Thiruvananthapuram

His coins will make you drift into a time warp

A challenge issued by his schoolteacher was what got Nizar Mohammed A.S. hooked to coins. Years passed, but his passion for coins from around the world only grew.

Today, this resident of Vallakkadavu has an enviable collection, the highlight of which is the Venad-Travancore coins.

Venad coins

The earliest Venad coins were issued in the 15th and 16th centuries, before the time of Marthanda Varma, though no records are known to exist on who brought them out.

Called Vellichakram, these were in circulation till around 1880, when the last of them was brought out by Ayilyam Tirunal Rama Varma. These are the second smallest coins in the world, says Mr. Mohammed, who is a member of the philately and numismatics association of the city.

Among these are the Ananthaasayanam coins that portray a reclining Lord Padmanabha.

Travancore coins issued by Gowri Parvathi Bai, Swathi Tirunal, and Uthram Tirunal are also part of his collection. These include Veerarayapanam and Anantharayapanam. The age of dump coins comes to an end around this time, and these are succeeded by machine mints, says Mr. Mohammed.

Tipu Sultan

He has a coin issued by the British in 1799 to commemorate the victory over Tipu Sultan and those issued by the East India Company and by successive British rulers such as William IV, Victoria, Edward VII, and George V.

He also possesses a Re.1 coin issued by the Nizam of Hyderabad and those issued in Goa just before Independence.

He claims that a tiny gold coin that belongs to the Sangam dynasty of the Vijayanagara empire that he has is the smallest coin in the world.

Mr. Mohammed is also proud of his silver Rs.1,000 coin issued in 2010 to commemorate 1,000 years of the Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur, a UNESCO world heritage site. Along with it, a Rs.5 commemorative nickel coin was also minted.

Silver coin

He has a Rs.100 silver coin brought out in 2005 to mark 75 years of the Dandi march. This too was accompanied by a Rs.5 nickel-copper coin.

He is also interested in coins from other countries. His vast collection includes those from the Antilles, the Faroe Island, the former Czechoslovakia, Kiribati, and Seychelles.

He has coins from all the states in the United States, and one featuring Diana along with Prince Charles from 1981.

Stamps, post cards, and postal covers too figure in his collection though he does not actively collect them. One among them is a stamp on the Temple Entry Proclamation, and another one issued to mark its 75th anniversary.

Cook

Also a cook who had worked in the Gulf countries and several hotels here, Mr. Mohammed is actively pursuing his passion these days.

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