Coin collection for investment? Nail the art of Numismatics with historical currency

By Amit Bhandari

Many of us have collected coins as kids – a commemorative coin with an interesting motif, old coins received from our grandparents, or loose change leftover from a foreign trip. Numismatics, or systematic collection and study of coins, is also one of the oldest hobbies in the world, as coins have been in use for over 2,500 years now. People collect coins for many reasons: it is enjoyable, it is also educational and helps understand history of a region, it is a way to preserve our past, and it can be profitable too. With its long and rich history, India offers an unprecedented range of coinage for any collector across all price ranges.

What to Collect?
The most collected coins in India are the ones which are most easily available – coins from the Republic period (post-1950) and British Indian uniform coins (1835-1947). However, this doesn’t mean that all coins in these categories are easily available. For instance, a silver 1 rupee coin of 1940 can be purchased for Rs 600-750, whereas the silver rupee of 1939 is extremely rare, and its price can run into several lakhs of rupees, if available. Likewise, there are some rare gold coins minted in the British period – the mohurs, which are worth several times the bullion value.

Coins as an Investment
Many people invest in precious metals such as gold and silver – these metals have held their value for thousands of years, even as other assets come and go. However, jewellery is not to everyone’s taste, while bars and ingots are boring. Coins can be the answer – they offer a mix of investment and enjoyment. Unlike bars and ingots, which are all identical, coins can be unique and aesthetically pleasing. Gold and silver coins are quite common – think of silver rupees from British India, Indian Princely States and even the Mughal era – available in all price ranges from a few hundred rupees to a few crore! Gold guineas (also called sovereigns) are a popular way to invest in gold, while British era silver rupees are an evergreen gift item.

Add some unique coins to your collection from

Coins of Indian Princely States
Many of us have enjoyed (or hope to enjoy!) the luxurious stays in various palace hotels in places such as Udaipur, Neemrana and elsewhere. These forts and palaces belonged to the royal families of the Indian Princely States – Indian kingdoms under indirect British rule.
Many of these kingdoms managed their own affairs, which included the issuance of currency. Udaipur, known for its beautiful lake palace, was one of them. The Kutch State, which now forms a part of Gujarat, is also famous for its intricate coinage, from 1300s to all the way to 1948!

For history enthusiasts:
Did you know that Indian coins are minted in government owned mints in Mumbai, Kolkata, Noida and Hyderabad? A collector can easily tell you which of these mints produced a particular coin. For instance, coins from the Mumbai (Bombay) mint have a small dot, usually placed below the date, while coins from Hyderabad mint feature a 5-point star. Before Independence, some Indian coins were also minted in Lahore, and a tiny ‘L’ on these coins is used to identify them. Two seemingly identical coins, but from different mints, can have different values based on rarity. Likewise, coins with errors (wrong date, blank planchet or
other flaws) can be worth much more than regular coins. Another factoid to remember – many countries including the USA, Australia and Canada used silver coins in regular circulation up to the 1960s. If you have any old coins from these countries, chances are, it could be silver or any other precious metal!

Knowledge is valuable, and as you learn more from books, websites and other collectors the world of coins keep getting bigger and better. Whether you collect coins for education or investment, the most important part is to enjoy the hobby and have fun!

(The writer is a well-known coin collector, history enthusiast and founder of, a leading portal selling old Indian coins )

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