Click on image to view the variations.

          In the fourteenth century AD, the Mongol Taimur had conquered Western Asia and raided India as far as Delhi. But it was only five generations later that the Mongols, under the name of Mughals, set their foot in India, when Zahiruddin Barbur, driven out of Transoxiana, settled in Afghanistan in 1505 AD, and twenty years later entered India and defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi, at the battle of Panipat in 1526 AD. Barbur and his son Humayun occupied the Delhi Sultannate, but they could not settle down well. Humayun, after years of campaigning, was driven out of India in 1542 AD and after thirteen years of wanderings in exile in Persia and elsewhere he recovered his lost kingdom and captured Delhi once again; but soon after he died in 1556 AD. He was succeeded by his son Akbar, who laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire on a secure basis. In his long reign, he extended his rule successfully over the provinces of North and Central India; and the conquests in the Deccan in the early years of the seventeenth century carried his empire far to the South before his death.

Akbar and Jahangir portraits.

          Akbar was the most secular Islamic ruler of India. Many previous muslim rulers indulged in mass destruction of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu sculptures, art and temples. One can witness in India, some mosques bult of the materials which once were part of beautiful Jain or Hindu temples. Their victories were often followed by plunder and massacre of local Hindu polulation. Both Akbar and his son Jahangir displayed non-muslim behaviour throughout their lives. Akbar directed the translation of great Hindu Epics Ramayana and Mahabharata in Arabic and encouraged religious conferences involving Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Chrirtrians, Sikhs, Jews and Zoroastrians religious scholars. He lifted the religious tax Jizia which all Hindu population was forced to pay. Akbar even started a new religion Din-e-Elahi (a fact which have a death penalty according to Islamic scriptures) and corresponding new eras, the Illahi era, base on solar years. His liberal outlook almost convinced many of islamic orthodox followers that he has became Hindu, which helped him to attract a large number of intellectuals in his court irrespective of their religious beliefs. And these politically wise decisions made people to accept Mughals as the rulers and helping Akbar and his successors strengthen the empire which prospered and lasted for two more centuries.

Akbar visiting the famous Hindu ascetic Gosain Jadrup. Musee Gumet, Paris.

          This painting depicts the aged Emperor Akbar (r. 1556 - 1605) conversing with the famous Hindu ascetic Gosain Jadrup. They are seated outside Jadrup's humble hermitage, located on a hillside outside the city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Althrough Akbar's rule was considered to be divinely sanctioned - as signified by the halo - he is concerned with the enlightment of his soul and is seeking spiritual wisdom from the Hindu holy man. To demonstrate respect, the emperor has removed his gold embroider shoes, which are held by an attendant on the left. He describs Jadrup in his memoirs, the Akbarnama as "One who understands the mysteries of the heart". The meeting with Jadrup had a profound impact not only on the emperor, but also on his son and successor, Jahangir (r. 1605 - 1627). Jahangir commissioned this painting, and doccumented his own spiritual encounter with the saint, both visually and verbally, in his memoirs, the Jahangirnama.

Jahangir visiting the famous Hindu ascetic Gosain Jadrup. Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge.

          Akbar issued gold, silver and copper coins on the pattern of Suri coinage and adopted their weight and fabric. Copper coins were known as Dam weight 21.38 grams (330 grains) and forty dams was equal to one silver Rupee weight 12.83 grams (198 grains), nine rupees were equal to one gold mohur weight 11.016 grams (170 grains) in value. The gold coins were now call Mohur.

          The original shape of Akbar's coins was round and square for some gold and silver. Akbar had issued some gold coins in Mihrabi (Mehrabi or Merhabi) shape also to commemorate some events, and also introduced the pictorial motifs, hawk and duck on some of his coins.

          After the death of Akbar, Jahangir came to the throne; a gold Mohur was issued with the portrait of Akbar, bearing the first regnal year of Jahangir and the Hijri year. Between the sixth and the ninth years Jahangir also issued some coins bearing his own portrait for being presented to his favoured ministers, servants and eminent visitors to the Mughal court. Jahangir's own countries and attendants were even instructed to wear these coins, prominantly displayed on their clothing or on their turban sash, both as a mark of their status and also as a life-preserving amulets. These coins are in the same tradition in which he had earlier issued the coin with the portrait of his father Akbar.

          In the thirteenth year of his rule, it occurred to Jahangir, he wrote in his diary, to replace the name of the month which was being written on the obverse of the coins by the figure of the constellation, which belonged to that month. Accordingly, gold and silver coins that were issued from his camp-mints hereafter bear the Zodiacal Signs on one side. Special specimen strikes were apparently produced for important visitors to the Mughal court, each person would receive a coin with his zodical symbol. The obverse dies were reused from year to year, new dated reverses being produced for each subsequent issue. They were remarkable in their execution; but they are rarely found.

          The Mughal coinage are the certainly unique among all Islamic monetary symtems. Islam prohibits displaying the images or idols of human or animals. As soon as his son 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.

          For nearly four centuries, these coins have remained the most sought-after Mughal Coins.

          Today only four zodiacal golden complete sets are known from the Jahangir imperial mints and are held at the British Museum in London, England, the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, France, and one private collector in Thailand.

          Gold variant example below.

A complete set of Jahangir's self portrait, genuine mohurs Imperial mints, solid gold coins not a filled metal electrotypes / reproductions.

A complete set of Jahangir's zodiacal sign, genuine mohurs Imperial Agra mints, solid gold coins not a filled electrotypes / reproductions.

A complete set of Jahangir's zodiacal sign, genuine mohurs Imperial Agra mints, solid gold coins not a filled electrotypes / reproductions.

The following article from NGC

Deceptive Counterfeit: The Electrotype | NGC

Posted on 5/1/2007

Skip Fazzari explains how to spot the insidious electrotype counterfeit coin.

Skip Fazzari, NCS Authenticator and Senior Conservator

One of the most difficult types of counterfeit coins to detect with the naked eye is the electrotype. Since some of these fakes can look quite good even under low magnification, it is important to be diligent. Once you have been fooled by one of these coins, in addition to a close microscopic examination, you may want to start checking the weight and specific gravity of your important coins.

An electrotype is a copy of a coin made using a process similar to electroplating. Usally, the counterfeiter makes a copy of the genuine coin that he can work with so as not to ruin the original. There are several ways to do this. While modern fakes probably use spark erosion techniques to make their models, most electrotypes we see at the grading services were produced many years ago when a simple wax impression of a genuine coin was sufficient as a starting point. The wax model is coated with a metallic powders such as graphite or copper and then it is electroplated. This process allows a thin layer of metal to be built up on the surface of the model. When the coating becomes thick enough, it's separated from the wax form leaving a hallow shell bearing the details of one side of the original coin. A second shell is made of the coin's other side in the same way. Finally the two halves are joined together and the hallow center is filled with metal to give the electrotype the "feel" of a solid coin.

Most of the electrotypes I have encountered over the years have been copper coins, chiefly Large cents, Half cents, and Colonials. In some instances, the base metal interior of an electrotype can be seen as its outer shell becomes worn. This is one instance that detecting electrotype fake can be done with the naked eye but your findings should be confirmed by other tests because toning, especially on silver coins, can mimic this effect. Usually, collectors and dealers who have access to a balance may confirm that a coin is an electrotype by taking its weight and specific gravity, which are offen out of tolerance to that of a genuine coin. But here again, there are rare exemptions to this, so be careful and have important coin check by NGC.

There are several other diagnostics to look for if you suspect that a coin may be an electrotype. Perhaps the first thing to look for is evidence of a seam around the edge of the coin where the two halves were joined together. This will usally appear as a very thin, dark line running through the center of the edge. The micrograph show such a seam. In some cases, the faker will try to eradicate this seam or at least make it less noticeable by filing or burnishing its edge. When a model is produced from the original coin, a wax impression in the example above, some of the sharp detail of the coin is lost during the transfer process. This may give the relief of an electrotype, especially its legend and date, a rounded, bloated look when compared to that of a genuine coin. Additionally, any defects that were created in the mold during the transfer process to make the electrotype and any contact marks or scratches on the original coin used as a model may appear on the fake if not "touch-up" by the faker.

This article previously featured in Numismatic News.