The Pridmore/Wheeler ‘Mint Specimen Set’ of the first issue minor denominations, 1807-8 East India Company, Madras Presidency, Reformation 1807-18, silver Five Fanams, first issue, type B/IV, five · fanams ·:· around panj falam [Five Fanams], f and a of fanams normal, rev. anacu panam [Five fanams] in centre, aedu rukalu [Five fanams] around, quatrefoil stops in Tamil legend, last letter retrograde, 4.63g/9h (Prid. 158 [Sale, lot 369]; Stevens 3.65; KM. 342); silver Double Fanam, first issue, type D/III, double · ranam ·:· around do falam [Double Fanam] within inner circle, second bar of f in fanam missing, rev. irantu panam [Two Fanams] within inner circle, renddu rukalu [Two Fanams] around, legend correctly positioned, no stops in Tamil legend, 1.90g/12h (Prid. 162 [Sale, lot 369]; Stevens 3.78; KM. 340); silver Fanam, first issue, type [–]/III, fanam around normal star within inner circle, crossed branches below, rev. panam/ruka [Fanam] divided by quatrefoil of pellets around star within inner circle, 0.96g/3h (Prid. 166 [Sale, lot 369, recté 166]; Stevens –; KM. 335) . A superb set, virtually as struck and retaining much original bloom, attractively toned, extremely rare, especially the Fanam [certified and graded NGC MS 66, MS 65 and MS 65 respectively] £2,000-£2,600 --- Provenance: F. Pridmore Collection, Part II, Glendining Auction (London), 18-19 October 1982, lot 369 [from Baldwin], ticket Sir John Wheeler Collection, Baldwin Auction 22 (London), 2 May 2000, lot 19 (part). In both Pridmore and Wheeler sale catalogues, and on Pridmore’s ticket, the Fanam is incorrectly described as Prid. 167. Owner’s ticket and three envelopes. In his definitive article, ‘The reformation of the coinage of Madras early in the nineteenth century’, Paul Stevens alludes to Benjamin Roebuck (1753-1809), Assay Master at the Madras mint, writing to the Chief Secretary of the Madras government on 27 November 1807, enclosing copies of two proposed proclamations and specimens of all the new coins (BNJ 1994, p.132). Proclamations and coins were to be sent to all the Collectors of the different districts within the presidency. Twenty-two specimens of each denomination were specially struck that month, presumably for this purpose, and it is thought that this set is one of them
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