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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 1175. Estimate $4000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $4600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

INDIA, Bundi. Ram Singh, with Queen Victoria. 1824-1889. AV Mohur (12.26 gm). Dated VS 1917 and 1860 AD. VIC / TORIA / QVEEN / 1860, in four lines across field / Sanskrit legend and VS date. Friedberg -; KM - (cf. KM 6 for type in silver rupee). EF, somewhat weak strike, edges smoothed from mounting. Extremely rare; one of approximately six known. [See color enlargement on plate 21] ($4000)

No gold coins of Ram Singh were known until the late 1980's, when a small hoard of perhaps a half dozen pieces appeared on the market. There are no mint records indicating any gold coins were struck during the reign of Ram Singh, but further research uncovered a photo of Raghubir Singh, his son (1889-1927), wearing a chain with what appear to be several mohurs mounted on it. It is presumed the present known specimens came from this chain. Their uniqueness, presumed use as court jewelry, and excessive weight (around 12.20 gm vs. the normal 10.50-11.50 gm for mohurs) combine to suggest these coins were not intended as circulation coinage, or even nazarana (presentation) pieces, but are true pieces de caprice, struck by order of the maharaja for his personal use.