Copper Coins of Akbar

23 Oct 2017  Mon

The third king of the Mughal dynasty to occupy the throne of Delhi was Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar. He was born on October 15, 1542, at the house of a Rajput chieftain Rana Vishal at Ambarkot. At the age of thirteen years Akbar ascended to the Mughal throne in Delhi.

The monetary system of Akbar was inspired largely by the innovations of Sher Shah Suri. Emperor Akbar issued coins in all three principal metals used for coinage.

His copper coins in the denomination of 1/2 were known as Nisfi, 1/4 as Dam and 1/8 part as Dam or Damdi. Akbar also struck heavy copper coins of 632 to 644 grains (approx. 41 grams) which were known as "Tanka", inscription on these coins were simple. Fractional Tanka coins in 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16 denominations were very popular in circulation. The fractional units of copper coins were Dam, Adhelah, Paulah, and Damri. Then there were Tanki, Do Tanki and Chautanki denominations too.

Akbar’s first copper coins were in the same style as those of Humayun. The obverse side of his coins depicted name of the mint along with "Falus" (literally meaning "Money"). The reverse side of these coins contains date in Hijri Era either in words or in numerals as well.

During the last 20 years of his reign gold, silver and copper coinage underwent a change. The Hijri dates were replaced by the Ilahi years, the month of issue was also depicted on most of the coins. On many coins the word “Falus” was replaced by “Tanka Akbar Shahi” or “Neem Tanka Akbar Shahi” (Neem Tanka = Half Tanka).

Copper Dam was also associated with Akbar’s system of weights. The Akbar Dam weighed 20.9 grams and was exchanged at 40 per rupee. The Akbari unit of weight “The Ser” and was fixed at 30 dams to the one Ser.

Above-shown copper tanka (Double Dam) weighed around 41.10g, it was minted in Ahmadabad. The obverse of the coin depicts 'Sikka Akbar Shahi Zarb Ahmadabad' and reverse of the coin depicts '44, Ilahi in top half and Bahaman at the bottom.

This Copper tank of Akbar was sold for INR 22,000 by Classical Numismatic Gallery.

Knowledge Base