Friday, July 11, 2008

=> Madras Mint

After Musalipatnam, the next settlement in south was in Madras in 1620. The trading activities grew at a very rapid rate there. They purchased land where the Fort St. George stands today and the First English Mint was established in 1640 by one francis day.

Fort St. George

The firman granted to the East India Company by Venkatdri Naik in 1639 permitted it to "perpetually enjoy the privilege of mintage." This mint was run on contract by various dubashes - Komati Chetties all - but used gold imported by the Company. In the 1650s, the Company decided it would run the mint itself and appointed English supervisors.

The Madras mint struck coins for in and around the company's territories in for the Northern Circars for nearly 200 years. The initial coins were dump coinage similar to those of the neighboring Hindu territories followed by close imitations of the Moghul coins of the Subah of Arcot.

In 1692, the mint was permitted to mint the silver rupees of the Mughals. A new mint was built in the Fort in 1695, then rebuilt in 1727 in the northwest corner of the Fort, by what became known as the Mint Bastion. In 1742, a second mint was established in Chintadripet. The same year, the Fort mint was permitted to strike the Arcot rupee and Arcot coins of lower denominations. In 1792, the Chintadripet mint was moved to the Fort and the two mints became the gold and silver mints, minting star pagodas, which were replacing the Madras Pagodas, Arcot rupees and Madras and Arcot fanams and doodoos.

The Company decided to establish two bigger mints at Bombay and Calcutta in 1815. From 1835 - 1867 the mint also struck Uniform coinage for circulation.The Madras mint assisted these mints and since its capacity was insignificant , the mint was finally closed down in 1869 to make way for the government press in the same premises. But Mint Street - once Thanga Salai - remains a Madras name.

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