A Coin is a piece of metal with design and is used as a medium of exchange and so it has become a part of our daily life. When we flip coins, we called the sides of our coins “heads” and “tails.” But there is more to the coin. In fact coin tells a story of the nation. One can learn about how well the country was, what it believes in by looking at the coins. This article talks about Anatomy of a Coin, Looks at current Indian coins and how they have changed over a period of time, mint marks on the Indian coins and Controversy over the 10 Rupee coins.
The word Coin is derived from the Latin word cuneus or corner. When the word was first noted in English in the early 14th century, it meant wedge. The wedge-shaped dies which were used to stamp the blanks were called coins and the metal blanks and the subsequent coined money took their name from them.
Table of Contents
Anatomy of a Coin
Head or OBVERSE SIDE: In India’s coins the obverse side refers to the side on which, Lion Capital along with the motto ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is.
Tails or the REVERSE SIDE: It is the side on which the designs changes either based on the definitive series type or commemoration type. For example, in the coin shown below, we can see the United Nations’ logo
Edge: This is the very outside border of a coin. It can be plain (smooth), reeded, or decorated. The edge is sometimes referred to as the ‘third side’ of a coin.
The motto on the Coins
This is special lettering or inscriptions on a coin that have special meanings to the country of origin. Republic Indian’s coins bear the motto “सत्यमेव जयते” meaning Truth Alone Triumphs. This motto was derived from Mundaka Upanishad Mantra 3.1.6 (सत्यमेव जयते नानृतम् सत्येन पन्था विततो देवयानः । येनाक्रमत्
मनुष्यो ह्यात्मकामो यत्र तत् सत्यस्य परं निधानं ॥).
United States coins motto is “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and “E Pluribus Unim” (Latin for “Out of Many, One”).
Mint Mark of Coins
This is a small letter or other symbols that indicates where the coin was minted. It is generally given below the date, but in some cases at the top of the vertical axis of the coin. In India, there are four mints, namely; Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Noida Mint.
• Kolkata mint doesn’t use any mint mark,
• Mumbai mint have diamond shaped (Rhombus),
• Hyderabad mint have Star shaped (or Dot in Diamond) and
• Noida mint coins has Round Dot shaped mint mark.
• In addition to these, India also got its coins minted through foreign mints during the 1980s and 1990s. Mintmark ‘B’ and ‘M’ were used by Mumbai mint on proof sets whereas Mintmark ‘U’ was being used on UNC sets issued by Mumbai Mint.
Date: This is the year the coin was released or minted.
This is usually the main part of the coin’s design. Indian coins have LION CAPITAL. It is the Emblem of India and derived from the Ashoka Pillar, as a symbol of sovereignty and indigenous motifs of independence.
In the United States, it is a president or statue of LIBERTY. In other countries, it could be a king or queen.
DENOMINATION: It refers to the value of the coin mentioned on it either in terms of a rupee or in terms of Paisa.
Field: This is the flat surface of a coin that is not being used for the design or inscriptions.
Legend: Also called the Inscription, this is the main lettering on a coin. Legend is the written alphabetic script on the coin which generally indicates the details of Commemoration or any other details related t coin but it will be in terms of alphabetic and numeric script.
To find about coins in India in detail check out Wikipedia articles Coinage of India, Coins of British India, Coins of the Indian rupee
Recap of the Anatomy of the coin
YouTube video shows the anatomy of coin
Present Day Coins
The Government of India has the sole right to mint coins. The designing and minting of coins in various denominations is also the responsibility of the Government of India.
Current series of coins is 2011 series when RBI issued a series in denominations of 50p, ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, and ₹10. The 50p, ₹1, ₹2, and ₹5 designs are identical except the absence of the rupee symbol in 50p coin. The ₹10 coin continued to be issued in bimetallic issues as previously.
Coins Tell a story
It is believed that the first Recorded use of coins was in China and Greece in around 700 BC and in India in the sixth century B.C. The history of coins extends from ancient times to the present. It is related to economic history, the history of minting technologies, the history shown by the images on coins, and the history of coin collecting. Ancient coins were struck on copper, bronze, silver, and gold. The value of the coin was usually dependant upon its metal type and weight. Obviously, large gold coins were of far more value and carried a greater purchasing power than very small copper or bronze coins.
Indian coins have documented political & economic changes over time. The motifs on coins have been impacted by the cultural ethos of different regions at different time periods. Foreign coins found in India throw light on trade in India during various times. Coins can be divided into following periods of History and each coin tells a story. More details at
Mints of the Coins
Coins are minted at the four India Government Mints at Mumbai, Alipore(Kolkata), Saifabad(Hyderabad), Cherlapally (Hyderabad) and NOIDA
The Bombay and Calcutta Mint was founded by the British in 1829, while the Hyderabad Mint was set up by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1903, which was taken over by the Indian government in 1950 and it started minting the coins from the year 1953 for the Indian government.
The last mint was established by the Indian government in Noida in Uttar Pradesh in 1986, since then coins are minted here. It is necessary to tell that the 3 mints mentioned above make a mark on their minted coins, which helps in identifying the place of their minting.
When the Indian government did not have much machinery to mint more coins, then India’s coins were extracted in many foreign mints and imported to India. India imported coins during 1857-58, 1943, 1985, 1997-2002. Till 2002 coins were made of ‘Cupro Nickel’. But after 2002, when prices of copper-nickel increased, the cost of making coins was also increased, due to which the government had to use “Ferritic Stainless Steel” to make coin and the coins are currently being made from this steel. “Ferritic Stainless Steel” contains 17% chromium and 83% iron
Video of How American Coins are made
This video from US Mint shows how American Coins are made.
Why the size of the coin is reducing
Actually, any coin has two values; one is called the “Face Value” of the coin and the second value is its “Metallic Value”.
Face Value of Coin: This value means; ” amount written on the coin”’. If 1 rupee is written on any coin, it would be called its face value.
Metallic value of coin: This means the monetary value of the metal used in the formation of the coin. If a coin is melted and its metal is sold in the market in 5 rupees then 5 rupees would be called the metallic value of the coin.
As the coin is made of metal it can be melted. Suppose a goldsmith has a coin of Rs.1, if he melts this coin and sells the metal in the market for Rs.2, then he will get the profit of Rs.1. The reason behind his profit is that he lost just 1 rupee while he got 2 rupees after selling the metal of the coin.If all the peoples started this minting process then all the coin will vanish from the market which will be a very challenging situation for both the government and economy. This is the reason that the government tries that the metallic value of any coin should remain less than its face value so that people do not get encouraged to melt the coin because they will have to bear the loss. So If a goldsmith melted the coin of Rs.2 (face value) and if the metal sold in the market worth only Rs.1 (metal value), in such condition, the goldsmith will have to bear the loss of 1 rupee. So in this situation, he will not get encouragement for melting the coins. Therefore, in order to maintain the availability of coins in the market, the government keeps decreasing the size of the coin every year and uses cheap metal to make them.
Controversy over the 10 Rupee coins
In February 2018, the Reserve Bank of India began an awareness campaign of sending SMS text messages about the ₹10 coins with 10 and 15 radiating lines. Members of the public should continue to accept coins of the 10 rupee denomination as legal tender in all their transactions without any hesitation.
In July 2016, some shopkeepers in India were reported to be refusing to accept the ₹10 coin entirely, the result of a rumour circulating on social media. It was initially claimed that coins with a 15 notch reverse design lacking the ‘₹’ symbol were fake, compared to the 10 notch version using the symbol introduced in 2011.
It was later clarified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that the “alleged fake” coin was the earlier 2008 design, which predated the adoption of the ‘₹’ symbol in 2010, and was still in legal circulation, along with the 2011 design and those refusing to accept it could face legal action.
The Indian government has minted a number of different 10 rupee coins over the years, each with a different pattern, and that all are valid.
Money and Trust
The worth of money isn’t based on the inherent value of the paper or metal – it’s forged from a collective act of trust. The “chai wallah” who sells me my spicy morning tea accepts my money because he trusts that the neighbouring shop will accept it in return for a bag of rice. That shopkeeper, in turn, takes it on trust that the same money can be exchanged for a cable TV subscription, a gold bangle for his daughter’s wedding or whatever else he wants.
The real value of money is this system of trust. The Indian central bank’s PR in defence of the 10 rupee coin is an attempt to ensure that the peoples’ faith in the rest of the country’s cash isn’t undermined.
2008 10 Rupee Coin
Obverse of 2008 10 Rupee Coin
This face of the coin is divided into three portions with the help of two horizontal lines.
- The centre portion contains the “Lion Capital” of Ashoka Pillar with the “Satyameva Jayate” inscribed in HINDI bellow the Lion capital.
- The top portion contains word ” Bharat ” in Hindi and “INDIA” in English along the circumference.
- The bottom portion contains the Year of issue in English Numerals.
Reverse of 2008 10 Rupee Coin
In the upper circular half, the impression of radiation like pattern symbolizes growth and connectivity. In the centre, there is denomination “10” in English Numerals. In the Lower half circle, the word “Rupaye” in Hindi and the word “RUPEES” in English along the circumference is present.
2011 10 Rupee Coin
The observe face of the coin contains the Lion Capitol of Ashok Pillar with the legend “Satyameva Jayate” in Hindi, inscribed below the Lion, left periphery contains the word “Bharat” in Hindi and right periphery contains the word “INDIA” in English. The bottom portion indicates the year of issue in English numerals.
Reverse In the upper half circle, 10 numbers of impressions like radiation symbolizing growth and connectivity. The Rupee symbol is shown in the centre and the denominational value “10” in English numerals is present just below the rupee symbol.
- What are Central Banks, What is RBI? What do they do?
- About Rupee: Its name, Rupee Symbol,Countries
- RBI section on Coins
- Coins of the Indian rupee