Jahiruddin Babur defeated the last of the Sultans of Delhi in the Battle of Panipat I in 1526 CE and founded the rule of the Moguls in India. But their position in India was precarious owing to the strong presence of different other political forces all over India including the Rajputs and the Afghans of Bihar. Sher Shah Suri, one such warlord of Afghan descent from Bihar, proved to be the most formidable of them. He defeated Humayun, the Mogul emperor, in 1540 CE and established the rule of the Sur dynasty in Delhi. Sher Shah is regarded as one of the most talented rulers in the history of India. The impact of his administrative, economic, and military reforms were so far reaching that they were imitated even by the Moguls who restored their rule in Delhi after the untimely death of Sher Shah in 1545 CE.
Sher Shah was a petty warlord before he ascended to the throne of Delhi. But even in his limited capacity, he issued some silver and copper coins. However, they are not of much significance.
The important phase started when he occupied the throne of Delhi after defeating Humayun in several battles. Sher Shah issued coins in silver and copper. The silver coins were known as Rupiya which is still used in India as a general term for money. The copper coins in which the large numbers of transactions were made by the masses were known as Paisa. The term Paisa is also used in present day India as a term for money of lower denominations. However, issues in gold are not yet known from the reign of the Sur rulers.
The Rupiya of Sher Shah can be used as a rich source of historical facts. The obverse of these silver coins is inscribed with the Islamic Kalima- La ilah-il-illah Muhammad ur Rasool Allah (meaning There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah). The obverse also carried the name of the first four holy Khalifas- Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, and Ali. These inscriptions showed the devotion of the Sur rulers to the cause of Islam. But, by no means, they were bigots. The tolerant nature of the rule of the Sur rulers is evident from various other facts. The obverse of the coins is marked by the full name of the ruler Farid ud Dunia wa din abu al-Muzaffar Sher Shah Sultan, the pious wish “Khald Allah Mulk” (meaning may Allah perpetuate his kingdom), the name of the issuing mint and the year of issue. Some of the Rupiya coins are also marked by a Devanagari inscription which read as follows- Sri SerSahi, indicating them as issues of Sher Shah. Mints were situated all over the realm. Some of the major mints issuing Rupiya coins were Chunar, Agra, Panduah, Delhi, Bhakkar, Kanauj, and Gwalior. Besides these mints, coins were also issued from the camp mints of the Emperor. These issues carried the word- Jahanpanah instead of the name of the issuing videos de sexo mint. The silver coins weigh around 180 grains and became the standard weight throughout most of India and continued to be the standard under later Mughal rulers.
The copper coins or the Paisa of Sher Shah were issued from different mints such as Gwalior, Narnol, Kalpi, Delhi, Hissar, Chunar, etc. The weight standard of the copper coins was, however, not uniform. Some of the Paisa coins issued from Narnol mint weigh around 328-9 grains while the issues from Chunar weigh 304 grains. Most of the copper coins carried the following inscription on obverse- fi ahad al-amir al-hami which means “in the time of commander of the faithful, the protector of the Religion”. The reverse carried the name of the ruler, the issuing year and the name of the mint.