Mughal Emperors of India

Gold Tanka or Muhur

Obverse

In double linear square: la ilah illa Allah/Muhammad rasul Allah “no deity other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God”

In marginal segments: the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs with their epithets: at 6:00 Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, at 9:00 ‘Umar al-Faruq, at 12:00 ‘Uthman al-‘Affan, at 3:00 ‘Ali al-Murtada “Abu Bakr the faithful witness, ‘Umar who distinguishes truth from falsehood, ‘Uthman the defender, ‘Ali with whom one is well pleased”

Reverse

In double linear square: Muhammad Humayun padishah ghazi 962 “Muhammad Humayun padishah, warrior for Islam, 962”

Marginal segments largely off flan, but downward on right: abu’l-muzaffar “father of victory”

Nasir al-din Humayun took on his heavy responsibilities at a very young age, for his father Babur left him to administer Kabul and Badakhshan when he was only ten years old. He acceded to the throne at the age of twenty-three, but lacked his father’s strategic genius. However, by the time of his death the Mughal Empire spanned almost a million square kilometers. Practically all of Humayun’s first reign was taken up with conflicts with his brother Kamran, and he lost the throne to his enemy, Shir Shah Lodi, in 947 H/1540 CE. During the period between his two reigns Humayun took refuge with the Safawid Shah Tahmasb I of Iran, but conflict with Kamran continued, until in 948 H/1553 CE when Kamran was handed over to Humayun who had him blinded, thus achieving full control over his family’s resources. It was not until 962/1555 that Humayun decisively defeated Shir Shah, whereupon he entered Dihli and reclaimed the throne for himself. Humayun’s second reign was very brief, and ended on 7 Rabi’ I 963/20 January 1556 when he went to his library to pray, then fell down the staircase and died a few days later. While Humayun’s career was spent in a series of military adventures, he was apt to lapse into laziness and opium eating. Finally, after his last victory, he became known as a humane ruler, a keen patron of mathematics and astronomy and an accomplished writer of Persian verse. It is a pity that this unique and graceful gold coin has large areas of its marginal legend missing from the flan because it would almost certainly bear the name of the mint at which it was struck. No help is given from a silver coin of similar pattern and date, which is found in the British Museum Catalogue of Indian Coins of the Moghul Emperors (plate 1, no. 11). It is likely that both were issued to mark Humayun’s second enthronement in Dihli in 962 H.

Mughal Emperors of India

MaterialGold
TypeTanka or Muhur
RulerNasir al-din Muhammad Humayun bin Babur
MintWithout mint name, but probably Lahore or Dihli
Date962 H (1518 CE)
Weight10.69g
Diameter25mm