Are These East India Company Coins with Hindu Gods On Them? Nope
The copper pieces are actually temple tokens that were made for religious pilgrims to carry as ‘good omens’.
An image of an old copper coin with ‘EAST INDIA COMPANY’ written on it has been doing the rounds on social media. The copper coin, dated 1818 and featuring an inscription of Hindu deities, is claimed to be legal tender that was released by the East India Company back then.
The claim along with the image reads, “Do you know that two anna coin was released in 1818 by East India Company; and you will be surprised to see the other side of the coin. श्रीराम राम रणकर्कश राम राम । श्रीराम राम शरणं भव राम राम (sic)”
An archived version of the tweet can be seen here.
The post is also being circulated on Facebook with the same claim.
TRUE OR FALSE?
These copper coins were never legal tender. We found that these coins, of various denominations, are currently being manufactured and sold as tokens to tourists. They mostly include spiritual symbols and inscriptions of deities.
WHAT WE FOUND
On searching online with keywords ‘Two anna coins with Hindu deity’, we came across a website ‘coinquest.com’ which explains that these coins were not released by the East India Company but are spiritual tokens.
The page goes on to explain that these pieces are manufactured and sold to pilgrims as ‘good omens’.
“The object is neither for transactions or money,” the website added. We also found that several e-commerce websites sell these coins online.
We also checked the coinage history available on the Reserve Bank of India website and saw all the coins that have actually been legal tender, and these coins are not included.
There is no history of the copper pieces with Hindu deities inscribed in the RBI’s records.
Therefore, the copper pieces with an inscription of Gods and symbols were not legal tender.
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