The word 'Coin' is derived from the Latin word "cuneus" and it is believed that the first Recorded use of coins was in China and Greece in around 700 BC and in India in the sixth century B.C.
A Coin is a piece of metal of prescribed weight, embellished with design and product under the Directions of an authority, for its use as a medium of exchange and commercial transactions and so it has become a part of our daily life.
Collecting old, rare, and obsolete coins is a fascinating and extremely educative hobby, and one that has gained immense popularity and momentum in the course of Last century.
The study of coins and medallions is known as NUMISMATICS
Till relatively recent times, coins were virtually the only neutral unit of value which we term money. However, in India and elsewhere, when coins of sufficiently small denomination, were not available, cowries, the hard outer shells of shellfish, were also used to supplement coins and were widely utilized by the poor.
There are, believed to be, some 130 varieties of cowries in the world of which around 40 are available in India. Those ceased to be used when the Indian government issued coins of very low denomination.
Almost all the rulers of the various Indian States issued their own unique coins of different shapes, sizes, weights and denominations, in gold, silver, brass and other metals. Early coins were die-struck manually and therefore were not uniform in shape and design. The earliest of such coins were casted coins & die-struck only on one side, and were thus uniface and because they had one to five marks incused on a single side, they are termed 'punch mark' coins.
These punch mark coins are uniface & remained in use till 300 B.C; subsequently both sides began to be embossed with the bust and legend.
All that changed in the West in mid-seventeenth century (and in India in 1829 A.D. when the British set up the first two mints here) when the invention of the mill and screw machine which made it possible to mass produce coins of uniform weight and design. "MINT is a factory where coins are made" Coins are usually stamped from rolled metal blanks, now generally of a light, durable metal alloy, and have a design embossed upon them between the upper and lower dies of a coining press. Milled or lettered edges have been used since the seventeenth century, though considerably later in India.
There are four mints in India each with a long & distinguished history that produce coins which serve our everyday needs, The two oldest are Alipore (Calcutta) and Bombay mints, both were Established in 1829 by the British Government, though the former was originally located in Calcutta and moved to it s present site in 1952.
The Hyderabad mint was established in 1903 by the Government of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad and was taken over by the Government of India in 1950 & started minting since 1953. Noida mint was set up in 1986 and started minting ferritic stainless steel coins from 1988. Needless to say, all the four mints have undergone a continuing process of modernization, up gradation, and capacity enhancement to serve the requirements of a rapidly growing economy. Indian coins bear the distinctive marks of these mints but some coins were minted abroad and imported in 1857-58, 1943, 1985, 1997-2002 and these bear the mint marks of their origin. These coins are imported with the approval of Reserve Bank of India.
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