Author Topic: Smallest coin ever made ?  (Read 24542 times)

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Offline Rangnath

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Smallest coin ever made ?
« on: December 13, 2007, 09:36:58 PM »
(First; the article:)
Row over world's `smallest' coin
By M. Harish Govind
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, AUG. 1. Which is the smallest coin in the world? According to the Department of Archaeology, the unique honour goes to the Half `vellichakram' of erstwhile Travancore, which weighs 0.18 gm and has a diameter of 5 mm, but numismatists hotly dispute the claim saying that it is not supported by any evidence.
They maintain that contrary to the department's claim, the Half `vellichakram' is not even the smallest coin in South India, let alone the world. The honour rightly belongs to the Quarter silver `tara' of Vijayanagar, which weighs just 0.06 gm and has a diameter of 4 mm. The Kannada letter, `bu' on the obverse indicates that it was issued during the reign of Bukka. The department has drawn support for its claim on behalf of the Half `vellichakram' from a book titled `Kerala Samskritiyude Samaya Rekhakal Naanayangalilude', brought out by the State Institute of Languages under a scheme for the publication of textbooks and literature in regional languages at the university level.
The Half `vellichakram', with a label saying that it is the world's smallest coin, was exhibited by the department at an exhibition held in connection with the annual conference of the South Indian Numismatic Society in the VJT Hall in January last.
Anomaly detected
An executive member of the South Indian Numismatic Society, Beena Sarasan, had brought the anomaly to the notice of the Director of Archaeology and the Secretary, Culture, through two letters. She pointed out that coins weighing 0.06 gm or less had been issued by Vijayanagar as late as the 15th and 16th centuries and were often found with coin collectors.
In its reply dated July 7, the department asserted that the Half `vellichakram' is the smallest coin in the world. Only the One-fourth `Java' of Nepal, which the Guinness Book of World Records says is the smallest coin in the world, can rival the Half `vellichakram' in smallness. However, the One-fourth `Java' was not a legal tender coin as it was cut out from the middle portion of the silver `Java'.
Claim contradictory
Ms. Sarasan points out that the present claim of the department contradicts an earlier finding of its own research wing, the Numismatics Study Centre, Nedumangad. In a paper by G. Sarojini Amma titled `Coin hoards from Naduwayal and Nelluwai, Kerala', in the book, `Studies in South Indian Coins', it was stated that "silver `Taras' of Kozhikode, weighing only 0.064 gm or 0.128 gm may be the smallest known currency in the Malabar coast".
The vice-president of the Kerala Philatelic & Numismatic Association, N. Sreedhar, has also written to the Archaeology Director contesting the claim regarding the `vellichakram'. Says Ms. Sarasan: "Even the Quarter `Tara' of Vijayanagar may not be the smallest coin in the world, but there is no doubt that it is much smaller than the Half `vellichakram'. The department's claim has no basis in fact and is misleading."

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 09:39:42 PM »
So you mean I was deceived when I purchased this Rama Varma IV silver piece for $239.52, believing at the time that THIS was the smallest coin in the world?

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 09:42:50 PM »
Ahhhhh, Richie, you FOOL!  Your fat coin weighs .4 grams and is a gigantic .5 mm across.  WHAT were you thinking?

Look at these!

Offline bart

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 09:45:31 PM »
You mustn't have a hole in your pocket for losing these...  ;D

Bart

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 09:48:08 PM »
EXACTLY! 
And from what I've seen of South India, Lungis do not even have pockets!

Well, I am currently thinking two things.
1.  Why would anyone make a coin that small? 
                Seriously, does anyone have an answer?
2.  And why does Southern India have a history of producing such small coins?
richie

BC Numismatics

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2007, 01:36:06 PM »
Richie,the smallest coin in the world actually comes from Nepal.It is way smaller than the Travancorean 1 Cash coins are.

Aidan.

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2007, 05:43:06 PM »
     It is true that the one-fourth `Java' of Nepal, which the Guinness Book of World Records says is the smallest coin in the world, can rival the half `vellichakram' in smallness. However, the one-fourth `Java' was not a legal tender coin as it was cut out from the middle portion of the silver `Java'.
     Both of these coins have a European origin. To be precise, both indeed were based on the Netherlands Amsterdam Verdun Dodeliijk Ducatoon, km 1 of 1672. On the verge of invasion by the French and the English, the Bank of Amsterdam in collaboration with Anton Van Leeuwenhoek, developed ?De eerste micromunt van de wereld? in order to better conceal wealth from foreign capture. 
     Highly successful, the Dutch trading companies realized that more capital could be transported on ships with limited capacity if the coinage was reduced in size.  During the remainder of the 18th century, the Verdun Dodeliijk Ducatoon was introduced into South Asia from Nepal to Sri Lanka, influencing the vellichakram and the Java.
     Enclosed is an image of Leeuwenhoek examining his Verdun Dodeliijk Ducatoon prototype.
     I might add that all information included in this academic discourse were gleaned from encoded messages received in ?the Living Room?. 

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2007, 05:44:30 PM »
More

Offline lusomosa

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 11:46:57 AM »
Nice previous image, I saw the arrow and I could see a black pixel. I went with my finger to clean the screen of my computer and it was not dust. It was a real dark pixell.......

LP

Offline Rangnath

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 04:23:15 PM »
I did the same thiing. I tried to wipe it away too, and I am the one who put the dot there in the first place!
Richie

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2011, 04:31:48 PM »
Here's 2 very tiny coins or whatever they are,  ???  I've added a  Chuckram for comparison in size , there seems to be an inscription or design of some kind but I can't fathom which way up they go. It looks like the 'Jhar' symbol as used by Jaipur & various other states. I'll try & clean one up & repost the photo
Bought these with a lot of South India coins many moons ago

The other side is blank & they are silver altho I had to rub hard to see for sure,  together they read as 1.0g but one alone won't register on my scales  :-[
If such tiny coins are unknown then I guess they are probably not coins but I can't imagine what else they could be
Vic

Offline Oesho

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2011, 04:34:09 PM »
Could you lighten up the image? It is just a dark 'blob' at the moment.

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2011, 04:44:43 PM »
I've just cleaned them up a bit, looks like an inscription on one,

 actual sizes are 4.5mm
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 05:01:23 PM by capnbirdseye »
Vic

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 06:05:49 PM »
I've done some Googling for the worlds smallest coin & indeed there is a coin this size,   the Quarter silver `tara' of Vijayanagar, which weighs just 0.06 gm and has a diameter of 4 mm.
However I can't see any resemblance to my coin  ???
Vic

Offline Oesho

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Re: Smallest coin ever made ?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2011, 07:12:22 PM »
This are mashaka or ratti coins. The term "mashaka" is derived from rupya-mashaka of Manu, who flourished in the first or second century AD. The word "rupya" means "silver", and "mashaka" was originally used to describe a small copper coin of 5 rattis weight. They belong to the Mauryan punch-marked series and are the smallest denominations in this series. The Mashaka is about equal in weight to the raktika-bean (Abrus precatorius). This seed was known a krishnala or gunja, but due to the red colour it became known as raktika in later literature and nowadays as ratti.
From this mashakas there are also smaller denominations, like the two 1/2 mashaskas to the right of the two raktika beans below.

Ref.: Terry Hardaker: The Mashaka fractional coinage of Ancient India, A type catalogue (Nashik, 1999)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 07:32:34 PM by Oesho »