An array of rare coins, currencies and stamps displayed at the fifth annual exposition of the Vellore Numismatic and Philatelic Association (VNPA) held at the Town Hall here on Friday has drawn a large number of students from several institutions, and also members of the public. The three-day expo has laid a platform for curious visitors and students to have a glimpse of the coins minted centuries ago.
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, coins, tokens, stamps and other related objects.
Nearly 10 numismatists exhibited their collection among which were the punch-marked coins developed during the early Coinage of India dating back to 1,200 BC; and coins minted by the Madurai Nayakas, Tanjor Nayakas, Arcot Nawab, Gingee Nayakas, Tanjore Maratha, Tipu Sultan, Madras Presidency and Bombay Presidency.
“It was astonishing to take notice of the vast collection minted in ancient India, a period before our great grandparents were even born,” said a student from Voorhees School.
A group of students from the school shared the same view. They said that the show had kindled their interest in numismatics.
“I really got fascinated to lay hands on the world’s first silk stamp released by Thailand,” said another student.
“I displayed a half Karshapana (1.7 gram coin) and a Karshapana (3.4 gram coin), apart from hundreds of other coins. The coins bear five symbols: the Sun, Six Arms, Arched Hills, Plough and Peacock,” said a 25-year-old numismatist K Veera Sudhir from Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, who has been collecting coins from the age of nine.
Elaborating on the symbols on the coins, Sudhir said that the sun stood as the symbol of worshipping the dynasty that ruled during that period, the six arms indicated the six directions, the arched hills denoted the boundary of the dynasty, the peacock, was regarded as the banker mark or Rajamuthira of the province and the plough, indicated agriculture, the major source of the revenue to the province.
“The last two symbols differ with province,” said Sudhir, who has a collection of over 5,000 coins, some even dating back to the period of 1,200 BC.
Similarly, another enthusiast 34-year-old J Rajesh from Tirupathi displayed silk stamps and Chinese wooden coins. “I have nearly 20,000 coins. Except for six or seven coins, I have collected every coin minted in our country after it became a Republic,” he said. Rajesh has a collection of 964 coins minted in several metals - gold, brass, copper, silver, nickel, aluminium, tin and lead, post-1950.
C Tamilvanan of the Vellore Numismatic and Philatelic Association, who organised the exhibition, displayed two Madras Presidency coins minted in 1806-1807 by the East India Company. “The coins bear Tamil inscriptions. I spent nearly ` one lakh to purchase them from private auctions and e-bay,” Tamilvanan added further.