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Copper ½ anna coin of the East India Company, 1845

Indian ½ anna coin, 1845 Indian ½ anna coin, 1845

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Copper ½ anna coin of the East India Company, 1845

The British East India Company established its first port in India in 1608, and by a series of treaties between the Mughal Emperors and Kings of England was able to expand hugely over the subsequent two centuries, aggressively taking over many smaller states. By 1757 this relationship had broken down due to the take-over of Bengal which had been under Mughal protection, but the Empire split up soon after leaving the Company the most substantial power in India. Under ever-closer control by the British Crown, it became less of a trading concern and more of a government, albeit a mercantilist one, until its final replacement by Crown rule in 1858 in the wake of the Indian Mutiny. The Company issued its own currency in its possessions, according to the prevailing local standards upon its arrival, but in India the Coinage Act of 1835 provided for a uniform money across the country. This 1845 copper ½-anna coin might therefore have been manufactured, and acquired by Commodore Perry, almost anywhere in British India.