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British East India Company Releases Koh-i-Noor Diamond Coin
By Lisa Bellavin
August 26, 2013



The British East India Company has issued a new coin, featuring a theme of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, to honor Queen Elizabeth II for the 60th anniversary of her coronation.

The Koh-i-Noor, meaning "Mountain of Light" in Persian, is a 105.6 metric carat diamond, weighing 21.6 g in its most recent cut state, and once was the world's largest known diamond.

Believed to have originated in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the Koh-i-Noor has a mysterious and fascinating past. The diamond has belonged to various Hindu, Rajput, Mughal, Iranian, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers who fought bitterly over it and seized it as a spoil of war time and time again.

Shah Jahan, famous for building the Taj Mahal in Agra, had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. His son, Aurangazeb, imprisoned his ailing father at nearby Agra Fort. Legend has it that he had the Koh-i-Noor positioned near a window so that Shah Jahan could see the Taj only by looking at its reflection in the stone. Aurangazeb later brought it to his capital Lahore and placed it in his own personal Mosque.

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There it stayed until the invasion of Nader Shah of Khorasan in 1739 and the sacking of Agra and Delhi. Along with the Peacock Throne, he also carried off the Koh-i-Noor to Persia in 1739.

The valuation of the Koh-i-Noor is given in the legend that one of Nader Shah's consorts supposedly said, "If a strong man should take five stones, and throw one north, one south, one east, and one west, and the last straight up into the air, and the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Koh-i-noor."

In 1850 it was confiscated from Kharak Singh by The East India Company and became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877.

The diamond is currently set into the Imperial Crown of Queen Elizabeth II and is today on display at the Tower of London.

As a fitting tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her 60th Anniversary of her Coronation, The East India Company is releasing a limited edition Koh-i-Noor Coronation Collection. Struck to the highest proof finish and inset with a single diamond, the collection unique tribute to the Queen.

Designed by former Royal Mint Chief Engraver, Matt Bonaccorsi, the coin features HM Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown set in front of the arches of Westminster Abbey, where she was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom in 1953.

Inset with a carefully sourced diamond, two versions - a 1oz and 5oz variation - will be released. The coins are limited to just 1953 and 600 pieces respectively. Both come with a presentation case and are accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity.

For more information or to purchase, visit the East India Company online at http://www.eicgold.com/



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