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Auction 308  1-2 Oct 2024
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73 days 1 hr 41 min

Estimate: 20 000 GBP
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The Puddester Collection (Part II): The Uniform Coinage of India

The excessively rare and finest known experimental Rupee of 1939 with a security edge


The Uniform Coinage of India, British Imperial Period, George VI, experimental silver Rupee, 1939 [1940], type B/I [Prid. type II], Bombay, crowned bust left in low relief, short trefoils in crown, george vi king emperor, normal rim, rev. one rupee india and date, yek rupiya surrounded by ornate scroll containing rose, thistle and shamrock, lotus flowers above and below, bead below lower rounded lotus, narrow border decoration, security edge, 11.65g/12h (Prid. 236 [not in Sale]; SW 9.14; KM. 556; cf. Stack's Bowers & Ponterio 12.i.2024, 54135; cf. Baldwin 68, 4280). Obverse good very fine, reverse extremely fine with some underlying brilliance, toned, of the highest rarity; believed to be the finest of the few known specimens in private hands £20,000-£30,000

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Owner's envelope, "The rarest of British India currency coins".

Continued pressure on silver stocks caused the Indian government to amend the Coinage Act of 1906, and in March 1940 quarter-rupees to the quaternary standard (.500 fine) were authorised, followed by half-rupees in July 1940 and rupees in December 1940. At the same time the government moved to adopt the recommendation of Bombay for the introduction of a security edge on silver coins, but difficulties with the techniques and processes meant that staff from the Royal Mint in London had to supervise the initial production. Rupees were the first Indian coins to feature security edges.

The 1939-dated rupees with security edges have always been regarded as one of the famed prizes in Indian numismatics. Very few specimens, almost certainly less than 10, are known, and in the past decades could come and go without a single specimen appearing on the market. Exceptionally, this is the second such coin to be offered at auction this year! A specimen with the extremely unflattering third-party grade of 'AU Details – Corrosion Harshly Cleaned' realised US $42,000 at the Stack's auction held in conjunction with the 2024 NYINC, while another specimen with an acceptable third-party grade of VF-30 realised £23,000 in a Baldwin auction in September 2010; previously it had sold for a mere $310 at a Bowers & Ruddy auction in Los Angeles (9-11 February 1978, lot 4060). The present specimen is far superior to both of these and represents an exceptional opportunity for the advanced collector of British India coins
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