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Doctor turns numismatist

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Rare ones: R.P. Murthy with a part of his collections.
Rare ones: R.P. Murthy with a part of his collections.

Karthik Madhavan

R. P. Murthy has a collection of over 30 years

He has a few

rare coins from British East India Company rule

SATHYAMANGALAM: For R. P. Murthy, a diabetologist in this hill town, coins and currencies have become his first love. For, the doctor is a numismatist.

He enjoys a collection of over 30 years, which includes very rare coins.

“I have a coin issued by Karikal Chozhan marking his making Uraiyur the capital. The coin has a rooster daring an elephant.”

The doctor says he bought the coin from a jeweller in Chitoor, near Palakkad, and that was a surprise buy.

“I was looking for that coin for about six years and it was sheer luck that I got,” he says.

Like the above, his collection includes coins from Sangam Age, Chera, Chozha, Pandya, Maurya, Gupta, Hoysala, and Kadamba times. He also has a few rare coins from British East India Company rule. “At an exhibition in Coimbatore, I stumbled upon the rare ‘Ithu Irandarai Kasu’, issued by the Company in 1803,” he says.

Dr. Murthy says majority of his collections was bought from numismatic exhibitions. For a few, he has travelled almost all of Tamil Nadu and important places in South India.

And, he has a habit of visiting jewellers. “I’ve a habit of visiting jewellers for coins, for they are an important source. Wherever I am I visit the nearest jeweller for coins,” he says. He has about 2,000 coins and 1,000 currencies, from countries all over the world.

He says he has spent about Rs. 2 lakh towards collecting the coins. What has it given him? “Knowledge on history, respect for the old coins and above all a sense of satisfaction,” he replies.

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