The storied history of Hyderabad’s numismatic legacy is now on show at the freshly minted mint museum in the Saifabad area.
The disused mint facility which was abandoned in 1997 after the minting facility was shifted to Cherlapally has been transformed into the museum. “The mint compound is spread over three acres we are using 4000 square feet for the exhibition. We worked with the existing facilities to create this exhibition,” said architect of the Mint Museum Karthik Mourougane who worked on the exhibit.
While many exhibits are from the mint museum in Cherlapally, a few displays have been curated by a team led by Mr. Mourougane. “This coin display shows the obverse side without any intervention. We have added a QR code that gives details about the coins and will show additional history at a future date,” he informed.
The exhibition showcases history as well as the artefacts that were used to create the coins. Among the exhibits is a large photograph showing a worker about to slam a hammer on an anvil for coin stamping using the die striking method. Coins were minted in Hyderabad when the mint was located in the Sultan Shahi area. The private mint was established in 1803 and marked the beginning of locally produced coins in the region.
By 1893, there were eight official mints and 16 private mints owned predominantly by jagirdars in Hyderabad region. Finally, Salar Jung shut down these mints due to the low quality of coinage and inaugurated a State Mint in 1893 where citizens could take gold or silver or old coins to be minted into current coins.
Exactly a hundred years later in 1903, the Mint was shifted to Saifabad and began to function in a systematic manner supervised by the then Finance Minister Casson Walker. “This was a great mint and shows how evolved our mint practices were. It shows the vision of the then Nizam that a mint built to European standards was built in 1903,” said Chairman and Managing Director of the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd Tripti Patra Ghosh while inaugurating the permanent facility.
Now, only part of the mint compound has been turned into a museum. Behind it, in large airy rooms filled with cobwebs and dust lie the rusted machinery that once powered the mint. A facility that was connected with its own railway siding to bring in precious metal and cart minted coins.
In 1950, after the merger of Nizam’s Dominion with India, the government of India started using the facility and used it till 1997. In 1953, the Osmanian currency was demonetised. Now, citizens can see a slice of that history at the Mint compound just past the two brass cannons.
Entrance to the museum will be free from June 8.