The unique Ford/Pridmore small letters Pattern Half-Anna, 1821 East India Company, Bombay Presidency, Later coinages: Stewart’s machinery, copper Pattern Half-Anna, 1821, unsigned, arms and supporters, east india company around, date below, rev. scales, one half anna in small letters above, adil [Justice] between pans, 1231 (sic) below, edge plain, 12.78g/6h (Prid. 334 obv. [Sale, lot 560]; Stevens 4.5, this coin illustrated; Stevens website image 973, this coin; KM. Pn15, this coin). Some obverse scratches and a rim knock at 8 o’clock, otherwise very fine and of the highest rarity, the only known specimen £3,000-£4,000 --- Provenance: R.J. Ford (Detroit, MI) Collection SNC (London) November 1979 (10401) F. Pridmore Collection, Part II, Glendining Auction (London), 18-19 October 1982, lot 560, ticket [acquired January 1980]. Owner’s ticket. Literature: Illustrated in Paul Stevens, The Coins of the English East India Company, Presidency Series: A Catalogue and Pricelist, p.260 Illustrated in Paul Stevens, The Coinage of the Bombay Presidency, p.198. The exceptional group of late copper patterns of the Bombay presidency offered at Bonhams (London) on 26 March 1997, which was reputed to have an ancestral connection with someone working at the mint in the 1820s, did not include a specimen of this coin. While mechanisation at the mints at Madras and Calcutta had been achieved by 1807, another decade was to pass before the mint master at Bombay, Dr Stewart, turned his thoughts to constructing machinery that could strike coins. Using workers from the gun carriage factory, progress was slow and inhibited by Stewart’s sudden departure for England in May 1819, and subsequent death from ill-health. The project passed into the hands of a Mr Henderson, a Bombay civil servant, who ordered further plant and machinery. Some 1819-dated coins were said to have been machine-struck, but apparently none are known today. With the equipment still housed in the building formerly occupied by Dr Stewart, itself deemed inadequate as a mint per se, pattern annas, half-annas, quarter-annas and pies were produced on it in 1820 and 1821, dates of the latter year bearing the rogue hegira date 1231, perhaps instead of the intended date 1237. By 1824 Stewart’s machinery had been moved to the mint and the following year most of it was scrapped in the knowledge that machinery for a new mint, supplied by Boulton & Watt, would be forthcoming
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