This Mysuru Advocate spends his entire income on acquiring coins. Collection of over 4,000 rare coins, include 1,300 coins from 218 different countries is a testinomy to his zeal and perseverance.
Money matters, they say. But for this advocate in Mysuru, it is only the coins that matter. Meet 36-year-old Mahaveer Hegde, who is passionate about coins. His collection of over 4,000 rare coins, including 1,300 pieces from 218 different countries, shows his zeal. Till date, he has spent about `15 lakh on coins, which are priceless to him and not intended for sale.
Commemorative coins, silver coins and coins from islands found in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Timor Sea and Turks and Caicos Islands adorn Mahaveer’s exclusive collection. He also has vintage coins of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras arranged year-wise. Each coin preserves in itself the history of a land and they also offer a glimpse into their economic, social, cultural and religious habits. In next two years, this native of Mangaluru plans to collect coins from all the remaining countries across the globe.
Mahaveer’s tryst with coins began at the age of 11. “I and my childhood friends, Zahid, Chirag, Nandakishore and Vinayak, would exchange coins of different nations for fun. We then started approaching foreign tourists visiting Mangaluru, asking them to give us coins of their countries. Soon, the hobby turned into passion and within a few years, I collected 40 coins from different parts of the world,” says Mahaveer.
“I have almost all the regular coins in my collection, including 3,000 Indian coins. Now, my eyes wander only for rare coins at the exhibitions. I hope I get some of them in exchange of the coins that I have,” adds the avid coin collector.
Collecting and arranging Indian coins was the most challenging task for him, courtesy a number of varieties and denominations like One paisa, Quarter Anna, Ondanna, One Anna, Half Anna of 1834 and so on.
“It is comparatively easy to get coins of kingdoms as many coin collectors sell them after the royal family members do not show interest in pursuing the legacy,” he says.
Maintaining the coins is another challenge for him.
“They are delicate, and even a small scratch leads to fall in the value of the coin. As soon as I acquire a coin, I wash it with lemon and tamarind before getting it polished. Coins are preserved in special folders and coin books,” adds the coin collector. Apart from coins, he has a few currency notes of other countries and century-old postal covers and stamps of India. He is also planning to pen a book on numismatics in the near future.
They are not for sale
Mahaveer Hegde has sacrificed a lot in his life to keep his coin-loving genes happy. “Ever since I started earning at the age of 27, I have spent almost all my earnings on collecting coins. The family expenditures are managed since my mother is an advocate and other family members also earn. My parents do not support the idea of collecting coins much as they consider it a waste of money.
At times, I had to hide my collection of coins from them. Words of encouragement from some friends and family members, however, kept me going,” he says. And unlike many other coin collectors, he does not even plan to sell the coins to make big bucks. “If anyone is seriously interested in collecting coins, I am ready to gift a couple of them. But I am not going to sell these priceless coins.”
Mahaveer's collection of coins is amazing. He has coins of almost all the princely states and countries. Vintage Indian coins helps us take a peek into our rich heritage. He has an almirah full of coins, which will weigh over 150 kg. He loves coins more than anything else, and has been spending all his earnings on acquiring coins.
Coins of British era and princely states; Coins belonging to Napoleon-3 period; Coloured coins of Canada; Austrian silver coin; 1862 coin of king of Italy; 11th century coin of Mauryan dynasty
Coins from Chola and Mughal-era; Hyderabad Nizam coins; Coins of Tibet king;
Mints of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras from pre-independence era are some of his rare collections.