Collector’s edition: Visit a virtual museum of coins, notes and stamps

  • Soma Das, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 26, 2016 19:07 IST
The homepage of the museum

A newly launched online museum sheds light on India’s love affair with coins, notes, seals, and stamps

With the passage of time, the colour and shape of currency have changed, but its allure remains undiminished. Like good art and fine wine, the older it gets, the more it appreciates in value. But while numerous coin fairs and exhibitions allow you to glimpse such antiquities, there is little documentation to rely on, which can be inhibiting for a novice collector.

This note was printed in 1918, during the First World War. This amount (Rs 10) could be a monthly salary of a middle-class government servant of that time. The number 11111 is unique and highly sought after by collectors.

Mintage World, an online museum that launched on April 23, seeks to redress that. It features details of 21,000 vintage and modern coins, 1,200 currency notes, and 3,500 stamps. It’s the brainchild of Sushilkumar Agrawal, an avid collector, who aims to empower people to turn numismatists and philatelists.

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“Though there are people who start collecting coins, stamps and notes when they are young, many lose interest because they don’t have the time or resource to enhance their collection. I want to reignite the existing collectors’ passion and introduce the joy of collecting these items among the youth of today,” says Agrawal.

(Left and middle) Gold Dinar of Kushan Emperor Huvishka dating back to 2nd century AD; (extreme right) Scinde Dawk were the first stamps of India. The term is derived from the old postal system of Sindh. They preceded the arrival of adhesive stamps.

The website is divided into sections based on the object and offers a brief history of its evolution. The objects are further segregated based on the era they belong to — ancient/medieval/ modern. Once you click on a particular coin/note/stamp, you get details on its history, the era/dynasty it belonged to, the metal/material used, its weight, size, shape, the year it was issued and the technique used in manufacturing it. The collection is curated by a team of 10 to 12 in-house experts who ensure the information is verified and the artefacts procured through authentic sources.

Issued on the first anniversary of Independence, Mahatma Gandhi was the first Indian to be featured on an Indian stamp.

Apart from this, the site allows collectors to create a digital collection by uploading images. It also lists events to watch out for and recommends books to learn more about the topic. Another plus is the blog section, which features trivia related to the field. Our pick is the post on Indian coins with beautiful couplets inscribed on them (Gupta, Malva and Mughal coins) and the security features on Indian bank notes (to make it foolproof, there is a watermark, security thread, microlettering, identification mark and optically variable ink used).

While you can’t buy coins from the site yet, there are plans to introduce the feature. Also on the cards is an interactive Mintage World Club which will allow collectors to connect with each other online.


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