Book on East India Company Coinage

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October 25, 2012 – Dr. Paul Stevens’ first book, ‘The Coins of the Bengal Presidency’ is an essential reference work for anyone interested in this period of Indian history, British colonial history and East India Company coinage. The first of a planned three part series on the coins of the East India Company, this will be the new standard reference work for the next generation of numismatists.

Paul Stevens, The Coins of the Bengal Presidency. The Coinage of the Hon. East India Company: Part I. Baldwin’s, London, 2012. Hardcover, pp. xii, 564, photographs and illustrations throughout. GBP 50.

Written by the highly respected numismatist Dr. Paul Stevens who became interested in Indian coinage during the 1970s and was particularly fascinated by the coins which were produced by the British for use in India, the book is a result of many hours spent poring over primary source documents in the British Library. It explores the coins and mints of the Bengal Presidency from 1757, when the EIC first acquired the right to mint coins there, until 1835, when a uniform coinage was introduced into British India.

Divided into ten chapters, each one deals with a different time or location of the coinage. Each chapter then consists of a short summary followed by a very detailed exploration of the information found mainly in the archives of the EIC. This part contains extensive archival extracts, which should prove useful to both numismatists and historians studying the EIC. Next, (within each chapter,) there is a detailed catalogue of the coins discussed within that chapter, and finally there is a list of references that will ensure that the original sources can easily be found. At the end of the book there are some useful appendices: an AH/AD/RY concordance; a glossary of Indian words and abbreviations found in the extracts from the records; a concordance of Pridmore numbers with the Stevens catalogue numbers; and the mint names and rulers’ names as they actually appear on the coins. Many other fascinating pieces of information could also be mentioned but they are all in the book and that is where they should be sought.

Baldwin’s is offering 142 lots of British Indian coins from the collection once formed by Dr. Stevens in their 3rd November Argentum auction. Lots 230 to 372 from the catalogue contain a variety of beautiful coins from the Madras, Bombay and Bengal presidencies …

Lot 340.

… including lot 340 a 1794, Gilt Proof 2-Pice.
The Coins of the Bengal Presidency, published by Baldwin’s, is priced at £50 plus postage and can be ordered through the Baldwin’s website.

The catalogue for the Baldwin’s Autumn Argentum auction with full listing of all 142 coins can be found online.