World of Coins

Other tokens and medals => Not used for payments => Religious and philanthropic medals => Topic started by: Prosit on June 17, 2010, 02:19:01 AM

Title: India temple token?
Post by: Prosit on June 17, 2010, 02:19:01 AM
Temple token?

Another friend gave this to me.  Thanks AG!

I didn't know where to post this.  I would be willing to be this isn't the place but I got to start somewhere.

I also couldn't find this here so I hope it hasn't been posted before.

So what exactly is it and what does it say?  Anyone care to educate me?


Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Salvete on June 17, 2010, 08:26:00 AM
Well, Dale, this will interest some of our members quite a lot.  As you have probably already gathered, the textual part is the Kalima (, as seen usually on some rupees of Akbar (Kalima is a statement of the creed of the faith of Islam, and one of our Muslem brethren will better expalin it, in case I get my wires crossed).  The other side shows a mosque with a dome and arches, as is commonly seen in Islamic religious buildings.  Again, one of the Muslim members will be better able to explain the significance, and I will not presume to comment upon this subject.  This is probably a large (at least 27mm dia.) temple token weighing about a tola (11.5-11.6g.) and could be solid silver, or silver on a brass core.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of types and varieties, some dating back hundreds of years, and I think this one is possibly 18th or 19th century.  Many people collect them, and there is an active market.  They come in all flavours in India - most are, of course, Hindu and many of the rest are Islamic, but Buddhist, Sikh and Christian tokens are available.

Some may be used as amulets, others as devotional aids and other are sold to make cash for the priests / mullahs / monks or whomever.  There are a few books available to assist if you decide to make a collection of such pieces, and members of this group will be able to recommend some of them.

Hope this helps.

Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Oesho on June 17, 2010, 12:13:05 PM
Salvete already provide an outline of the use of the India religious token, often referred to as temple tokens or Rama tankas.
The series showing a mosque with colonnade and legend "Madinat Sharif" below, originate mainly from Calcutta (ca. mid 19th cent. to c. 1940). Obv.: Mosque with colonnade in front; central dome with six minarets. Below: Madinat Sharif (Noble city).Rev. Kalima (La Ilaha Ila Allah, Mohammad rasul Allah = There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the prophet of Allah) in square. Around the first four Sunni Caliphs, Abu Bakr (top), Ushman (left), Umar (below) Ali (right).
The religious tokens usually don’t bear a date and when they are dated, it’s mostly a fancy date. In the case of the present token it may be made in the second half of the 19th century and are made of brass or sometimes of brass silver washed.

For a good reference, consult: Michael Mitchiner, Indian Tokens: Popular Religious & Secular Art from the ancient period to the present day (London 1998), page. 120.
Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Prosit on June 17, 2010, 02:48:53 PM
Michael Mitchiner, Indian Tokens.....I find a couple place where that book is for sale.  Both places are asking $110 US dollars.
I would love to have it but that is a bit out of my normal purchase range.  Maybe I will find an example someday.

Thanks for all the good informatin!

Title: India temple token?
Post by: Bimat on June 19, 2010, 07:11:15 AM
I'm feeling myself encouraged to find some nice Indian tokens here :) Next time when I'll go to the dealer (or a fair) I'll look out for some tokens (for members of the forum also,why not?) That would be a nice addition to my small collection of tokens (have just two ;D)

I really don't care if the tokens are genuine(which cost 8-10$) or modern fantasies.As long as I can afford them,I have no problem with it 8)

Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Salvete on June 19, 2010, 09:40:07 AM
Like a lot of people, I bought a couple of the square copies of Akbar rupees by mistake when I first started collecting.  Since then, I have become interested in Indian history and culture, and the Hindu religion.  Not in any deep sense, I hasten to add - it is a very large subject - but just enough to want to recognise the major gods and know a little of the story of each.  Whenever I have been in India I visit a few temples, and if the incumbent can speak English, I usually try to have a conversation with him about his faith.  Many temples produce their own tokens (such as the main temple in Trivandrum) and I have a few unusual ones from those sources.  I have a friend who regularly sends (mostly modern) tokens to me from Kerala, and I now have about 200 different in copper, brass and a few silver.  It is an interesting pastime and fits in well with coin collecting.  And of course there is no restriction on the export of modern temple tokens!!!

Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Prosit on June 19, 2010, 01:04:20 PM
The token is approximately 29mm and appears to be Brass with a Silver wash (plated).
It has a little wear and if examined closely it appears that it wasn't struck as hard as necessary
for all the details to be as sharp as they could have been.  I am assuming that it was struck and not cast.
All in all I was expecting it to have been made within the last 30 years.  I am surprised that it could be older.
Anyway it provides me an incentive to do a little research and probably look for a few more inexpensive examples.

Thanks All!


.....This is probably a large (at least 27mm dia.) .......Salvete
Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Salvete on June 19, 2010, 01:37:22 PM
The application of a silver wash over a pre-struck core (I feel certain this is a struck core, not cast) often gives the effect of a lightly struck specimen, because small depressions in the surface can get filled in and smoothed off by the process.  The flan is broad, so great force was needed to strike the core, and maybe you are correct to say it perhaps was not hit hard enough.  It still looks fine for one of that kind, and a collection of such pieces can be attractive, even though few of them will ever be really valuable in money terms.

Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Figleaf on June 19, 2010, 03:01:03 PM
Maybe I will find an example someday.

The University of Texas library in Austin ( has this book. Follow the link for the catalogue numbers.

Title: Re: India temple token?
Post by: Prosit on June 20, 2010, 01:28:14 PM
That is a long way from here  ;D