Featured in our January 2024 New York International Numismatic Convention auction is a fabulous and rare Mughal Empire piece that seldom surfaces. It is among the most desirable and rarecoins issued in the name of both Jahangir and his 12th wife, Queen Nur Jahan. Nur Jahan is the only Mughal queen to have coinage issued in her name, and one of few queens to do so in the entire course of Islamic history.
At the tail end of Jahangir’s reign, he gave Nur Jahan an increased mandate to help run the empire, by issuing coinage as part of this purview. Rupees and Half-Rupees were produced at several mints over the course of a few years. After the death of her husband, Nur Jahan’s position became more precarious, as she attempted to retain a privileged position by having her stepson Shahryar Mirza crowned. Another stepson, the future Shah Jahan was unsympathetic to this effort. He had his brother killed and seized the crown he claimed was rightfully his. After firmly establishing control of the Empire, Shah Jahan declared it a capital offense to trade using coinage from Nur Jahan and ordered all such coins recalled and destroyed. As such, very few examples remain today, a testament to a unique time in the history of the Mughal Empire.
Many examples that do survive are in terrible condition, with shroff marks or the effacement of the Queen’s name being the most common faults. This example is refreshing, as it is tremendously struck, with intense visual appeal and Gem brilliance. The queen’s name is bold and distinctive, with brightly sparkling white luster throughout. A coin for which there are few corollaries, this Half Rupee should see much excited bidding.
The entire Stack’s Bowers Galleries January 2024 auction will be available at StacksBowers.com for viewing and pre-sale by mid-December. For more information about the sale or registering to bid email [email protected].