The Virtual Museum of Indian Coins                       

Today's Featured Coin
Mughal: Shah Jahan (Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram), 1628-58,
     Silver khani or shahrukhi, Balkh

Weight: 4.27 gm. Diameter: 25 mm Die axis: 11 o'clock
Legend shah jahan badshah ghazi, with AH date 1057 =1647-48 /
Legend, Kalima
Ref: KM 220.1 type but dated
A most interesting coin, discovered only in the 1990s and providing confirmation of textual accounts of Shah Jahan's campaign in Balkh. Those accounts have been identified by Shailendra Bhandare in a very interesting paper entitled "Numismatic Reflections on Shahjahan’s Balkh Campaign - 1646-47" to appear in Numismatic Digest, Vol. 39 (2015), and shed light on the conservatism we see in coinage.

The principal source quoted by Bhandare is the Padshahnama of Abdul Hamid Lahori. Shah Jahan mounted his campaign in 1646 at the invitation of the deposed Khan of Bukhara, who controlled Balkh at the time, and his forces were able to seize Balkh and its substantial treasury with ease in July of that year. However, the difficulties of maintaining an occupying force so far from the empire, in a place much colder than the Indian troops were used to, and facing constant harassment at the hands of the large numbers of Uzbek partisans, forced the Mughal army to reach a truce and withdraw by October 1647. Thus the occupation lasted just over a year.

Given that the Mughal occupation was so short, there was a question of whether they ever issued coins in Balkh. But it is quite certain from Lahori's account that coins were indeed issued and this coin provides tangible proof of that. Apparently the first coins issued were mohurs and rupees, but the rupees did not find acceptance because they did not conform to the roughly 4 gm standard of the local coinage. As a result, Lahori tells us that khanis of that weight, in which copper would be mixed with the silver, would be struck and exchanged at a rate of four to a rupee. These khanis are what we call today shahrukhis, of which this coin is a great example. The coin is dated AH 1057.

There were other coins dated 1056, and undated ones, three of which can be seen on the Shah Jahan page.

Previously featured coins can be seen in the Archive of Featured Coins.

A Note on Image Sizes: On the web, it is impossible to present coin images in their actual sizes, the way they can be in print. Throughout the CoinIndia website, however, an attempt has been made to present the coins in sizes proportional to one another. Thus a coin that has twice the diameter as another coin will be shown as double in size (with the exception of the image on this page, which is always shown at this fixed size, no matter what the size of the original coin was). Wherever possible, the actual diameter (for round coins) or dimensions (for rectangular or oddly-shaped coins) is provided. Of course, enlargements of each coin are available by clicking on the images.
© CoinIndia - All Rights Reserved - Copyright Policy