The unit of the copper
coinage of southern India was the Kasu cash (a Tamil word
meaning 'a coin').
The earliest reference which gives a rating to
the cash circulating in Madras is of the year 1660/1661, when
80 cash was the equivalent of one gold fanam in the East India
Company's books of account. After the fanam became a silver coin,
this rate still continued. Other ratings of cash to the fanam
have been noted but as the word 'cash' like 'pice' was used in
a general sense to denote practically any copper coin which was
current in a particular locality, it is not certain whether actual
coins were intended or whether they were cash of account.
In 1678 the copper cash currency underwent some
changes. The weight of the cash and its fanam rating was altered.
A multiple cash was also introduced. Still in the same year other
changes were made, but by the year 1680, the multiple had been
demonetised and the only copper coin was the cash.
Two new copper coins were introduced in 1691,
a dudu or 10 cash piece and a half dudu, and these together with
the cash formed the copper currency throughout the 18th century.
At the instigation of the Court of Directors,
a copper coinage consisting of four denominations 20, 10,
5 and 1 cash, was struck in England in 1803 and the two higher
values were repeated in 1808.
In the meantime, new copper coins were struck
in the new Madras mint in 1807 in the range of denominations of
40, 20, 10, 5 and 2½ cash.
When the currency standard of the Madras presidency
changed in 1818 from the pagoda to the Madras silver rupee, the
old cash coins remained in circulation, the 20 cash piece as a
pysa or pice, the 10 and 5 cash becoming a ½ and a ¼ pice
respectively. The copper currency rating was 12 pice to 1 anna,
16 annas to 1 Madras rupee.