Sikh Coins First she picked up the first coin, the one from the Amritsar mint in the days of the Sikh Empire. The Sikh Empire! Nobody messed with the Sikhs in those days. This one was minted in 1818, nearly two centuries ago. They said that this one was minted in 1837 in the Amritsar mint. Might the great Maharaj Ranjit Singh have actually held this very coin? She giggled a bit. It was highly unlikely that he would have. Still, who knows? Holding it, even just looking at it made her feel a part of its history. It was something real, tangible that tied her to a proud history. (Oops! I goofed. This coin was minted long before the reign of the good and great Maharajah Ranjit Singh. Still the same feelings, though. He could have held it, but probably didn't. Please read the first comment below. Thanks ji!) Next, she picked up the one rupee coin, the copper one with the fish on it. The one they had said was minted in 1862. Patiala, from the days of Maharaja Mohinder Singh. Whose hands might it have passed through, who might have held it, purchased perhaps a pot of rice? What could a rupee purchase in those days? Perhas a kirpan or a kangha? No way to know. The old coin was the stuff of daydreams, awakening her imagination. The "she" here, of course, is me. There is sort of romance in these old coins, a bit of history - OUR HISTORY - that I can actually hold in my hands. To hold these, or even to just see the pictures is to feel my place in this history. And they are beautiful, too, small works of art. My husband, Mani, gave me one as a sort of wedding present back in 1970. I suppose I could have mounted it and worn it as a sort of medallion, but I never much liked wearing jewelry. Instead it was in a small plastic case in my wallet. It went everywhere I did. It was very beautiful with a peacock feather on it. He and I researched it together, learning more about the coin, our history and ourselves. All of you know, of course, that I have a thing for fish. Evidently, so did some of the designers of these coins. Here are some examples of Sikh coins with fish, enlarged a bit so the detail is visible: And one more. Find the fish yourself. If you have never owned one of these coins from our history, I would suggest that you get one. Of course, you must be careful; forgeries are out there. Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer. If you'd like to learn more about Sikh coins, you might enjoy the Yahoo group, Sikh Coins. You can join by going to SikhCoins : Coins of the Sikhs. Be sure to say thanks to them. All these wonderful pictures are from their album collection. My peacock coin? Unfortunately it was in my wallet in Delhi and got lost, like so much else, in the fire. All pictures courtesy Sikh Coins.