Mumbai Mint is one of the oldest mints of India. The history of the Mumbai mint dates back to the last quarter of the seventeenth century. It evolution over the centuries is identical with that of the rupee. The development history of coins, from manufacturing the coins in a small place by means of hammer and anvil initially, to manufacturing by automatic machines, includes many interesting stories ,for instance,in olden days the weight of the coins was decided in terms of grains.
The Mumbai Mint was established in 1829 A.D. Initially it was controlled by His Excellency, the Governor of Bombay Presidency. It was then transferred to Government of India by Finance Department Resolution No. 247, Dated: 18.5.1876. In the year 2006, Government of India took a decision to Corporatise all the Mints & Presses. Accordingly a Corporation named Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd. was formed with all the Nine Units (Mints, Presses & Paper Mills) under Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. Thus India Government Mint, Mumbai erstwhile a Government Department under Ministry of Finance is now a part of the above referred Company under Companies Act.
The first mint at Mumbai was set up by Governor Aungier for the coinage of rupees, pies and bujrcks. The first Mumbai Mint rupee was coined in the year 1672. These coins were minted in the Mumbai castle, now INS Angre near Town Hall. A water tank was located where now stands the multi-storied building of the Reserve Bank of India.
Present Mumbai mint was constructed between the years 1824 and 1830 by Capt. John Hawkins of Bombay Engineers. Mr. James Farish was appointed as the master of mint from January 1830. For many years 1, 50,000 coins daily were produced on three steam engines in this mint.
In the year 1863 Col Ballard became the Master of Mumbai Mint. He was the most famous British Master of The Mint. He reclaimed the land from the sea which is now known as Ballard Estate, the name given to perpetuate his memory.
Initially,Mumbai mint was under the administrative control of government of Bombay. In 1876, Mumbai mint was transferred to the Government of India by finance Department Resolution NO 247, dated 18.05.1876 . Till 1893, the operation of Indian mints was regulated by Coinage Acts of XVII 1835, XIII of 1862 and XXIII of 1870. Under the new Indian Coinage Act 1906, as amended from time to time, a coin can be minted upto a denomination of Rs. one thousand.
In 1919 Gold refinery was started in the Mumbai Mint. It employed the chlorine process for gold refining.It refined raw gold from South Africa and Indian mines.
A new branch of the Royal Mint of London was opened here during the year 1918-1919 with the objective of coining the British sovereigns in India. After coining 12.95 lakh sovereigns, this branch was closed in April 1919.Later it was converted in to the residence of the Mint Master. It is now known as the Mint House.
Silver refinery was started in 1929. It had an installed annual capacity of 80 million ounces of silver. In 1947 pure nickel coins were minted. In 1950 the effigy of the English Monarch on the obverse was replaced by the Ashoka Pillar. From 1957 the decimal system of coinage was adopted. In 1957 Shri B.S.D Aiyar became the first Indian Mint Master
In 1964 production of commemorative coins was started. The first commemorative coin was in the memory of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
One of the important activities of Mumbai mint is manufacturing of the reference, secondary and working standard of weights,and the secondary and working standards of capacity. Each of these standards plays a vital role in the work of the state governments by ensuring that the weights and measures used in the trade and commerce are of the required accuracy.