East India Company, Bombay Presidency, European Minting, 1791-4, Soho, copper Double-Pice or 8 Reas, 1791, type A/II, balemark, rev. scales, long pivot with blunt point, adil [Justice] between pans, 12.99g/6h (Prid. 118 [Sale, lots 475-6]; Stevens 8.2; KM. 196). Extremely fine with a hint of original colour £100-£150 --- Provenance: Bt Baldwin (London) July 1990. Owner’s ticket. In 1790 the authorities in Bombay were informed that the existing copper coins were to be replaced by new machine-struck pieces ordered from England. Thomas Williams (1737-1802), the self-styled ‘Copper King’ and arch-rival of Matthew Boulton, contracted with the Company to supply 100 tons of copper from his mines in Anglesey and elsewhere, but when word reached him at the close of 1790 that the metal was required in Birmingham rather than in London he deliberately delayed its delivery. On 13 January 1791, Robert Wissett (1750-1820), secretary to the Court of Directors in London, formally contracted Matthew Boulton to produce what turned out to be the largest order yet received by Soho. A few pattern one-and-a-half pice with small scales were made (see Lot 417), the simple designs were then amended and approved and Wissett urged Boulton to begin the coinage on 25 February. By 19 March the first order, of nearly 1.5 million one-and-a-half pice, was despatched to St Botolph’s Wharf in London and thence shipped to the Far East on the Company’s Spring sailings, along with two orders of pice. The balance of the order, half-pice and finally double-pice, were coined in the autumn, and by 11 December Boulton could claim to have completed the order, for a total of 17.2 million coins. The coins were issued to the public by a resolution of 7 August 1792, but less than a year later Bombay was clamouring for more coins. Boulton responded by striking 1794-dated double-pice, pice and half-pice, a total of 8.6 million coins, delivered to St Botolph’s Wharf in several batches between January and April 1794. Coinage of 1794-dated one-and-a-half pice was restricted to a few proofs, presumably because the size of the 1791-dated coins of this denomination caused them to be easily confused with double-pice in circulation and hence the authorities saw no need of a second issue (cf. Snartt, SCMB 1978, p.113)
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