As Mughal supremacy declined in Indian subcontinent, many seized the apportunity to become independent rulers. The Marathas which by then had united under command of Bajirao Peshva I, were perhaps the most successful. But, soon Marathas found themselves pitched against a new adversary, the British. Most Maratha Chiefs fought gallantly, but eventually lost the war (the fate was decided in three Anglo-Maratha wars). After defeat of Peshawa Baji Rao II (the last Peshva) in 1818 by British , the political supremacy of Marathas which was built on the ruins of Mughal empire, came to an end. Marathas remained undisputed military power till begining of 19th century and covered practically all of wester, central and Northern India. The Mughal emperor was under their protection and acted as puppet emperor with real power vested with Peshawas (or Shindes/Scindhias). Unfortunately later Maratha chiefs had no foresight and they indulged more in intrigue and conspiracies against their own than realizing superior British diplomacy and military organization. Soon after the collapse of Maratha empire, British took possesion of whole subcontinent in less than a quarter century as no formadible power left in India to challenge them.

Collapse of Marathas had far reaching consequences in Indian history. After their fall, hundreds of petty rulers, governors and kings who paid allegiance to Marathas or Mughals accepted British supremacy with little resistance, retaining very little political and almost no military independence. These semi-independent states are referred as princely states of India which issued their own coins. There were more than 500 princely states in India, listed in 1931! Some of them (Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, Gwalior etc) were as large as England while others were just few square miles in area. These rulers had a fair degree of independence in governing their subject, collecting taxes and maintaining law and order. Many states issued their own distinct coinage, currency notes and postal stamps. These `Princes' (Who called themselves Maharajas, Nababs etc.) amassed fabulous wealth under solid protection of British. Indeed quite a few rulers were even richer than Queen/King of England! Some of these princely states were incorporated in British empire by Lord Dalhousy just before 1857. Rest of them were incorporated in modern India (few in Pakistan) soon after independence, in 1947. Shown below are coins of just few such princely states. This area is TOO LARGE to cover. I have coins of almost 100 states but just few of them are shown. Write me an e mail if you want any specific information or have something to add.


Mysore was a prosperous region of southern India ruled by various Hindu dynasties. In 1761, Haider Ali (a muslim commander of king Wodeyar) deposed him and took control of this kingdom. His only son Tipu took over after Hyder and promptly proclaimned himself Sultan. British who were trying to cement their rule in southern India soon found him to the most formadible enemy. Soon Tipu and British commanded by Lord Cornwallis were in battlefield. Tipu lost the third Anglo-Mysore war in 1792 and had to hand over half of his kingdom and two of his sons as hostages.However, the next round of confrontation was inevitable, Tipu harboured deep resentment againsr English, he was soon preparing for recovery of lost kigdom. To secure allies, Tipu sent emissaries to Constantinople, Kabul, Versailles and Arabia. He even asked help from French to displace British from south. This time, British acted swiftly and defeated Tipu at his capital, Srirangpatanam in 1799 in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war. Tipu died in battle and his capital was plundered by British troops later. Tipu was one of the few rulers of India who seriously considered British as enemy to be reconed with and fought desparately to crush their ambitions of supremacy in subcontinent.

Tipu minted very interesting coins, in all the three metals, gold, silver and copper. He minted gold coins of about 3.4 gm commmonly called as pagoda. 3.4 gm gold was standard unit in that period in south India. Interestingly he also minted `double pagoda' and `four pagoda' coins, which are quite rare. Shown below is one such rarity, double pagoda of Tipu. Most of his copper coins had an elephant on obverse. Elephant was royal symbol of this dynasty. His most popular coin is a heavy silver coin called `double Rupee'. Shown below is this rare coin.

Tipu of Mysore
1761-1782 AD
Gold, Double Pagoda
Weight: 6.8 gms
Minted at Shrirangapatanam (in 1216 AH, yr 6)
Reference: KM A.129
Very Rare

Tipu of Mysore
1761-1782 AD
Silver, Double Rupee
Weight: 20.6 gms
Minted at Shrirangapatanam (in 1200 AH, yr 4)
Reference: KM#127

After death of Tipu British brought in the old reigning Wodeyar dynasty while retaining most military powers. Wodeyar kings especially Krishana Raja Wodeyar were able rulers and made Mysore as one the best princely state of India by 20th century. Shown below are coins of this state. The coins issued by King's Dewan (prime minister) Purnaiya on behalf of King, shows a Shardula, a mythical tiger.

Krishana Raja Wodeyar
Minted at Mysore, issued by Diwan Purnaiya
1799-1810 AD
Copper, 25 cash
Weight: 11.2 gms
Reference: C#187

Krishana Raja Wodeyar
Minted at Mysore
Copper, two and Half Cash
Weight: 2.8 gm
Reference: C#190.2

Awadh or Oudh

Ghaji ud-Din Haider
1819-1827 AD (1234-1243 AH)
Gold Mohur, Broad Flan Weight: 10.72 gms
Minted in 1235 AH (1820 AD), Regnal Year 5
Minted at Lucknow (Dar-ul-Saltanat)
Reference:K 170.1

Awadh was very fertile and prosperous province of northern India (modern Uttar Pradesh) with very high density of population. The name Awadh is derived from word Ayodhya, capital of Lord Rama, the legendary King and hero of epic Ramayana. Awadh was important province of Mughal empire. In 1720, Saadat Khan, adventurer and a merchant was appointed as a Subhedar (Governor) by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah. Gradually Awadh became an independent kingdom as power of Mughals diminished. Opulence in courts of Nababs (kings of Awadh) and their prosperity noticed by British East India Company. This resulted in their direct interferance in internal political matters of Awadh.

Sixth Nabab of Awadh, Ghazi ud-Din Haider started a new era in Awadh coinage. In 1815, Marquis Hastings of East India Company persuaded Haider to become independent king which he did and later issued coins on his name. Ghazi ud-Din introduced very interesting cois which were completely different from his predecessors. For the first time, Awadh coins were issued on its rulers name instead of Mughal emperor, Shah alam II. The most important feature of his coinage was introduction of a European-style coat of arms (partially resembled to arms of England) on reverse of coin, consisting of two fish, two lions, two flags, a Katar (a small dagger) surmounted with a crown symbolizing king. A pair of fish forming a circle enclose the regnal year above a chain in form of a boat.

The fish was the royal symbol of this dynasty which was continued by later rulers who became nababs. Shown below is a fine example of a silver rupee minted by Nabab Amjad ali Shah which show fish above which royal crown is shown. Two swords are around the crown and royal canopy.

Amjad Ali Shah
1842-1847 AD (1258 -1263 AH)
Silver Rupee
Weight: 10.8 gms
Minted in 1258 AH (1842 AD), Regnal Year 1
Minted at Lucknow (Dar-ul-Saltanat)

English armies defeated Nabab of Awadh in battle of Buxor in 1764 which started a long process of ceding territories, signing unfavourable traties and eventually complete loss of power. Wajid Ali Shah was the last Nabab of Awadh. In 1856, his kingdom was annexed by Dalhousie, Governor General of East India Company on the grounds of internal misrule. It was in Awadh where the first great revolt of Indian Independence started in 1857 AD. Shown below is a fine example of silver rupee minted by this last Nabab.

Wajid Ali Shah
1847-1856 AD (1263-1272 AH)
Silver Rupee
Weight: 10.8 gms
Minted in 1264 AH (1848 AD)
Minted at Lucknow (Mulk Awadh Baitu-s-Sultanat Lakhanau)
Reference: K 365.1


Soon after death of Auranzeb the Mughal power started its decline and Nizan ul-Mulk, governer of Deccan (or Dakkhan, as southern India was called in `Hindustani') took this opportunity. He decalred his independence and thus came into existance Hyderabad state. Nizam was twice defeated by powerful Marathas limiting his ambitions of having large empire. However, soon he found another opportunity, he allied with British and helped them to defeat Marathas and later Tipu of Mysore. This move, made in total self interest made British the true ruler of whole of south and central India. Hyderabad became a largest Indian state in British India and Nizams or rulers of this state were the richest men in world till 1940s. Hyderabad rulers minted gold coins called `Ashrafi' showing `Char Minar', a building with four minarets. Shown below is one such specimen. Also Shown below is the copper coin of this state.

Mir Usman Ali Khan
1329-1368 AH or 1911-1948 AD
Gold, Asharfi
Weight: 11.17 gms
Minted in 1343 AH, Year 14
Reference: Y57a

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan
Copper, Half anna
Weight: 10.6 gm
Minted in 1906


In 1686, king of Pallawa dynasty (ruled in modern Tamilnadu state) was defeated by a Ragunatha Tondaiman. Ragunatha, a robber rose as a soldier and later founded a small kingdom. Later Tondaiman kings helped British against French colonial occupation of southern India. This small princly state like all other princely state eventually merged in Rupublic of India in 1947.

Martanda Bhairava
Minted in 1889 AD at Birmingham mint
Weight: 1.2 gm (KM#6)
Copper, Amman Cash


Copper, One Paisa Weight: 13.26 gm
Obverse: Swastika symbol
Unpublished, Probably unique in world
Extremely Rare

Jhabua was a small princely state in central India (Madhya Pradesh state in modern India). It was feudatory state under protection of Maratha rulers, Holkars of Indore . Jhabua was ruled by Rajput Kings although state was mostly populated by various tribals. Shown above is coin of this state which seems to be the only remaining specimen in whole world!! The obverse shows numeral 1 while reverse shows Swastika.

More than 500 such princely states were present in India prior to 1947. Coins of some of the states are enclosed. This area is too large to cover in this small section. This section would take a lot of time to complete as I have coins of more than 20 princely states. Currently I have included few images and very little information. I hope to add coins of all other states soon. Come back soon! If you have any comments, please send at

Visitor since 11th Feb 99