Click here for more...

(ARCHIVE) Vol. XXI No. 17, December 16-31, 2011
A footnote on the Centenary of the Coronation Durbar
(By D. Chakravarthy, Coins of India)

Obverse and reverse sides of the '1911 Rupee' with the enlarged 'pig'

King George V was crowned Emperor of India on June 22, 1911. Another crowning ceremony was gone through at the Durbar held in Delhi when he visited India in December the same year. It is recorded that about 96,000 silver rupees were melted at the Calcutta Mint to cast two silver thrones for use of the King and Queen Mary at the Durbar.

All the coins of King George V bear his crowned bust on the obverse (front). The reverse of the silver coins, however, calls for special attention. The floral wreath surrounding the inscriptions represented the three floral emblems of the United Kingdom – the Rose of England, the Thistle of Scotland and the Shamrock of Ireland, all surmounted by the Lotus – the floral emblem of India.

An unfortunate representation, however, spoilt the first issue of the rupee coin in 1911. Soon after its issue, the Muslim community took exception to the design of the tiny elephant on the mail of the royal bust. With its short trunk, which appeared like a snout, and its short legs it looked more like a pig! With the nightmare of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 still vivid in the minds of the rulers, the issue was promptly withdrawn from circulation. It is reported out of 9.4 million pieces of the ‘1911 Rupee’ struck at both the Royal and Calcutta Mints, only 700,000 pieces were issued; the remainder, and those withdrawn from circulation, were melted down. Subsequent rupee coins, struck from 1912 onward from a redesigned obverse die, showed the elephant with a proportionate trunk.

The ‘1911 Rupee’, commonly referred to as the ‘pig rupee’, is much sought after by coin collectors.

Please click here to support the Heritage Act

In this issue

A High Court need
New roads for old
Rare sightings
Stop that pedestrian
The Madras Nabobs of Berkshire
A footnote on the Centenary of the Coronation Durbar
The Madras High Court
Chennai wildlife

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your diary


Download PDF

Back to current issue...