TRAVANCORE COINS AND ORNAMENTS



Thread: Dr. Sankaranarayanan - the numismatist (Padmanabha):-http://www.mayyam.com/talk/showthread.php?7010-Dr.-Sankaranarayanan-the-numismatist-%28Padmanabha%29
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This physician now settled in Ambasamudram was in the city for a personal visit. According to him, numismatics is multidisciplinary science. A numismatist has to know Geography Archeology, History, Chemistry and Ethnology.
All these have some connection with human evolution. Evolution of Man began in East Africa. There occurred heavy drought and men migrated to Ethiopia, Arabian Peninsula, and the Western Coast on India. From there one branch moved to Arabian Peninsula, one to South Central Asia and another to the West. The men from central Asia moved to the South and their descendant’s are the hill tribes of today. From central Asia another group moved to Tibet, Assam, the Nagas they were called further spread to Rangoon and other South East Asian countries as far as Timor.

One group from Assam group sailed along the sea reached the present Tamil Nadu. They were called Thirayar. (thira means waves) and settled in fenced place and hence the name Arcot. They mingled with the local people. Spencer Wells the author of Human Migration studied the DNA samples and proved this theory of human migration” explained Dr. Sankaranarayanan.

The earliest Cheras were the Sangam Cheras. Muziris was their capital. They invaded Karur. They have issued Punch marked coins. The ruler “Pal yaaga saalai” Muthu Peruvazhuthi issued rectangular coins with a picture of tree and a horse tethered to it (representing the Aswa medha yayagam). According to Sankaranarayanan before the origin of Malayalam, all the Chera coins had the Tamil letter “Cha” is embossed on it.

Since King Kulasekhara Alwar abdicated kingdom, he did not issue any coins. 
However, Ravi Varma kulasekahra had issued many. By that time, the Cholas and the Pandyas declined. Ravi Varma Kulasekhara married to the sister of Kulasekhara Pandayn, established his kingdom and crowned twice at Madurai and Kanchepuram. Until then the coins in circulation mostly in South India were Rajaraja chola coins (with standing man and sitting man on each side). Ravi Varma Kulasekhara gradually introduced coins with the symbols of a sitting man on one side and other had the symbol of the axe (of Parasurama) with a Tamil script “cha”.

Why “cha”?

“My view is that the Ay with capital Aykkudi near Sankarankoil, had Sankaranarayana as the eshtadevatha. Ravi Varma introduced Parasurama’s axe with “cha” in Tamil establishing the fact that the Cheras were the descendants of Ays.

In the 15-centuy the Kingdom of Venad spread up to Tirunelveli beyond. There is a mosque at Kayal pattanam named after the Chera king. The King who established Jaythunganad with the capital as Kalakkad were called Bhoothala veeras. I have collected four different coins of the Bhoothala veeras. Same ruler appearing as a devotee in two different forms is the significance of the coin. The inscriptions are in perfect chaste Tamil,” he said.

During Mohammedan invasions, all Hindu temples in the South were closed. The Vijayanagara Kingdom came into being and resulted in the revival of Hinduism. Venad had more respect for Vijayanagara as -Vishnu is the tutelary deity of both. This is the brief history of the Travancore coins.”
there is a belief among the Hindus that coins when thrown into rivers would ward off sins. That is how riverbanks became a treasure house of coins

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Picture Description: 1) proto coin 2) ananthasayanam coin 3) & 4) chinese coins

Dr Sankaranarayanan has in his collection the Proto coin[2500 YEARS OLD] and the Slave coin besides a huge collection of Chera coins the coins of various Kingdoms.

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The British bought slaves from Africa and sent to West Indies. This horseshoe shaped coins manufactured in Birmingham were procured from the remains of the ship “Schooner Duro” wrecked in 1813. The Bank of Biafra issued a currency worth five shillings with the picture of the slave coin to commemorate slave trade.

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Picture Description: 1) chera coins, 2) slave coins, 3) slave coin and the currency issued by the Bank of Biafra
The Chera coins of Rama Varma Kulasekhara have the emblem of Garuda (conveyance of Lord Vishnu).
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My collection of South Indian Coins:-http://southindiancoins.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html

A private collection of South Indian Coins from 100 BC to 1900 AD.
The intention of this web site is to educate and be educated by others about numismatic aspects of the South Indian.This collection is the continuing work of over twenty years accumulation of high quality, rare and interesting pieces. None of the coins shown are for sale .I would love comments, corrections, suggestions, information regarding any of the coins in the collection.
                                                                                                          --  Rajesh Kotha

Madras presidency coins

English trade was begun on the east coast of India in 1611.The first factory was at Mazulipatam and was maintained intermittently  until modern times.Madras was founded in 1639 and Fort St. George was made the chief factory on the east coast in 1641. A mint was established at Fort St. George where coins of the style of Vijayanagar were struck. The Madras mint began minting copper coins after the renovation. In 1689 silver fanams were authorized to be struck by the new Board of Directors. In 1692 the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb gave permission for Mughal type rupees to be struck at Madras. These circulated locally and were also sent to Bengal. The chief competition for the Madras coins were the Arcot rupees. Some of the bulk coins from Madras were sent to the Nawabs mint to be made into Arcot rupees.

Monetary System

1 Dudu = 10 Cash        8 Dudu = 1 Fanam       36 Fanam = 1 Pagoda         31/2 Rupees = 1 Pagoda











1 Cash (copper) K-314  1803











5 Cash (copper) K-316



10 Cash (copper) K-319











20 Cash (copper) K-321









10 Cash (copper) K-326










20 Cash (copper) K-328










40 Cash (copper) K-331










1 Fanam (Silver) K-307







2 Fanam (Silver) K-308







2 Fanam (Silver) K-350











1/4 Pagoda (silver) K-352  1807-15











1/2 Pagoda (silver) K-353  1808-15

Travencore State Coins

Rama Varma IV (1860-80) Silver chuckram


Bala Rama Varma II (1924-29) Copper 4-cash
From the 11th century onwards began the rise ofindependant Travancore or Venad as it was known then. Ravi Varma Kulasekhara (1299-1314) invaded the territories of the Pandyas and Cholas and performed imperial coronations at Madurai and Kanchipuram and thus threw of the Pandyan hegemony in the region[4]. However his success was short lived and after him his successors could not hold on to these acquisitions of the Pandyas and Cholas.

Venad chera coins


Venad was one of the eighteen kingdoms of the ancient Cheran empire. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                                                                     Traditional Ornaments


Traditional ornaments continue to influence even present gold designs and patterns of Kerala Jewelleries. Kasu Mala (Kaasumala), Palakka Mala, Nagapada Thali, Karimani Mala, Mullamottu Mala, Manga Mala, Cheruthali (Thalikoottam), Addiyal, Kashali, Poothali, Jhimki etc. remain an evergreen influence. Every household boasts of owning at least one of them. Even though it comprises only about 5% in case of the daily gold business, traditional gold ornaments remain a main asset of Kerala families

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