An Important Group of Ephemera relating to Thomas Graham, Master of the Mint

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Date of Auction: 4th December 2019

Sold for £360

Estimate: £200 - £300

ALS from Charles Wood at the India Office, London, 5 December 1859, to Thomas Graham, Esq, regarding designs for Indian coins, 2pp. Very fine; in a marbled paper holder £200-£300


The text reads: “Dear Sir, Will you be so good as to call here to-morrow at one o’clock, if it is not inconvenient to you, respecting the designs for the Indian Coins – and will you, at the same time, bring with you the former designs which have been used for the Indian Coinage. Believe me, Dear Sir, Yours truly, Charles Wood.”

The Rt Hon Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, GCB, PC (1800-85), career politician, Liberal MP for Halifax and later Ripon, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1846-52, was Secretary of State for India from June 1859 to February 1866.

An Act of Parliament of 2 August 1858 transferred the powers and property of the East India Company to the Crown of England and Victoria assumed the government of India on 1 November 1858, although coins struck at the mints in Birmingham, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras continued the bear the names and title of the Company until November 1862. On 1 January 1859 Cosmo Melvill at the India Office requested the Treasury to authorise Thomas Graham to prepare ‘a pair of matrices and puncheons’ for each of the denominations currently in circulation (Pridmore 1980, p.51; Attwood, 2014, pp.326-7). But it was not until Wood was in post that the Treasury acted, with Graham being authorised to proceed on 30 June 1859. Practical matters moved slowly during late 1859 and early 1860, while L.C. Wyon busied himself with ‘Indian designs’. A few patterns dated 1860 exist, but it was not until the summer of 1861 that all the necessary matrices and puncheons were ready for shipment to India