Vintage one rupee coin auctioned for Rs.220,000

August 17th, 2008 - 12:16 pm ICT by IANS  

By Maitreyee Boruah
Bangalore, Aug 17 (IANS) It may sound unbelievable, but a vintage one rupee coin fetched Rs.220,000 at a numismatic auction in India’s IT hub on the country’s 62nd Independence Day. The proud owner of the rare coin, minted in 1960, outbid stiff competition from two other rivals to pocket the prized possession.

“A record of sorts was created when the one-rupee coin of mintage 1960 went under the hammer for Rs.220,000. The coin is rarest of the rare, as it never came into circulation,” auctioneer Farokh S. Todywalla told IANS.

“Considering its rarity, we were expecting a record prize. That’s why the cut-off price for the bid was fixed at Rs.200,000,” Todywalla recalled after the auction.

The Mumbai-based Todywalla Auctions is the only certified and licensed numismatic auctioneer in the country.

Todywalla, however, declined to name the new owner of the coin, citing confidentiality and security reasons.

“The coin, which fascinated everyone otherwise, looks ordinary though its design is quite different, with ‘Sou Naye Paise’ inscribed on top portion,” Todywalla said, adding the coin had its own history.

Narrating the story behind the coin, Farok’s son Malcolm told IANS the coin was minted at Bombay Mint in 1960.

“But it (the coin) never got the approval of senior officers for circulation. The reason behind the objection might have been the design. After its disapproval, the coin might have remained with an officer before it passed into the hands of a numismatist,” Malcolm observed.

A Rs.10 gold coin from the British era with Queen Victoria’s etching also garnered great interest among numismatists. It was auctioned for a whopping Rs.160,000.

The numismatic exposition showcased a large number of coins and banknotes. The exposition concludes Sunday.

“The exhibition has brought together a spectrum of Indian coinage and banknotes. Connoisseurs had a wonderful opportunity to see gold coins 2,200 years old,” society member Murali Thanthry pointed out.

Formed in 1974 with about 500 members, the society is heartened at the overwhelming response to the show.

In all, 506 numismatic articles were listed to go under the gavel.

Rare hand-struck silver coins dating back to 200 BC, known as punched mark coins of Gandhara, which were in circulation during the time of Buddha; gold, silver and copper coins from the era of Kushans, Guptas, Mauryas and Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan and Tipu Sultan of Mysore were some of the exclusive items put on auction.

Paper money, including a few Rs.1,000 Republic of India notes, which were de-monetised during the 1970s, several Rs.10 notes with a red under print and Rs.100 notes with a green under print; coins of erstwhile states such as Bhopal, Hyderabad and Tripura; foreign coins, tokens, rare post cards and an autograph of first ‘Indian Idol’ Abhijeet Sawant were also auctioned.

“These coins and banknotes are symbols of our history and culture. Such an exhibition is an eye-opener. All the displayed articles tell us some little known stories from the pages of history,” said Vandana Gowda, a student of history at Mysore University, who travelled to this city to learn more about numismatics from the exhibition.

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