Muscat: A 10-year-old Indian boy who lives in Oman has collected more than 500 coins from across 120 countries, and won’t stop until he’s collected coins from every country in the world.
Suhas Chandra, a student of Indian School Wadi Kabir (ISWK), began his coin collection two years ago, with the help of contributions from friends and family, and today, boasts of a collection that has coins that date back to the 16th century.
“To me, collecting these coins is like preserving history,” said Suhas, speaking to Times of Oman. “I have been collecting coins for two years now. The first coins I got were some coins from Oman, but the oldest coin I have is from the Mughal Emperor Akbar, which is from the 16th century. Now, I have coins from 120 countries in the world, and I feel very happy when I get new coins, because I get to see coins of new countries.”
“I get to see their colours, their models, what makes them special, and when my friends see these coins, they are surprised and ask me where I got them from,” he said.
“My friends have given me many coins, and my grandparents also collected coins, so they gave me some as well. My mother’s and father’s colleagues also gave us some coins, and when their colleagues go overseas, I ask my parents to ask them for coins, and they always give me some coins when they travel.”
Suhas, whose parents live and work in the Sultanate, have been very encouraging towards his passion, and say he’s always had a fondness for history.
“When his teachers came to know about his collection, they were really surprised, because although he is very good at studies, he never really showcased these things at school,” said his mother, Shailaja. “His teachers asked him to showcase this collection at the school exhibition, so that it would act as a source of knowledge-sharing to others.”
She added, “He is not a boy who talks much or says much, but he has his own inherent skills and he calmly continues to do what he enjoys and things he is passionate about.” What appeals to Suhas is how these coins speak to him about the history and culture of countries, and the symbols that mean the most to the nations from where the coins come, as well as the people.
“From India, I have coins that were from the British East India Company, I have coins from colonial India, I have coins from the Nizam of Hyderabad, and all of these coins are my favourite because they are beautiful and have many designs on them,” he said. “I really like doing these things, and this is my hobby, so I will keep this collection with me forever.”
Suhas added, “I want to get coins of all the countries, because that is a way to experience new things. Everything about a culture of a country can be experienced from these coins.
“For example, a coin from Bangladesh has a tiger on it, which means the tiger is very important to the country, and in Japan, the coin has a flower on it, so that tells me that flowers are very important to them,” Suhas added.
“Right now, I think the one coin that I want would be the one from Venezuela, because its notes are really beautiful, so I think the coins must be beautiful as well.”
Suhas also said that he wanted to expand his collection to include coins from all of the world’s countries.
“I want to collect as many coins as possible,” he explained. “The more coins I can get, the better. I want to display these coins at school exhibitions and museums in the future. Many people actually say they are inspired to do what I am doing when they see my coin collection. My friends ask me for coins sometimes, but I never give them away, I only exchange them. If they have any coins that I am searching for, and I have any coins that they need, then I will give them away, but no one asks me to give them these coins for free.”
Suhas added, “I have many albums and these albums are only for collecting coins. Of all the things in my house, this coin collection is my most precious possession. It is better not to buy coins, but ask others and patiently collect them. Another thing I want to say is to be patient. There are coins of many African and South American countries that I am looking for but I don’t have them yet.”