Rin writes: I have a coin that is dated 1808 and says “East India Company” on the front. It has what looks like 2 lions on either side of a crest holding flags. On top of the crest and in between the lions there is what I think is a knights helmet with a small lion on top of it. On the reverse side is writing that is in a language I dont know. The coin is about the size of a silver doller. Do you know where it came from or what its worth?
The East India Company was established after an English naval victory over Portugal on December 24, 1612. Further rights were established, first by the dowry given Charles II, who married Catherine of Braganca, Princess of Portugal, that included Tangier and Bombay (Bombay Presidency) and later from local authorities East India (Bengal Presidency) .
As the Company prospered the owners sought further concessions causing both military and diplomatic conflicts. Eventually the East India Company was given the right to make Mughal type coinage. (The language is generally Arabic and English on these coins). By the turn of the 19th century most East India Company coinage was struck in Bombay. Many denomination of this coinage feature two Lions on either side of a British shield and banners.
Except for a rare pattern, none of this coinage is the size of a silver dollar. There are U.S. half dollar size pieces of 20 Cash, (XX. CASH on the coin’s reverse). Many of these were salvaged from the Admiral Gardner shipwreck and are commonly seen and heavily promoted. Approximate value range in the grades usually seen: $40 -$60.