India’s First Proof Set – Baroda, Sayaji Roa III, VS1949 (AD1893)

Sayaji Rao III, Special Mint Commemorative Proof Set which includes copper & silver coins dated VS1949 AD1893, machine struck (16). This specially packed proof set is encased in a purple velvet box with a round coin like bust of the king and 2 half circles both with the name & title of the maharaja. 

This proof set has 2 sets of coins in both Silver & Copper. The two tickets mentions yaadgiri tankashaalaani” & “Vadodara and (AD) date 1893 in the center. This translates to “Memento of the mint, Vadodara 1893 Both the tickets are unifaced. It is believed that the mint engraver was in a haste as mistakes were corrected/re-engraved later, like – “tanka of tankashaalaani” was originally engraved as “thanka” and then erased and corrected later. “Shaala” was engraved as “shaalaa” with an extra matra for the longer vowel. Another interesting thing that you can notice is that the engraving was done by a less experienced engraver, this can be noticed by the angles in most of the letters. Most of the letters are slanted or more angled compared to other coins. 

The following coins are included – Total 16 Coins

  • 2 Tickets – Silver & Copper
  • 1 Rupee x 2 – Original Proofs 
  • 1/2 Rupee x 2 – Original Proofs 
  • 4 Annas x 2 – Original Proofs 
  • 2 Annas x 2 – Original Proofs 
  • 2 Paise x 2 – Original Proofs, die engraving mistake (engraving 9 as upside 4 in the date 1949, in Nagari)
  • 1 Paise x 2 – Original Proofs 
  • 1 pai x 2 – Original Proofs 

These proofs have been stuck twice to get sharp impressions as you’d expect from proofs coins. The dies employed here are used and had developed die-cracks that can be seen in most of the coins, which is not typical of a proof coin. Baroda state imported new machinery to mint coins mechanically in AD1893 (VS1948-49). This was a new system for minting machine struck coins, and the mint prepared this set to commemorate the introduction of the new machinery. The design of the box, placement of coins along with the mint tickets & the overall appeal of the coin box indicates that this commemorative proof set was either presented to the king himself or to a British officer of high rank. 

In all, this is officially the first proof set of India