The British East India Company
These silver coins were made, or 'minted', in Madras, India, in 1807.
They were made for the British East India Company, the biggest trading company in the world, which then controlled much of India.
The Company had its own army, and a fleet of sailing ships with cannon ('East Indiamen') that carried tea, cotton, spices and other goods to Britain.
India had its own coins, such as the rupee and the pagoda, issued by the princes who ruled the various Indian states.
The East India Company wanted new coins, machine-made with 'milled' (cut) edges, like those we use today.
Milling the edges of coins made it harder for people to 'clip' bits off the edges, for the precious silver.
The new coins had to look Indian, so people would use them.
The Company decided to 'recycle' Spanish silver dollars, stamping each coin with a new design.
The Spanish coins, known as 'pieces of eight', were used by traders (and pirates) all over the world.
The silver in this coin has its own story: it probably came from a silver mine at Potosi in Peru, South America.
Spanish 'conquistadors' (conquerors) looking for gold and silver captured Peru from the Incas in the 1500s, and Spanish ships carried Potosi silver across the high seas to Europe.
Two sides to the story
Like most coins, the East India Company 'silver half pagoda' coin has two sides; an obverse (front) and a reverse (back).
On the obverse is the image of a temple (a pagoda) and stars.
Around the edge is the coin's value, written in English and Persian.
The reverse of the coin shows Vishnu, the Hindu god of creation, inside a circle of dots.
The coin's value is given again, in the Tamil and Telugu languages. The coin was struck between two dies to stamp the design onto the metal, over the old Spanish design.
The long history of coins
The history of metal coins goes back more than 2500 years, though people have used many other forms of money, such as shells and stones.
The East India Company was set up in 1600. It went on issuing coins in India until 1858, when the British government took over directly control of India.