Murshidabad Mint

On the earliest coins of Murshidabad the mint town appears under its old name of Makhsusabad. These are rupees of Aurangzeb of years 1115 AH (1703-1704 AD) and 1116 AH (1704-1705 AD). In 1117 AH (1705 AD) the coins bear the new name of Murshidabad, so called after Murshid Quli Khan মুর্শিদকুলি খাঁ (1706-1727 AD) who introduced the 'Zurbe Murshidabad' coin, the then governor of Bengal. The change of name appears to have taken effect from 1705 AD, for the name Makhsusabad appears last on a rupee coined in 1704 AD and Murshidabad appears first on a rupee coined in the year, beginning 28th December 1704 AD.

A rupee of Aurangzeb preserved in the Lahore museum shows that Makhsusabad was a mint-town as early as 1679 AD. The profits of the Murshidabad mint are stated in the rent-roll of 1728 AD to amount to Rs. 3,04,103. In 1706 AD the English at Cossimbazar were induced to pay Rs. 25,000 for the convenience of having bullion (Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion, and are traded on commodity markets), which they imported from Europe, coined into rupees at the Murshidabad mint. One of the chief articles in the petition presented by the English embassy at the Court of Delhi in 1716 was, that the officers of the mint at Murshidabad should at all times, when required, allow three days in the week for the coinage of the English Company's money.

It was not till nearly half a century afterwards, in 1757 AD, as one of the results of the Battle of Plassey পলাশী, that the English first struck coins of their own, but still in the name of the Emperor of Hindusthan. In 1758 AD, the Council at Calcutta complained, in a letter to the Court, that their mint was of but little use to them, partly because no bullion was arriving from Europe, but more especially because the command of specic possessed by the Jagat Seths of Murshidabad was used to force down the exchange value of their sikkas. In 1760 AD, on the occasion of the accession of Mir Qasim, a parwana was received from the Nawab, awarding full privileges to the Calcutta mint. From this date the mint of Murshidabad began to decline. In the year 1777 AD Nawab Mubarak-ud-Daulla abolished the Murshidabad mint at the request of the Governor General. The Nazim issued Parwana's to the French and Dutch, asking them to have their money coined at Calcutta.

The Records of the Board of Revenue show that in 1785 AD it was proposed to re-establish the mint of Murshidabad. This proposal was apparently carried out only for a short time. In 1796 AD all provincial mints were abolished, but some respite seems to have been granted to that at Murshidabad. It was not till 1799 AD that the Collector of Murshidabad despatched the mint utensils to the Presidency, and disposed of the buildings used as the mint office by public auction.

Page Updated : May 08, 2012 10:09 am