Coins From The Raj, Colonial Indian Coins #1: 1/2 Anna (British India, 1943)-Article

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

This unusual-shaped British India coin is a WWII-era 1/2 Anna, dated 1943. Issued on the 2nd year of its limited 1942-1945 production run. Which took place entirely during WWII (1939-1945). This coin was demonetized on 1 October 1954. Roughly 7 years after Indian Independence (15 August 1947).


The coin is an unusual diamond-shape, with smooth rounded edges. It's made of a nickel brass alloy and weighs 2.92 g. Its dimensions are 19.8 mm (0.780 in) wide and 1.6 mm(0.063 in) thick. The coin is primarily in English, secondary text in 4 additional Indian languages. All secondary languages are minted in their native script.


Observe

The observe is a simple, although fairly ornate design. At the center is a detailed portrait of King George VI (1895-1952), in leftward profile. The portrait is wreathed by the text, "GEORGE VI KING EMPEROR". The portrait lays in a recessed circle, the outlying edge features ridges throughout.


Moving outward the observe features a double rim design. The first raised "rim" are formed from shelves on the diamonds corners. Each of these shelves feature a small pair of wings. The observe second/true rim rises slightly above these ledges, running across the coin's entire perimeter.


Reverse

The reverse is highly decorative, featuring the coin's 1/2 Anna value, at its center. This "1/2 Anna" value is split into a cross-pattern. The middle of a "/" forms the center of the cross's axis. A number "1" forms the crosses top and a number "2" the bottom. The sides of the cross are formed by splitting "ANNA, to the left ("AN") and right ("NA"). Above the before mentioned value, is the text "India" and below the coin's issue date "1943". The entire center is surrounded by a decorative frame.


The coin's value is listed on the reverse's center, as "Two Paisa" (equal to 1/2 Anna). Each corner represents one of India's various indigenous languages. The top is in Urdu, below Telugu, the left Devanagari, and the right in Bengali. The reverse is single rimed, as opposed to double rimed designed of the observe.


Pre-Decimal Indian Rupee Guide

16 Anna=1 Rupee=64 Pice

8 Anna=1/2 Rupee=32 Pice

4 Anna=1/4 Rupee=16 Pice

2 Anna=1/8 Rupee=8 Pice

1 Anna=1/16 Rupee=4 Pice

1/2 Anna=1/32 Rupee=2 Pice

1/4 Anna=1/64 Rupee=1 Pice


Size Comparison

A 1/2 Anna coin with US Penny for comparison.
 

Additional Text

  • The Anna was a (now obsolete) pre-decimal denomination of the Indian Rupee.

  • One Rupee was the equivalent of 12 Anna, or alternatively 1/12th Rupee.

  • The Anna denomination became obsolete, when the Rupee was decimalized, 1 April 1957.

  • King George VI reigned from 11 December 1936 to 6 February 1952.

  • George VI took control of the crown, from his abdicated brother Edward VIII.

  • King George VI served as the last British ruler of India.

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