Madras Presidency Silver Fanam

25 Oct 2018  Thu

The Madras Presidency, or the Presidency of Fort St. George, and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision (presidency) of British India. At its greatest extent, the presidency included most of southern India, including the whole of the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and parts of Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka and the union territory of Lakshadweep.

In 1639, the English East India Company purchased the village of Madraspatnam and one year later it established the Agency of Fort St George, a precursor of the Madras Presidency, although there had been Company factories at Machilipatnam and Armagon since the very early 1600s. The agency was upgraded to a Presidency in 1652 before once more reverting to its previous status in 1655. In 1785, under the provisions of Pitt's India Act, Madras became one of three provinces established by the East India Company.

All three presidencies had their own coins. The oldest coins of the company in Madras were the tiny silver pieces ones. In the 1670’s, they were issued from their factory at Fort St. George. These coins did not have dates and had two interlinked C's on the reverse side. The C’s denoted the rule of King Charles II.

The coin showed in the image alongside is a 0.91 g silver Fanam. The obverse has a standing figure of Lord Vishnu and the reverse has the standard design of two interlinked CS, with one dot, surrounded by a beaded border.

Image Courtesy: Classical Numismatic Gallery

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