Ever heard of the phrase “minting coins”? No, it’s nothing to do with chewing gums or mouth freshners. A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures coins that can be used in currency; in simple words, it’s a place where the coins of a country are manufactured by authority of the government
Now if you take a random rupee coin, you’ll notice a tiny symbol at the bottom of the coin, under the issuing year. Every symbol is specific to a mint, suggestive of where the coins were made.
Let’s enlighten ourselves with each symbol with respect to their mints.
The Kolkata mint was first established in 1757 and was located in a building next to the Black Hole in the old fort where the General Post Office or GPO stands today. It was called the Calcutta Mint and it used to produce coins with the mint name “Murshidabad”.
In 1790, a second mint was established with modern machinery brought from England.
In 1824, a third mint was laid out. Until 1835 the coins issued at this mint continued to be in the name of the Murshidabad Mint and it later continued manufacturing as "Old Silver Mint".
Since it was the first ever mint, the coins minted then didn’t bear a “mint symbol”. Hence, the space below the year is blank which implies that it’s a Kolkata mint.
The Mumbai mint was established in 1829 by the governor of the Bombay Presidency during that time. Its main activity was the production of “commemorative and development-oriented coins”. The mint is opposite the Reserve Bank of India in the Fort area of South Mumbai.
It was transferred to the Government of India in 1876 through Finance Department Resolution 247.
In 1918, a branch of the Royal Mint of London was set up to issue British sovereigns.
- A year later, after manufacturing 12.95 lakh (1.295 million) coins, it was terminated.
The coins minted in Mumbai bear these 3 different mint marks:
First, Royal Mint was established under Nawab Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam of Asaf Jahi dynasty in 1803 AD, in Hyderabad. Royal Mint operated alongside other private Mints which produced coins in the name of Emperor.
In 1948, the State of Hyderabad came under the control of Government of India. The Nina of Hyderabad was made Raja Primacy.
The Government of India introduced decimal coin in 1957, manufacturing of 1 Paisa , 2 Paisa, 3 Paisa, 5 Paisa, 10 Paisa, 25 Paisa, and 50 Paisa were taken up.
- Administratively, Hyderabad Mint was under the control of Bombay Mint from 1948 to 1962 until Shri B.S. Ayer took charge of Hyderabad Mint as Master of Mint. Thereafter Hyderabad mint functioned independently and reported directly to Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, under Government of India, New Delhi.
The Hyderabad mint can be spotted from the five-pointed star under the issuing date on the coin. There are other mint marks including a “split diamond” and a “dot in the diamond”.
Noida mint is the only Mint established in the post-independence era. This is the fourth Mint in the country. In order to fill the gap between demand and supply of coins in the country, Government of India decided in the year 1984 to establish a new mint project.
The project was started by the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs in January 1986
The Noida minted coins have a round dot below the date.
(Picture credit: Times Of Education)