Click 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 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 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 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 favourites. 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 reverse 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.

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

          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 and silver variant example below.



Set of 7 gold coins of Jahangir with self portrait. Imperial mints.


Set of 12 gold coins of Jahangir with sign of Zodiac. Imperial mints.


Set of 12 gold coins of Jahangir with sign of Zodiac. Imperial mints.