It was last seen in the possession of the titular Nizam VIII of Hyderabad, Mukarram Jah, who purportedly tried to auction the coin at a Swiss bank, but India’s CBI failed to locate the coin that was passed on to Jah through his grandfather and last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan.
The last Nizam had inherited the coin minted by emperor Jahangir. Eminent historian Salma Ahmed Farooqui of HK Sherwani Centre for Deccan Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, who conducted research on the history and inheritance of the world’s biggest gold coin, said it is priceless and Hyderabad’s pride. Now, renewed efforts to locate the coin have begun after 35 years.
“In 1987, when Indian officials in Europe alerted the central government about the world-famous auctioneer Habsburg Feldman SA auctioning the 11,935.8gm gold coin in Geneva at Hotel Moga on November 9, through Paris-based Indosuez Bank’s Geneva branch, CBI came into the picture. Investigations started and much information was unearthed,” Farooqui told TOI.
She said CBI officials donned the role of historians, building up on the history of the coin. Many CBI officials, who were part of the probes are not in office anymore, so the search remained inconclusive.
Former joint director of CBI, Shantonu Sen, in his book said that CBI officials found that Jahangir had minted two such coins; while one was presented to Yadgar Ali, ambassador of the Shah of Iran, the other had become the property of the Nizams of Hyderabad.
Salma said CBI special investigation unit XI headed by a superintendent-rank officer in 1987 registered an FIR under the Antique and Art Treasures Act, 1972.
“Further investigations revealed that Mukarram Jah was trying to auction two gold mohurs in 1987 at the Swiss auction, one of which was supposedly the 1,000 tola coin. It was valued at $16million in 1987,” she said.