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 Hence, all such coins were withdrawn from circulation and later melted.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 The remainder and the withdrawn pieces were melted down.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.