Set of 7 gold coins of Jahangir with self portrait.         Click on image for enlargement.

          Jahangir was the fourth Mughal emperor and the son of Akbar Shah. He was personally interested in the splendor of his coinage and is said to have been a avid numismatist himself. His fascination with portraiture in all form is well doccumented. Among his most famous and artistically magnificent coins are his portrait pieces and his "Zodiac Mohurs".

          These extremely rare type are genuine gold coins of the Imperial mints, seldom found outside museum collections.

          Islam prohibits displaying the images or idols of human or animals. As soon as Shah Jahan came to throne, he imposed a death penalty for the use of these coins as well as those having the zodiacal signs and ordered that they should be returned to the royal mint and melted. And for this reason, these coins are now rarely seen in museums or private collections, these coins are extremely rare. It is important to distinguish the early strucks which were official issues of the Mughal court, from the later imitations, which are private strike made for purposes of bullion accumulations, or for the deception of collections.

          Because of it tremendous popularity, it was extensively imitated, copy and restruck ever since it was recalled from circulation. If one does not find the die similarity, one should treat them with caution.

          Refer to Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.
Because many of these coins had been recalled and melted by Jahangir's successor, Shah Jahan, original strike are very rare. Collector restrikes were periodically over the following century, and though they are more often encountered than the originals, are relatively rare themselves. Numismatists have devided the portrait and zodiac series mohurs into four classes:

Class A: undisputed original strikes, characterized by deep relief, somewhat uneven flans, and rounded calligraphy.
Class B: possibly original strikes, but more likely minted in the first decade or two following Jahangir's death. The relief is shallower, of a more uniform appearance, and the calligraphy is more square.
Class C: mohurs class A or B that have had the zodiac type remove and re-engraved.
Class D: later imitations and forgeries.