23 December 2022
A single-owner collection of coins of the East India Company will be offered by Noonans on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 8 and 9, 2023. Comprising 1,246 coins, the legendary Robert P. Puddester Collection has been amassed over the past 45 years and will be sold in 907 lots. Described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, it is expected to fetch in the region of £2million.
The collection comprises coins dating from the inception of the East India Company in London by a group of merchant venturers in 1600, from the Madras, Bombay and Bengal presidencies; the uniform series from 1835 to 1858 and the regal coinages issued by British India down to independence in 1947.
As Peter Preston-Morley, Special Projects Director in the Coins department at Noonans commented:
“This is undoubtedly the finest and most complete group of coins of the English East India Company, and British India, ever assembled.”
“The Puddester collection is vast and this is the first of nine auctions that Noonans will be staging over the next few years. Mr Puddester, who lives in Canada and started collecting in the 1970s, hopes that this and the succeeding auctions will encourage a new generation of enthusiasts to build their own collections within India and further afield.”
Highlights of the sale
The collection features many exceptionally rare and unique items from the presidency series. The centrepiece of the sale is the celebrated 1765 Bombay gold mohur of 15 rupees which measures 24mm and is expected to fetch £100,000-150,000.
Another high value coin is an exceptional and excessively rare Bombay gold 15 rupees dated 1770, which measures 24mm and is also estimated at £100,000-150,000.
With only three other examples known, Mr Preston-Morley puts it into context:
“With difficulties in the silver currency of Bombay still ongoing, in 1771, the Governor, Thomas Hodges proposed a new gold issue that took into account the advantages of coining gold rather than selling it as pure bullion. The 1765 gold coins had met with some resistance because they carried the Company’s arms, so Hodges proposed introducing a new coin, the Bombay, with Persian legends on the obverse. These legends copied those on the contemporary rupees, naming the deceased emperor ‘Alamgir II, rather than the name and titles of Shah ‘Alam, which perhaps was indicative of the Company’s preference to follow a directive made to the Surat Council in February 1760.”
Also of note and from the Bengal Presidency is the highly important and unique C-marked Mohur from Calcutta’s second gold coinage, dating from 1766-8, which measures 24mm and carries an estimate of £30,000-40,000.
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