Coin Curiosity

Researching the history coins of the British Commonwealth

Home > Andman Islands 1861 mule rupee

Andman Islands 1861 mule rupee

Posted on

The coinage of the Andman Islands off the East coast of India was unusual in that while the tokens bore portraits of Queen Victoria, the tokens were also holed - outside of patterns, all tokens had a central hole.

One of the rare, unholed patterns has an 1861 reverse with the 1866 portrait: in 1861 the tokens were struck with William Wyon's early Straits Settlements portrait of Queen Victoria while the the 1866 tokens were struck Leonard Wyon's British India portrait of Queen Victoria, and in the British Museum is an 1861-dated token with the 1866 portrait: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_1935-0401-12273

The circumstances in which the mule token were struck are not known - the 1935 in the British Museum item number suggest that it was acquired in 1935: given that it was bequeathed to the British Museum by Thomas Bryan Clarke-Thornhill who died in 1934, this seems almost certain. Clarke-Thornhill served as a secretary in Diplomatic Service from 1881 to 1900 and served in China in 1900 (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG105767). Although his service in the East was well after the tokens were struck, as a collector he may have acquired the piece during his work overseas.