Teacher Finds A 1000-Year-Old Copper Coin From The Rajaraja Chola I Period, Says Student Gifted Him

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Teacher Finds A 1000-Year-Old Copper Coin From The Rajaraja Chola I Period, Says Student Gifted Him

We all have some or the other hobby. Some like dancing, some like singing, and many like collecting things. There are many people who like collecting coins from different places or eras. Imagine if you were collecting coins and you got to know that one of the coins in your pocket was 1000-year-old. Such a shocker that would be! Something similar happened with a history teacher during an archaeology session. 

Teacher Finds A 1000-Year-Old Copper Coin

K. M. Selvam, a history teacher, attended an archaeology training programme for government school teachers. To his great surprise, while learning about some old coins, he learned that he possessed a 1000-year-old copper coin. The coin belonged to the Rajaraja Chola I period. 

Selvam, who teaches at the Sivanthipatti Nadar Higher Secondary School in Virudhunagar, was gifted this coin by one of his students. He found the coin very unique and hence kept it with him. Twelve years later, when numismatist Arumuga Sitharaman from Thanjavur spoke about the coins from that period, Selvam was reminded of his copper coin. 

He went back home, studied the coin, and contacted V. Rajaguru, who taught English in the same school as Selvam. V. Rajaguru is an English teacher who is extremely passionate about archaeology. 

chola dynasty
pic credits: Wikimedia commons

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‘Srirajaraja’ Inscribed In The Devanagari Script

This 1000-year-old copper coin was in use from Rajaraja Chola I period to Kulothunga Chola I (985 AD–1120 AD). V. Rajaram said that the coins were issued in gold, silver, and copper. He also explained that kings would celebrate conquests by issuing special coins. 

Rajaram informed me that the coin possessed by Selvam is known as the Eelam coin and was issued by the King on conquering Sri Lanka. The coins also have names engraved on them. The copper coins were called ‘Eelam Karunkasu’. This was because the coins turned black after tarnishing. 

One side of the coin features a man holding a flower in his left hand. There is a conch and four circles on his left. It also has a flower below and a crescent above. On the other side is a man seated with a conch in his hand. Near his left hand, there is ‘Srirajaraja’ inscribed in the Devanagari script. 

Pic credits: wikimedia commons

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Cover Image Courtesy:  Wikimedia commons