INDIA, KINGDOM of MYSORE, Devaloy Devaraja (1731-61), regent for Immadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar II (1734-66) Copper kasu, Kannada Numeral Series, #29

zoom view
Obverse Kannada numeral 29 within dotted border
Reverse Criss-cross lines
Date c. 1760
Weight 3.03 gm.
Diameter 12-13 mm.
Die axis n.a.
Reference MNI 951 var, KM 165.4
Comments This coin belongs to the enigmatic Kannada numeral series. No one knows for sure who issued these coins, which are found almost exclusively in Mysore state. Coins are known for numbers 1-33, with 1-31 being relatively common and 32-33 being rare. There is reportedly one known coin with the number 40, but some have questioned the reading of this number and it does seem strange that a coin with 40 would exist, but no coins with the numbers 34-39 are known.

Perhaps the most widely accepted theory is that the numbers mark the regnal years of Immadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar II, who ascended the throne of Mysore at the age of 3 in 1734. His rule lasted 32 years, so this theory would require the assumption that the series was continued briefly after his death. A related theory also has the coins issued during this reign, but argues that the numbers represent Hindu cyclic years.

I would like to propose a slightly different theory. We know that, during this period, the real power in Mysore lay with the Devaloys, powerful court officials who had consolidated their control during a period of turmoil. Devaraja Devaloy seized control in 1731, while maintaining nominal fealty to Chamaraja (1731-34). What if these coins were issued by Devaraja Devaloy, starting with year 1 in 1731 during the rule of Chamaraja, and continuing with the same series upon the inauguation of Immadi Krishna Raja II in 1734. When Haidar Ali, the state's military commander, took control in 1761, he also continued to maintain a nominal fealty to Immadi Krishna Raja, and may have continued to issue coins in the same series until he was ready to flex his muscles and commence mintage of coins in his own name.
Price SKU: 426.54
US$ 12.00
  • € 11.15
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Rates for: 06/03/23

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