LAHORE: The Lahore Museum is going to hold an exclusive exhibition of rare coins from the Sikh era, including a medal of that period minted in France having Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s portrait, the only one in the world.

There are some 6,000 coins in the Sikh collection of coins at the Lahore Museum. The exhibition will also feature some other rare coins, Arsiwala Gold coin, a peacock feather coin of silver and Baba Guru Nanak Medal would be the salient features of this grand and extraordinary exhibition.

Lahore Museum Additional Director Naushaba Anjum told Dawn on Monday the exhibition would be held in the near future but the schedule had not yet been finalised yet. The exhibition would be a treat to watch because of its exclusivity and the rare coins, which would be put on display, she said.

Ms Anjum added the Sikh collection of coins at the Lahore Museum was the rarest and unique one.

“We are cataloguing the coins collection in the form of a book”.

Dilating upon the history of some of the coins to be put on display at the exhibition, Ms Anjum said Ranjit Singh had a dancer in his court, named Moran Sarkar. She was called Moran owing to her style of dance that resembled the dance of a peacock. Moran Sarkar later became his wife. For the love of his wife, Ranjit issued a coin shaped as peacock feather in silver. Arasiwala gold coin was also issued in regard with Moran Sarkar.

Naushaba Anjum said the Lahore Museum was well known for its prestigious coins collection.

“Among its rarest coins are 20 Sikh gold stamp and two silver rupees of Moran Sarkar. Among these issued from the mints of Namk, Dera, Mozang and Ichhra are also rare.”

Ms Anjum said Ranjit Singh and his successors ruled over Punjab for a period of 48 years from 1801AD to 1849AD.

Although Ranjit Singh was an autocrat, he never put his name on a coin and neither did his successors but surviving pattern coins seem to indicate that he once considered the introduction of anonymous pictorial rupees showing the ruler as a disciple of Guru Nanak.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020

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