1911 Silver Rupee Coin "The Pig Controversy" King George V

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In 1911 the British Government ruling the Indian land introduced new design of the Silver Rupee coins. These coins were introduced to celebrate the coronation of the new British King - George V. The obverse side of these silver rupee coins showed the King with beautifully decorated robes. This coin one of my most favourite coins since it's design is very much unique. Until 1910, there were King Edward silver rupee coins in circulation. This new design introduced after a decade was enough to attract the attention of the Indians.

The Controversy & Rarity

The new design of the coin was attractive in the first look however, there was a huge controversy amongst the Indians over this. The King George V looked very appealing on the coin however, the decoration which was used had a small elephant on it as per the British Government. However, the trunk of this elephant was not sleek enough to resemble a trunk. Instead it looked more like a "Pig". During those days, Indians considered a Pig as something awful and bad. Hence, this coin was rejected in markets by Indians as they believed that it was not a good sign. The rupee was also called as a "Pig Rupee" and the controversy is referred as the Pig Issue. 

 The British Government also felt that having a Pig symbol on the King's robe is not appropriate. Hence, all such coins were withdrawn from circulation and later melted. Out of the 9.4 million pieces struck at both the mints, only 7,00,000 were issued. The remainder and the withdrawn pieces were melted down.

In the world of numismatics, this is one of the rarest coins in the British India collection. The 1911 rupee is also known as Type 1 in the world of numismatists and other coins minted between 1912-1936 are known as Type 2. The coin featured above (Type 1) is from my personal museum collection.


Queen Victoria British India Coins 1840-1901

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alexandrina Victoria, more identified by the name Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819. She was the longest ruling British monarch in the history of British India Coinage. This illustrates that a majority of the British India coins were minted with her effigy.

1/4 Anna (Obverse & Reverse)

The minting of the Queen Victoria coins started after the reign of William IV in 1840 AD, shortly after the British Government introduced the Uniform coinage in the year 1835.

1/12 Anna - PIE (Obverse & Reverse)

Numismatic-ally, the coinage associated with her effigy can be classified in three broad categories:

1. Continuous Legend: This means the lettering legend viz. "Victoria Queen" on her effigy were Continuous and without any gap. The coins with the continuous legend effigy were the earlier issues which portrays young and beautiful queen. The coins with Continuous legend bear more value than the later ones.

2. Discontinuous Legend: This means that the lettering legend viz. "Victoria Queen" on her effigy were Discontinuous as shown in most of the coins shown here from my collection.

1 Rupee - SILVER, Victoria Queen - DISCONTINUOUS LEGEND (Obverse & Reverse)

3. Mature Bust: This type of Victoria coins were minted after the Queen's proclamation i.e. when Queen Victoria was pronounced as Empress Victoria. This type portrays the queen as a crowned queen and form the later issues. There are various mint marks and designs found on the coins of Victoria after 1862. Most of the coin collectors are fond of collecting coins of Victoria showing different dress patterns.

2 Annas - SILVER (Obverse & Reverse)

1/4 Rupee - SILVER (Obverse & Reverse)

Align Center
1 Rupee - SILVER, Victoria Empress (Obverse & Reverse)

Empress Victoria died on 22 January 1901 after which Edward VII was crowned the next British India ruler.


King Edward VII British India Coins 1903-1910

Sunday, October 31, 2010

King Edward VII was the British monarch who came into power after the death of his mother Queen/Empress Victoria. He was born on November 9, 1841 and was the eldest son and heir apparant of Queen Victoria. Edward married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863. They had 3 sons and 3 daughters. His mother, Victoria died in January 1901 but he was not into the throne until 1902. This is the reason why most of the coins you see here in my collection shows the effigy of King Edward as a bald middle-aged man. The possible cause could be that the original dies that were used to mint the coins using his effigy were manufactured before he came into power. The exception to this is the 1 Anna coin which portrays Edward in crown.

1/12 Anna OR 1 Pie (Obverse & Reverse)

Edward had a family nick name "Bertie" :) He was a great believer in Socialism. His famous quotes that made huge impacts are:

"We are all socialists now"
"Because a man has a black face and a different religion from our own, there is no reason why he should be treated as a brute."

1 Anna, 1/4 Anna & 1/2 Pice (Obverse & Reverse)

There is this controversy which I am still researching upon is that if Edward coins were minted from 1901 or 1903. I have a silver 1 rupee coin in my collection which bears the year 1901 whereas, few of the numismatists that I came across believe that no Edward coins were minted in 1901. I am a bit concerned about this controversy since I know that Silver rupee coins in 1901 were minted using Victoria's effigy. Nevertheless, if you have any idea about this, please feel free to throw some light and I would really appreciate that gesture.
Silver 1 Rupee, 1/2 Rupee & 1/4 Rupee (Obverse & Reverse)

Edward died on May 6, 1910 after which his 2nd son George V succeeded him.


King George V British India Coins 1911-1936

Saturday, October 16, 2010

King George V was the successor to his father King Edward VII and was born on 3rd June, 1865. His father King Edward VII died in the year 1910 and immediately King George V came into power and became the King of India. Personally, he was very much interested in Philately and coinage, this could be a probable reason why this hobby is called the hobby of kings :) I am personally attracted to George V coinage.

4 Annas, 2 Annas - Nickel & 1 Anna (Obverse & Reverse)

1/4 Anna, 1/2 Pice & 1/12 Anna OR 1 Pie (Obverse & Reverse)

My favourite coins include the Silver one rupee of 1911 and the eight annas coin of 1919. There is a pretty interesting story of the 1911 coins of King George V. If you have a very close look at the effigy of the king on the 1911 minted coins, you would notice an animal on the King's shoulder which precisely should have been an Elephant. However, due to the issue in the minting die, this animal looked like a Pig. This was enough to arouse the sentiments of the public during that reign. This issue was escalated and the British Government decided to withdraw all the coins minted in 1911 from circulation. A Huge number of silver rupee coins were melted at Calcutta mint and re-minted. Some people still kept these coins with them which today bear a very high numismatic value. I am still craving for a silver rupee coin of 1911. So if you have any one the 1911 (Pig Issue) coins, consider yourself blessed :)

Silver 1 Rupee, 1/2 Rupee & 1/4 Rupee (Obverse & Reverse)

As all great rulers do, King George V died on 30th Jan 1936 and created a vacancy on the British throne.


King George VI British India Coins 1938-1947

Friday, October 15, 2010

This British monarch was born December 1895 AD. He was the 2nd son of King George V. In fact, the heir apparent of King George V and the elder brother of King George VI viz. Edward VIII was appointed as the next King. But, Edward VIII was not interested in power. He fell in love with an American girl and subsequently absconded from his duties as a King. George VI was then accepted as the King of India and UK.

2 Annas (Obverse & Reverse)

1 Anna, 1/2 Pice, 1/2 Anna, 1/4 Anna, 1 Pice & 1/12 Anna (Pie) - Obverse & Reverse

Semi-Silver 1 Rupee, 1/2 Rupee & 1/4 Rupee (Obverse & Reverse)

Coins were minted in India using the effigy of King George VI from 1938 AD to 1947 AD. The reign of George VI fell during the 2nd World War and subsequently, the metal prices used in minting coins went high. Minting of coins using precious metals was immediately stopped. Gold coins were issued no more. The silver content in the One rupee coins was reduced to half i.e. 50% of the original. Usually, this content of silver was more than 90%. There are very few coins which may have higher silver content. Even production of coins using bronze and copper was reduced considerably. Nickel was a cheaper option available and was the next obvious choice. Overall, this reign saw many changes in the Britis India coinage. It was during this time that the 1/2 Anna denominated coin was re-introduced after several decades.

The result and story of the grave effects of the World War II is told by the below Rupee coins that changed their form drastically. The end of British Raj in India left nothing behind except struggling against poverty.

Nickel 1 Rupee, 1/2 Rupee & 1/4 Rupee (Obverse & Reverse)

Just as all the British Kings did, George VI died in February 1952 AD.