The Sikh Empire was one of the major powers empires that originated in the Indian Subcontinent during the medieval period. This Empire is also known as Sikh Khalsa Raj or Sarkar-i-Khalsa. It was formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established this kingdom under a secular empire based in Punjab.The Sikh Empire Coins started during the second half of the 18th century. Probably during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and it ended with the annexation of Punjab by the British government in 1849 CE.
The coinage of the Sikh empire falls under medieval Indian coins. One should always collect the coins of all the periods to keep history healthy and prosperous.
On April 1765 CE, the Sikh Sardar assembled at Akal Takth led by their leader Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and founded the Sikh State by declaring their independence. They also decided to reconquer their lost territories and acquire new ones to mint coins in the name of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
The Sikh Coinage (https://www.mintageworld.com/coin/ruler/156/)except the mint Amritsar, Pind Dadan Khan, Patiala, and Nabha had already worked under Mughal Empire and Afghan. The Sikh Empire Coins continued to work under Mughal and Durrani concerning weight standards and purity.
The silver rupee of the Sikh Empire was issued from two mints Lahore and Amritsar. In Lahore mint, it was issued in 1765 CE (VS 1822) and from the mint Amritsar it was issued in 1775 CE (VS 1832). The obverse side of this silver coin bears Nanak Shah Couplet or Gobind Shahi couplet and the reverse side of this coin bears the mint name. These coins are the clear example that gives the message both Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh are the true and supreme rulers of Sikh.
Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was one of the most powerful and politically gifted leaders of the Sikh Empire. When he was alive the Sardars working under him has acted more or less in unison, but after his death in 1783 CE (VS 1840) all the misaldars became independent.
Before VS 1841, the coinage of Lahore (VS 1822-1840), Amritsar (VS 1832-1840), and Multan (VS 1829-1836) was issued only in one type. But, after the death of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in VS 1841 different types of coins were issued from the mint Amritsar and Ahandgha
The above coin was issued during the misl period from the mint Amritsar during RY 3
The obverse of this coin is inscribed as ‘SIKKA ZAD BAR HAR DO ALAM FAZL SACHA SABIB AST, FATH TEGH-E-GURU GOBIND SINGH SHAH NANAK WAHIB AST’.
The reverse side of this coin is inscribed as ‘SRI AMRITSAR JIYO ZARB MAIMANAT JULUS BAKHT AKAL TAKHT’
Maharaja Ranjit Singh is popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or ‘Lion of Punjab’ he was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh is well known for his golden beautification of the Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara in Amritsar, famously known as the Golden Temple.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, the capital of Punjab in the year 1799, and in the year 1801, he established Punjab as an independent state declaring himself as the Maharaja. As a king Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to look at all his subjects equally and used to take part in all the celebrations and festivals of both the Muslim and Hindu communities under his rule.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh never put his name in the coins he issued and neither did his successor.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh continued to issue Nanakshahi coins from the mint Amritsar in VS 1845. After VS 1845 the Amritsar Nanakshahi series split into 3-4 parallel subseries in their mark.
The above coin was issued by king Ranjit Singh during his rule from the mint Amritsar in VS 1878.
Sikh Empire Coins bear a leaf mink mark over their coins. Below are the examples of the type of leaf mint mark get to see in Sikh Empire coins.
Coins issued by the Sikh Empire usually bear Vikrama Samvat Era. The Vikram Samvat era began on 19th September 58 BC according to the Hindu astronomer. The Vikram Samvat era is generally used in Hindu and Sikhs in western and North-Western India.
Many Indian dynasties have issued a coin with the couplet inscribed over it. A Couplet is two poetic lines of equal length one after the other. We can find Indian coins with a couplet (https://www.mintageworld.com/blog/indian-coins-with-couplets/). There are two types of couplet we get to see under the Sikh Empire coins
Gobindshahi couplet is used differently in different mints
1a) In the mints like Lahore, Amritsar, Anandghar, Dera, and Derajat mint coins the Gobindshahi is read as
DEG TEGH O FATH NUSRAT BE-DIRANG
YAFT AZ NANAK GURU GOBIND SINGH
1b) in the mint-like Kashmir the Gobindshahi couplet is written as
DEG O TEGH O FATH NUSRAT BE-DIRANG
YAFT AZ NAYAK GURU GOBIND SINGH
1c) In the coin of Peshawar, Patiala, and Nabha the Gobindshahi Couplet is written as
DEG TEGH FATH NUSRAT BE-DIRANG
YAFT AZ NAYAK GURU GOBIND SINGH
NANAK SHAHI COUPLET
The Nanakshahi couplet was were originally inspired by a Durrani coin inscription. The coins issued from the Lahore mint reads as
SIKKA ZAD BAR SIM O ZAR FAZL SACHCHA SAHIB AST
FATH-I-GOBIND SINGH-I-SHAHAN TEGH-I-NANAK WAHIB AST
The coins issued from the mint Amritsar have this couplet in three different types
2.1) SIKKA ZAD BAR HAR DO ALAM FAZL SACHCHA SAHIB AST
FATH-I-GOBIND SHAH-I-SHAHAN TEGH-I-NANAK WAHIB AST
2.2) SIKKA ZAB BAR HAR DO ALAM FAZL SACHCHA SAHIB AST
FATH –I-GUR GOBIND SINGH SHAH-I-SHAHAN TEGH-I-NANAK WAHIB AST
2.3) SIKKA ZAB BAR HAR DO ALAM FAZL SACHCHA SAHIB AST
FATH SA’I GURU GOBIND SINGH SHAH NANAK WAHIB AST
Coins issued from the mint Amritsar and Pind Dadan Khan has the couplet
2.3) SIKKA ZAD BAR HAR DO ALAM FAZL SACHCHA SAHIB AST
FATH TEGH-I-GURU GOBIND SINGH SHAH NANAK WAHIB AST