The Collection of British Colonial Coins formed by the late John Roberts-Lewis

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Date of Auction: 22nd April 2020

Sold for £240

Estimate: £100 - £150

Afghanistan, Proving piece by Greenwood & Batley, Leeds, for Martin & Co on behalf of H.H. Abdul Rahman, Amir of Afghanistan, in brass with a copper splash, ornamental g&b cypher, sir t. salter pyne, c.s.i. above, martin & co below, rev. crossed flags of Great Britain and Afghanistan, h.h. abdul rahman above, ameer of afghanistan below, edge finely grained, 39mm, 29.60g/6h (Bullmore, SNC 1979, p.439, no. 1A; cf. Noble 90, 3663; cf. DNW 137, 926). Very fine and very rare £100-£150

Footnote

Provenance: Bt J. Whitmore.

The Leeds firm of Greenwood & Batley, founded in East street, Leeds, in 1856, removed in 1859 to the Albion Works at Armley. They supplied coining presses and associated machinery to a number of foreign mints. Abdur Rahman Khan (c. 1844-1901), grandson of Dost Mahomed, was invited by Lord Lytton, the Governor-General, to become Amir of Afghanistan after the cessation of the Second Afghan War in 1880. Rahman was promised further aid from Britain provided he adopt a pro-British foreign policy. One of the by-products of this was the appointment of Sir Thomas Acquin Martin (1850-1906) as his Agent-General in 1887. Martin, head of Martin & Co, civil engineers, of London and Clive street, Calcutta, in turn sent Sir Thomas Salter Pyne, KB, CSI (1860-1921) to Kabul, where Pyne reorganised the Kabul mint with presses ordered from Greenwood & Batley. The first of these presses, despatched from England on 19 October 1894, was for minting the new 39mm 5 rupee coin; this proving piece was almost certainly made at that time