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Rare Indian coins sell like hot cakes

Published : May 13, 2016, 2:40 am IST
Updated : May 13, 2016, 2:40 am IST

Ancient Indian gold, silver and copper coins, especially from the Mughal era, the princely states, British India and others, are fetching huge amounts in international numismatics auctions.

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 coins.jpg

Ancient Indian gold, silver and copper coins, especially from the Mughal era, the princely states, British India and others, are fetching huge amounts in international numismatics auctions.

An Empress Victoria gold coin of British India, minted in 1884, has been put up for auction with an opening bid at $3,250, which is expected to fetch $3,500 or more. A George V silver coin, minted in 1918, has a base price of $1,600, but it should fetch up to $3,000.

Stephen Album Rare Coins, an American company specialising in ancient, Islamic, Indian, Chinese and modern world coins, conducts three major auctions each year — in January, May and September.

The company, established by Stephen Album in 1976, with its office at Santa Rosa, California, has put on auction over 2,600 coins of India and several other countries from May 19 to 21.

In the Ancient India category, a silver coin of King Eucratides I, dated 170-145 BC, is priced at $2,000. Eucratides 1 was an important Greco-Bactrian king, a descendant of the nobles of the court of Alexander the Great and had fought against Indo-Greek kings, before being pushed back to Bactria. Mughal coins too command huge prices. A silver zodiac rupee coin of Emperor Jehangir (1605-1628) of Ahmadabad is priced at $1,200, but could fetch at least $1,500.

“Ancient Indian coins have a big international market. Some rare coins fetch thousands of dollars. Numismatics lovers are on rise across the country and the world,” said Mr Ramulu Naik, senior official of the Telangana state department of archaeology and museums.

Historian Dr Mohd. Safiullah said that more people these days preferred to invest in rare coins since they fetched good returns, sometimes $10,000 and even more. “Many people prefer to invest in rare coins since they are easy to convert and fetch huge returns. It’s easy to buy coins abroad, but very difficult to take ancient coins out of India due to stringent laws. One has to seek the ASI’s permission if the coins are 100 years or older,” Dr Safiullah said.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad