Coins of the Sikh Empire

Coins of the Sikh Empire

Coins of the Sikh Empire

The Sikh Empire had its own currency for the first time under the iconic Sikh general, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. The use of these coins was carried on by subsequent kings of Punjab and reached its epitome under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who laid the foundations of Sikh Empire. Before Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the use of coins was prevalent in Punjab, but these weren’t used as currency, albeit as obeisance to the Sikh Gurus.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur launched first Sikh coin somewhere between 1708 and 1715 A.D. Names of the first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji and tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, were inscribed on these coins along with dates when these were minted. Hymns from The Guru Granth Sahib were inscribed on these coins later on. The dates indicated on these coins are as per the traditional Indian calendar, the Bikrami Samvat, which is 57 years ahead of the modern or Roman calendar.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

When Maharaja Ranjit Singh organized the Sikh Empire, the first coins that were minted under him were dedicated to the first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The coins minted under him always bore the inscription of leaf of Banyan, a symbol of his empire. During his rule, the coins were minted at eight locations, Amritsar, Anandgarh, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Jammu and Kashmir. It is said that during his tenure, the Sikh currency was valued even higher than the French one!

None of the coins released during his tenure bore his name, which was something unique as compared to most other rulers who used to get their own names inscribed on coins issued by them. At the same time, these coins used to have various symbols like a sword, dagger, lotus flower or any other symbol, mainly symbol of the current governor of the province.

After the death of this great king, Sikh Empire got annexed by the British and most of these coins were confiscated by them. These were then remolded by them and cast into coins dedicated to the Queen Victoria and the British Empire. This is precisely the reason why these coins are very rare to be found.

8 responses to “Coins of the Sikh Empire”

  1. Its intersting to know this history. I have several coins which are very very old. These have no dates on them and are possibly minted in Persion. However looks very simmilar to what you have posted on the page. Can some one put this Sikh history togeather if thes coins which I have are those from First Sikh coins you mentioned.

    Any assistane will be very much appriciated.

  2. Hi

    Thanks for your comments. It was interesting to know about your coins. Hopefully, you can contribute with the pics of coins you are having.

    Kindly provide some details or pics of your coins so that I can be of any help to you.

    Dinesh

  3. I have coin of Sikh period. If one is interestd I can send a photograph of it.

  4. Please,
    get your facts right,
    before you write.
    The facts have been seriously distorted by you. If you really want to know about Sikh coinage, please visit the above site.
    Gurprit

  5. Dear Dinesh,
    A nice write-up, but full of myths. I would point out a few :
    1. Coinage was always in use, and in Punjab it was not for obseience. The first Sikh coins were issued by Baba Banda Singh, and carried a legend in the name of the Sikh Guru’s. A very few of these survive today, as the Mughals must have tried to erase everything related to Banda Singh.
    2. No Sikh coins have ever been observed with hymns from Guru Granth Sahib on them.
    3. The Sikh misl’s restarted the Sikh coinage in VS1822/AD1765 from Lahore, and these carried the legends as on the seal of Baba Banda Singh. The reverse was copied similar to the Mughal coinage, and replaced the Hegira date with a Vikrami Samvat one. The misls started minting coins from Amritsar in VS1832/AD1775 with legends as on Baba Banda Singh’s coins, and this continued till the end of the Sikh rule in AD1849. Maharaja Ranjit Singh did not try and change the coinage as continuing from the Misl period.
    For more information on the coinage you could join the Sikh coins group on Yahoo, link :
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SikhCoins/
    and also check my website :
    http://www.sikhcoins.in
    http://www.numis.in
    Regards,
    Jeevandeep Singh

  6. ji mare kol maharaja ranjeet singh de time da coian hun

  7. I AM INTRESTED TO PURCHASE SOME COINS OF SIKH REGIME AND OF BANDA BAHADUR.
    PLEASE CALL ON 09823067781

  8. I am intrested to purchase some coins relating to Sikh history

Leave a Reply