Labourers dig up 19th century silver coins in Tripura

Agartala, Dec 7 : Labourers at work in southern Tripura found a cache of 76 silver coins dating to the early 19th century recently. They were later handed over to a state minister, officials said here Saturday.

"When the labourers were digging soil earlier this week near Chandrapur mosque (120 km south of here), they found an earthen pot with a large number of old coins dating between 1835 and 1859," an official said.

The coins were embossed with the images of British colonial rulers.

The official said that the labourers had initially taken away the coins. Local Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Sudhan Das, on learning of the haul of coins, urged the labourers to hand them over to the government for safe-keeping in a museum.

Agreeing to the request of Das, the labourers handed over the coins to the state Higher Education, Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Bhanulal Saha at the inaugural function of the three-day "Sanhati Mela" (integration fair).

The fair was held at the 500-year-old Chandrapur mosque. It has been organised at the mosque every year since Dec 6, 1993, a year after the masjid was re-discovered.

In the past too, reports have surfaced of labourers digging and finding old coins in the state.

Numismatist Jahar Acherjee said that most of the coins that surface belong to the period of British rule in India. Many of them were issued during Queen Victoria's reign.

Tripura is part of the tea garden belt of the northeastern region. Many of the tea gardens in the region were established in the early 19th century by the British to break Chinese monopoly on the produce.

"In the tea garden belt of the northeastern region, occasionally these Indo-British coins have been found," said Acherjee, who runs a large private museum in Agartala.

--IANS (Posted on 07-12-2013)

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