10 August 2023
One of the highlights from an Indian and World Coins and Banknotes sale at Marudhar Arts on 8 July was from the reign of Emperor Noor ud-din Muhammad Jahangir (1605–27) of the Mughal Empire (lot 138).
From the Agra mint, this exceptionally rare gold Zodiac mohur featured an image of the ‘Pisces’ sign on the obverse.
The tail fins of the two fish, facing in opposite directions, were on the band of the coin with a sunburst around.
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On the reverse, the Persian legend indicates the coin was stuck at Agra.
Emperor Jahangir’s gold and silver zodiac coins were a unique innovation in Islamic coinage.
Astrology and belief in celestial beings (the sun, moon, stars, planets and galaxies), represented by astrological symbols or signs, were forbidden by Islam, but Jahangir had already broken tradition by issuing a portrait series of coins earlier in his reign.
In his autobiography, Jahangir describes striking coins with zodiac symbols representing each month. On each coin, the constellation’s figure was to appear on one face, as if the sun appeared from it. This was to replace his face and the month that had previously appeared.
For nearly four centuries, these coins have been a most sought-after Mughal issue, and this example made 2,900,000 INR (£27,284).