A penny for your collection

Numismatists talk about the importance of knowing the history of one’s prized possessions, lack of dealers in the city, and the value of a well-maintained currency roster

CHENNAI: The coin is rough and has intricate writing. Unlike the round ones we have today, this one is jagged, cut using older technology. This is a coin from the Chola Era, which can be dated to Raja Raja Cholan based on the figure etched on one side.

This is but one of the many rare coins at C Swamidurai’s store in Vadapalani. Though he started Selva Vinayaga Coins and Antiques in 2009, the 38-year-old has been interested in numismatics ever since he was 13 years old.

Coins and culture
Swamidurai says that business has been consistent for the last few years. “We get around four to ten customers every day. Most of them come in for certain coins to add to their collection. Business peaks during school vacations, because a lot of children come to buy coins,” he says.

According to D Hemachandra Rao, who has been collecting coins from 1970, it is important for collectors to have a clear understanding of the history behind the coins they collect. “Many people have, say, coins from the Chola period. But it is important for them to understand the lippy on the coin, if not the true value of the coin is lost,” he says. Rao’s collection with ships and lighthouses on coins are all carefully documented, with detailed descriptions of the coin’s origin and markings on them.

“Currency and coins offer an immediate understanding of another country’s economy. Over the years, I have learned to tell the country’s economy by looking at the coins. For example, the denomination on this note from Zimbabwe is $10 billion. This shows that the country is not doing so well, economically,” he says. Additionally, some of his coins, such as a `1 coin which dates back to 1807, has inscriptions in Tamil, inspired by the Telugu script.Read more

Source web page :New Indian Express

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