An E-Sylum reader forwarded this story about collectors of "canteen coins" in India.
Black, rundown chimneys still stand tall against the eastern sky, telling the story of the rise and fall of the Manchester of the
East. But, they are not the only remnants of the glorious days of Ahmedabad's textile revolution. Amdavadis have found an interesting way to preserve the heritage — coin collectors in the city are preserving and trading in canteen coins used by workers of these closed mills to buy chai. "Canteen coins in my collection are from an era when the city went to sleep with the last siren of textile units and woke up with the first.
I have been collecting these for more than 30 years now and have around 600, most of which are from textile mills," says 70-year-old retired IAS officer Praful Thakkar, author of the book 'Collectors' Guide to Indian Canteen Coins'. The coins that got textile workers just a chai or a plate of rice and dal in those days, can now buy you a lunch
at a hip restaurant. "There has been a surge in demand of para numismatics coins which include coins from closed textile units, token coins from the Army, mints and other public and private set-ups.
These days, textile canteen coins are sold from anything between Rs 50 and Rs 2,000, depending on its mint quality and the mill it belonged too," says Gujarat Coin Society president Harish Shah. For city-based coin collector Abhay Shah, canteen coins from closed textile units are his priced possession. "I have coins from the period of Sultanates dating back some 2000 years and of different periods. But canteen coins from closed textile units are special. They are a piece of the glorious past of my city and I love to preserve them," says Shah, who has around 100 such canteen coins. The mills introduced these coins following a shortage of smaller coins during late 19th century.
I noticed that dealer Scott Semans has copies of the Collector's Guide To Indian Canteen Tokens available for sale. The above image of a page from the catalog is taken from his web site. See www.coincoin.com.
To read the complete article, see:
Boon from Ahmedabad mills: Canteen coins
Wayne Homren, Editor
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