been relying on that guys data, and I know a way you can get even with him. There is huge sale of Indian coin coming up in England, and I know the guy knows his prices (which is a budgeted forecast). You can get even with him, and I know he knows India. This is your opportunity to get even with him.” What he ended up doing to this guy is screwing him over again because he was blindly buying coins with no knowledge of what he was buying.

I recall a second phone call with him, right before the Yashoda Singh Collection auction at Baldwin’s of London I had with this man who was formerly known as “my friend”, anyways, he spoke very quickly, and was in a hurry. Remember to be wary of anyone who is a fast/slick talker. This is what the country folk here say where I live in Bridgeville, PA or was it from the movie “Doc Hollywood” starring Michael J. Fox where the girl he’s chasing says something to the effect that “I can spot you city slickers a mile away.”

So my buddy goes right into a conversation immediately about “What has potential in India, what should I paying for this and that, how scarce are two annas, and what would you pay for this?” Are these scarce, how rare are these. “X” is buying India heavily. There is BIG MONEY chasing INDIA now.” I thought to myself, “Hmmm. I guess he discounted all the money I have put into the market, which according to his statement is peanuts, and what he says is really amusing to me.

Indo Chin Opium Money 1943-1944

He must have overlooked the : “Shah Alam II, AH 1173-1221; 1759-1806 A.D. 10 Rupees, Hijri, AH 1185, year 6. AR 115.6g, 45mm. Struck at Surat, in the name of the Mughal Emperor Shah ‘Alam II” which sold for almost $200,000 That coin sale was 9 months prior, I guess that was “small money”, and I wonder if he was planning on spending $200,000.01 which would qualify as “BIGGER MONEY”…..haha….I casually revealed my bids, lots, thoughts, and some of the trading ideas I was planning on implementing at the Baldwin’s auction. We have had numerous conversations about coin trading ideas, our communication was an open freeway of information between me, and him. What do I have to fear? He is my buddy.


Note to self : Never share your trading ideas with anybody-

Keep that shit to yourself-

Mysteriously during the September Baldwin’s auction I was outbid on all of the lots I was planning to buy. Some dude from the United States was in the room buying up all kinds of coins. Blindly outbidding almost everyone in the room. I realize that my so called buddy probably conveyed most of my trading ideas to “X”, and sold me out. What a swine. I distance myself from now my former acquaintance or we drift apart. Whatever you want to call it. Things won’t be the same as before, and that’s life.

Anyways, he has bigger problem on his hands, as he’s invested a chunk of change in the Chinese coin market which is eroding as I had mentioned. He also is trying to get me to invest in a so called “pool or tranche” investment to buy coins in an upcoming auction/catalog (that is off the radar, and does not as much exposure as some of the other major auction houses according to him), and we can flip it for “Millions”!!!!!Basically it’s an opportunity to make some money that he wants to share with me, and I suspect he’s looking to share this same generosity with with his childhood friend, remember “Z” and his newly found friend “X”.  Don’t forget about himself as an investor either, but why is he being so generous, and sharing all this information?

To keep the market at high prices so he can liquidate all of his stock and be out.

I listen, and play along. But I have no inkling of investing a single penny with Slick Rick. Wouldn’t you know it that “X” is considering investing, and so is his family friend “Z”. Remember that he needs to go to the next hot market or growing market, and employ the same strategies within the India coin market. First though he must liquidate his Chinese coin holdings, and his strategies remind me of the movie Boiler Room.

I still stick to my guns, tell him my money is tied up, and I can’t invest. I recall in September 2011 sometime he is asking me what do with his most recent acquisition of Chinese coins he bought in August at the ANA. He’s uncertain as what to do. I mentioned he should “split up the coins in two auctions.” Half in December 2011, and half in April 2012. “The April auction has more exposure, money, and is in Hong Kong” he mentions to me. Not sure what he ended up doing but I think he may have elected to sell all the coins in April. Which was the wrong move in hindsight.

One time I had an auction for a Chinese Copper coin on eBay in December of 2011, and he told me he would be bidding. It was nothing special but it made me wonder : Why is he bidding? The prices are on the way down week by week, and this copper coin is nothing special. It’s a variety but nothing that special. I don’t know much about Chinese coins, but have attempted to study price action in general for many years, it’s ever changing, and never set.

I only had one thought from a speculative standpoint. He is supporting the prices for this copper coin to keep the bullish illusion fresh on eBay, and it’s in his best interest to keep prices high. But that’s got to be really hard to do on the way down, and you would need an exorbitant sum of money to sustain the market. Now ebay, which is a smaller coin auction venue in the grand scheme of things it’s easier to support or manipulate prices. His major Chinese coin auction is slated for April 2012, and he would have to keep these buying charades up for many months. Which must be a lot of work, and he might have to eat a coin or two at times. But he is working a classic pump and dump as prudently as he can to cover his ass.

Kiangnan Dollar Reverse

The April 2012 Hong Kong auction shows the market what I had been thinking from August 2011 after The Wa She Wong Chinese sale : The “Specter of falling prices” rears it’s ugly head throughout the entire auction, and roils prices. This trend will continue for a few more months until it finally bottoms for the Chinese coin market. I had actually stopped monitoring that particular market in September of 2011.

I learned a lot from my former buddy but our friendship is soon slipped back to the “acquaintance” phase quickly and it happens with competitors quite often. I have unique identity as a competitor, and for someone to replicate what I do is identically is difficult. Everybody has got their own style like a fingerprint, and if you succeed. People will try to mock what you do, and then mock you. Kind of fucked up eh? That’s Life-

To be fair : Do I view my competition? What businessperson wouldn’t? I do, but I go about my business my way, and see more what I’m doing in my competitors work than what I take away from them. In a way it’s a great compliment, and a nuisance at the same time. Guess you can’t always have it your way like Burger King.

KRS ONE says, “you got to have style, learn to be original, and everybody is gonna wanna dis’ you.”  dis’ = disrespect-

When I view my competition, and I see them copying my style. What do I have to fear? Myself? Possibly.

Back to my friend who is now my acquaintance and slipping to lower levels in my eyes. Remember that deal we had in June 2011 with “X” that we did well with our coins in a deal he brokered. He did sell my coin, which I thanked him and I asked, “Are you all taken care of with price.” Essentially meaning did he carve out a commission for himself the sale.

His reply, “Yeah, and I’ll have to cut the paypal fees out from the sale.”

My reply, “Sure”

I’m happy, and he’s happy. We both handled our business, and made some money in an illiquid market.

But there is an underlying problem in the Chinese coin market that arises after the fourth massive Hong Kong Wa She Wong sale in April 2012. The prices are eroding day by day, and there were prices that crossed that nobody has seen on the downside before. Some items went for ridiculous prices and coins with the most liquidity are starting are dropping. Quickly. Which is the beginning of a free fall in the market from what I saw.



When prices rise 8x-10x in a short span of time, jumping of a cliff is destined to be the only path to travel as a speculator, and that is what happen. Tulip Mania, Elliot Wave Theory, South Sea Bubble, and there are many other examples that point to past compressed price explosions. Who is to blame for these behaviors? Nobody. It’s a marketplace, and that’s how it works. Perception can be construed in many ways especially if you are not the person monitoring the situation closely.

Now in May/June 2012 my friend who is not my friend is quietly playing a role in boosting the British India coin market artificially in a small trading arena : eBay. But it will take him much longer then he anticipates to artificially boost the prices as I have blocked him from my auctions for over a year. In addition I have blocked 7 other people he knows in order to shield my client base from his monkey business. Essentially I won’t let him run up a common coin (1841 TWO ANNAS) in high grade (MS65) to create an illusion that prices are rising. I could care less, and want the market to flow naturally as it should. I tried as long as I could. But who am I to what is fair?




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,, 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-”