India - Aurangzeb 'Alamgir Surat Rupees
Treasure of the Great Basses Reef, Lanka

Silver rupees struck in Surat from the shipwreck at Great Basses reef, off the southern coast of Lanka.

DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter25.2 mm
Thickness2.8 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.325 gms
DieAxis-160°
Year AH1113
Year Reg. 46
Mint Mark
gbt_1113_46_m193_obverse gbt_1113_46_m193_reverse
Brown #2985 ; Mughal KM#300
DenominationHalf Rupee
Diameter19.4 mm
Thickness2.5 mm
Weight Legal5.722 gms
Weight5.16 gms
DieAxis-160°
Year AH1113
Year Reg. 4(6)
Mint Mark
gbt_1113_46_m193_half_obverse gbt_1113_46_m193_half_reverse
Brown #Unlist ; Mughal KM#294.6
DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter23.7 mm
Thickness3.4 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.019 gms
DieAxis-80°
Year AH1113
Year Reg.46
Mint Mark
gbt_1113_46_m90_obverse gbt_1113_46_m90_reverse
Brown #2984 ; Mughal KM#300
DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter24.0 mm
Thickness3.1 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.196 gms
DieAxis-90°
Year AH1113
Year Reg.45
Mint Mark
gbt_1113_45_m90_obverse gbt_1113_45_m90_reverse
Brown #2982 ; Mughal KM#300

 

DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter23.5 mm
Thickness3.4 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.363 gms
DieAxis-150°
Year AH1112
Year Reg.45
Mint Mark
gbt_1112_45_m90_obverse gbt_1112_45_m90_reverse
Brown #2980 ; Mughal KM#300
DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter25.0 mm
Thickness2.8 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.134 gms
DieAxis180°
Year AH1111
Year Reg.44
Mint Mark
gbt_1111_44_m90_obverse gbt_1111_44_m90_reverse
Brown #2975 ; Mughal KM#300
DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter23.8 mm
Thickness2.7 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.210 gms
DieAxis-90°
Year AH1109
Year Reg.42
Mint Mark
gbt_1109_42_m192_obverse gbt_1109_42_m192_reverse
Brown #2969 ; Mughal KM#300
DenominationOne Rupee
Diameter24.8 mm
Thickness3.0 mm
Weight Legal11.444 gms
Weight11.29 gms
DieAxis-130°
Year AH1107
Year Reg.40
Mint Mark
gbt_1107_40_m48_obverse gbt_1107_40_m48_reverse
Brown #2965 ; Mughal KM#300

Obverse : On the center right of coin at 3 O'clock is RY the Regnal year of the rule of Aurangzeb, and the mint mark at the middle left at 9 O'clock
Reverse : Islamic text. with Year 1YYY AH.

The couplet on the obverse of most of Aurangzeb's rupees is
sikka zad dar jahan cho badr monir shah aurangzeb 'alamgir which translates to
struck money through the world like the shining moon Shah Aurangzeb 'Alamgir.

Silver rupee minted in Surat (near Mumbai) of the Mugal Empire, issued by Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir He was enthroned on 1658 July 31 at Agra, but his formal coronation took place on the 1659 June 15th. Regnal Years are counted in Islamic Years with 1 being the 1st year of reign. Aurangzeb (ruled 1658-1707 CE, 1068-1118 AH).

To covert from Islamic Years AH based on the Lunar calender has a year of 354.3671 days to modern Gregorian dates CE, multiply AH by 0.970224 and add 622.54. This gives the CE for the end of the AH year.

The numeric arabic scripts are give below to help recognise the numbers. I have shaded in Yellow the characters that are NOT used

Arabic Numarals
The Script is Persian, but the 5 is Eastern Arabic and the 6, 9 and most of 4 is from Hyderabad Arabic. The Regnal Year 40 in coin above used the Persian 4.

Various mint-marks were used on the Surat rupees of Aurangzeb according to the year of issue, each mint-mark usually being used for more than one year and are illustrated in the 1920 Brown's, Lucknow Museum catalogue Plates of Ornaments.

The Islamic year 1113 AH started on 6th June 1701 and ended 28th May 1702. Regnal year 46 started on 1702 March 30th. Aurangzeb 1113 AH coins are found with either year 45 and year 46. The 1113AH/46 coins would have been minted in 1702 April or May.

For Surat 1113/46 the Mint Mark is either four diamonds (M.90 #2984) or four dots around a cross ( M.193 #2985) which appears on almost all the coins from this wreck. This mint mark was only used from 1113-1115 at Surat.

Since the older mint mark M90 was also used on 46 year coins, 1113AH/46/M193 coins were probably struck in 1702 May and the shipwreak would have happend in the 1702 Summer.

All known and published coins from this Shipwreck were of year AH 1113 and most of regnal year 46 with Brown's Mint Mark 193. In a sample of 1700 coins looked at by Hodge at ANA only 5 had year 45. Few others had Mint Mark 90.

In 2012 May a hoard of just over 200 Surat Rupees clearly from this shipwreck appeared on the numismatic Market in Lanka. About half of this lot was looked at by a collector who found the 3 types of year 1113 including regnal year 45, and one half rupee. The rest of the coins remained outside the market. I was told that some of the coins looked like new implying that they were from the center of a large lump. After lot perseverance in late July, I obtained the 6 silver rupee coins displayed above, which includes 3 coins with years AH 1112, 1111 and 1107, which selected from among about 60 coins in which the identification marks are visible without any cleaning. Few weeks later I was able to look all the remaining coins and found only one other of a year different from 1113. It was a 1111 which had two clipped straight parrallel edges.

Over 60% of the coins were standard 1113/46 M193, making the hoard without any doubt from the Great Basses Shipwreck.

However clearly in addition to the freshly minted AH 1113 regnal year 46 Mint mark 193 coins, at least one of the sacks would have included some circulated silver coins. The AH 1107 coin even has a purity check punch on reverse which is a clear indication of circulation. The AH 1109/42 M192 coin from this same Hoard, is from part of Lalith Raddella's collection I purchased in 2016 December. Pity the mint mark which appears to have a comet like symbol replacing the central dot is off the flan on the left and not visible on this coin.

Half Rupees were rare in his hoard and in series. The Lucknow Museum catalog only lists half rupees for 1071/3, 1114/4(7) 1115/48 in full 51 year range of years 1068 to 1118. However an unlisted AH 1113/4(6) M193 half Rupee which came from this same hoard was also obtained from Lalith Raddella's collection.

The source of this hoard of coins are unknown. The owner of the coins had purchased it from someone down south. It could have been part of the original hoard recovered by Mike Wilson, Rodney Jonklas and Arthur Clarke. While location of the share taken by Arthur Clarke is known, what happened to the other lumps is unknown. Part of it may have been hoarded by someone for 50 years and then sold recently. They could also be from lumps recovered later, some of which I am told was sold to Sea Street as Silver.

There are probably over 600 different types of Silver Rupee coins minted in over 50 Indian mints, with a dozen different mint marks over the 51 regnal years of Aurangzeb 'Alamgir, which are listed in the Lucknow catalog which may not be complete. There are 80 listed only for Surat Mint.

Text from
* The Treasure of the Great Reef By Arthur C. Clarke with Mike Wilson 1964
* Catalogue of Coins in the Provincial Museum Lucknow by C. J. Brown Coins of the Mughal Emperors, Published for the United Provinces Government Oxford at the Clarendon Press 1920.

The coins which had been lightly cleaned were dipped briefly in 15% solution of cetric acid and then 15% solution of Sodium Bicarbonate, and finally washed with distilled water.
The coins were scanned at 600 dpi and the images are displayed at 250 dpi.