For 39-year-old physiotherapist, C M A Tamilvanan, a hobby practiced in leisure became an all pervasive passion. With a collection of over 5,000 coins and one lakh stamps, Tamilvanan planned to continue with his quest and establish a museum of his own to display collections made by him over 28 years of painstaking efforts.
What more, he is pitching for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for collecting the maximum number of coins and stamps.
“My ambition is to collect coins of ancient, medieval and later medieval periods and create a museum to preserve them and pass on the knowledge to posterity. I also aim to enter in the Guinness Book of World Records by collecting the most number of coins and stamps,” he said.
A resident of Gandhi Nagar in Vellore, Tamilvanan started collecting stamps at the age of 11; since then, he had been engaged in fine-tuning his skills of tracing and collecting rare coins and stamps.
Presently, he boasts of a coin collection that exceeds 5,000, including a square-shaped Taxila coin dating back to the 6th Century BC. However, he was more passionate about collecting coins with Tamil scripts.
“It all started when I was in class VI. My collection initially was confined to stamps. Within two years into stamp collection, I developed a special liking towards ancient coins,” said the ardent numismatist.
Though his passion took most of his time, he did not abandon his family. He said, “I make efforts to see more patients to meet my family expenditure and also to cushion my hobbies financially.”
His search for rare coins took him to several parts of country. “For the past ten years, I have been concentrating on collecting coins with Tamil scripts. I went to Delhi, Kolkata and other metros and cities of Northern India to take part in auctions to add to my trove. At present, I have 56 coins with Tamil Scripts starting from the ancient Chera, Chola and Pandiya dynasties to the period of Madras Presidency, which minted coins with Tamil scripts in 1808,” he noted.
The coin released to commemorate Rajendra Chola first’s victory over Pala Dynasty was one of the rarest possessions of Tamilvanan. “After conquering Pala Dynasty near Ganges, he brought water from River Ganga and built Gangaikonda Cholapuram. He also released a coin to mark this victory. Since then, he was called as Gangaikonda Cholan,” he explained.
Another interesting addition to the carefully and passionately made collection of the numismatist cum physiotherapist is the only coin to be minted and released with Tamil Script ‘Meenakshi’ by Madurai Nayaka Queen Meenakshi, between 1731 and 1736.