Of the 200 slots that went under the hammer Wednesday evening, item number 180 was the most significant at Todywalla Auction House’s 100th auction. A rare collectible from 1918, a two-rupee-eight-anna note, went for Rs 6.4 lakh. The note belonged to a time when the British were thinking of converting the Indian currency of Rupee-Anna to the dollar and cents system. It has an image of King George V, and is signed by M M S Gubbay. At the Wankhede Stadium’s MCA Lounge, the auction had a wide and extensive range of items, including ancient Roman coins from 100 AD to currencies produced during British rule.
“Our estimates before the auctions were Rs 1.74 crore, but we surpassed that amount and have amassed a total of Rs 2.09 crore. Though there were a couple of items that went unsold, we had a great rally for a lot of the coins, especially from The East India Company era,” said Farokh Todywalla, who runs the auction house. The item that fetched the highest price was a rare gold coin from the Vijayanangar Empire that was bought by an anonymous bidder for Rs 27.5 lakh, a little more than its base price of Rs 25 lakh. The 1509-1529 AD coin has Lord Balaji under an arch ornamented with Makaras, wearing a crown, holding his weapons.
Aggressive bidding was seen for two sets of coins dating back to the time of British rulers Edward VII and George V. “The specialty of these coins were that they were never distributed and are hence rare. Bidders put amounts we never expected,” said an organiser from the auction house. While the base price for the coins of Edward VII era started at Rs 1 lakh and concluded at Rs 3.6 lakh, the set of eight coins of George V era saw the bids rise from Rs 80,000 and end at Rs. 8.6 lakh. The next Todywalla auction is on February 3, 2016.