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One pice piece of the United East India Company

This hammered copper coin has been in the possession of Ron Lee for some time. It’s not a detecting find but Ron asked if I could identify it for him.

On the obverse, set within a heart-shaped shield with what looks like a 4 above, is V E I C. The imagery on the reverse is rather crude but it is meant to represent a balance with pans suspended from each end. The letters VEIC stand for the United East India Company and this coin is a one pice piece. This denomination sometimes has a date at the base of the shield but nothing shows up on this coin.

Pice of this type were struck from 1802 to 1829 at the mint situated in Bombay. This mint must have been somewhat antiquated, for it still produced hammered coins whereas the Calcutta and Madras mints had both been mechanised and machines were used to strike coins.

The East India Company was founded by English merchants on the last day of 1599. Thereafter it had a monopoly on trade and exploited the wealth of India. After what became known as the Indian Mutiny in 1857 the EIC was nationalised and the British Government took over its Indian possessions, its administrative powers and its armed forces.

This coin should remind us that Great Britain once had a huge Empire. Not only that, we manufactured and supplied products to almost every country in the world. Those days are gone. We now have no Empire and the only place we can look at evidence of most of our once great manufacturing industries is in museums.

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