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EIC Sumatra 3 K - 17

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EIC Sumatra 3 K - 1786
EIC Sumatra 3 K - 1786

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Registered: August 2005
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 2,365
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Sumatra, United East India Company; 3 Kepings, 1786. OB: VEIC balemark and date; Rx: Jawi legend. There is also an ink acquisition number [9306]. KM does not do a very good job of attributing these historic pieces, particularly in the proper documentation of the varieties you may encounter. This example has the oblique milled edge and a traditional rosette separating the obverse date. See my other example, and the gilt piece, that uses a different rosette on 1787 versions. KM does not show a 1786 strike and I can say, from anecdotal evidence, the 1786 issues are much harder to obtain than the 1787's.
This coin is representative of the very first copper issues of the famous coiner Matthew Boulton. This is a business strike as opposed to the proof issues often stuck again later as examples of his companys' work.
Famous for his 18th Centry Conder token products for various [copper mining] concerns and later, the Royal Mint, M. Boulton began his career as a minter with this issue for East India Company at Bencoolen on the island of Sumatra. A degree of industrialization was used to manufacture these pieces. Mr. Boulton operated a water-powered rolling mill and blanking machine at Soho [Birmingham] England. While his technique was pre-industrial it did add to the technology then in practice. Boulton was innovative in coin edge technology with this coin offering a security edge in an oblique milled edge pattern that prevented undetected clipping and filing.
The actual coining took place in London on hand operated presses supplied by the E.I.C. This first order began production in late October 1786 but was not delivered until May 1787. He received a second contract and those were dated 1787. These issues consisted of 1, 2, & 3 Kepings of 3.24, 6.48, and 9.72 grams of copper respectively. The largest issue was the 3 Keping of the 18 tons of copper struck for 1786. The second issue of 30 tons was heavy on the smaller coins with an estimate of only 526,400 of the 3 Keping being struck for the 1786 contract, the lowest of the 3 denominations over the two dates.
Search for other references to Boulton and Soho in this Museum for a history of coinage bringing essential progess to the Industrial Revolution. This coin represents the very beginning of the Revolution which has brought us vast improvements in living standards throughout 19th and 20th Centuries. From a Seaby sale of 27 Apr. 1979. This type of obverse rosette is called "large".
For a brief history of Bencoolen and Fort Marlborough visit:
[ link ]
· Date: December 15, 2012 · Views: 3,172 · Filesize: 33.3kb, 88.8kb · Dimensions: 880 x 443 ·
Keywords: Boulton Watt Soho Birmingham Industrial Revolution
Denomination: 3 Keping
Reference #: KM# 258
Date/Mintmark: AH 1200 (1786)
Condition: XF
Metal: copper


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